It’s all very well to say the choice between war or peace is obvious. But what do we do when we want peace but we are surrounded by those who want war? The Psalmist of the Bible was in exactly that position; he said: “I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!” You’ll have to check out Ps.120:1 to see the correct response.
If we read Ps.22 or Ps.69 we can immediately see they describe the violent opposition that Jesus faced. And the prophet Isaiah gives His response (Isa.53):
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Jesus taught we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt.5:43,44). It is in times of war that this teaching is really tested. When we see the brutal treatment of innocent sufferers, who would not wish to stop it? The big issue of taking up arms is addressed in our comments HERE. Those written statements are now put to the test.
What should we do? What would make a real difference? If the people who are acting so cruelly became true Christians, obedient to Christ, that would be the real solution. Have we prayed for the rulers and generals who are making war, that they would be saved from an eternal punishment for their actions and completely changed, so that they instead seek peace and pursue it (Ps.34:14)?
If you are using an Android mobile device, you may not be receiving the daily updates to our website. Each day there is a new Bible Text for Today, and usually a new post below it. Each week, the Bible reading Plan is updated. These updates are automatically seen on Apple devices.
It appears our web hosting service (GoDaddy) has changed its “CDN” (Content Delivery Network) code, which should speed up page displays. However, for users with Android devices who have bookmarked our page on their Chrome browser, some are now only seeing outdated information, instead of receiving and displaying page updates.
For the time being, the workaround for such Android users appears to be to clear the cache in Chrome and delete history. Hopefully, this problem will not last long!
When Covid came it meant the house church was more limited in meeting with people. So we looked for ways we could still provide clear Bible teaching, with all its good news and without being hidden behind a mask! One initiative was to accept the kind offer of Wightman Community TV to include broadcasts of our church services weekly on the TV.
So this is an unashamed plug for those broadcasts. First, if on Saturday evenings at 8:00pm you have a minute or two, you can watch them live on Wightman Channel 6. But you may not be able to receive Wightman TV, nor be able to watch at that particular time. So our second suggestion is to check out our Youtube channel HERE. We post each broadcast after they have appeared on TV, so you can catch up whenever it is convenient to you, on whichever screen you prefer to use.
Another benefit of using recorded videos is that we can invite people from far away to speak to the church here, or to provide recordings of their singing (which are usually better than ours!). If you check out our recent Youtube videos, you’ll find talks by Karl from Kirkintilloch, Scotland and from Stan, who lives in Ancaster. Whether the message comes from near or far, you can be sure it is Bible-based, and aims to fulfil what the Bible says about itself , in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 16,17, as one of the more modern versions puts it:
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Tim.3:16-17 NLT)
To some Bible readers, Leviticus is quite a challenge. It seems to be very detailed, and also mainly a record of God’s expectations of His people Israel. But in fact, those details can be very revealing, even for us as 21st century Christians.
We have therefore added, in our Resources Section, an extract addressing this subject from Bible Studies magazine. Although originally published in 1938 the content should stir the mind of anyone wanting to see Christ “in all the Scriptures” (Lk.24:27). Click HERE to check it out. The advantage of reading this online is that all the Scripture references can be seen just by clicking on them.
Allow yourself plenty of time to review this material, and be prepared to meet a few expressions and spellings that are less used today than they were in the 1930s. We expect you will, however, agree that the subject matter, and the thought-provoking treatment of the topics by Dr Doodson are well worth the extra effort.
For those who prefer to read on Kindle, click here for a link to this material on that device. There is more information about the author in the preface to the Kindle book.
This question may have occurred to you, even though it wasn’t on your mind when landing on this page! Please check out this short video (Opposite of Christianity? ). If you find it helpful, please share it with those you think will benefit from watching it. If it raises further questions in your own mind, then by all means share those questions with us (using the Contact link in the top menu)
I wonder as I wander, out under the sky, How Jesus the Savior did come for to die For poor ord’n’ry people like you and like I. I wonder as I wander, out under the sky.
These lines are attributed to John Jacob Niles, who wrote them back in the 1930s. They ring true today. If you have heard this sung, the melody will reinforce your memory of the words. It has been said that music is the language of the emotions.
Christians may have similar feelings when they recall Ps.103 (just click on this reference to read the psalm. Today, the popular song “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin ring out the truth of the opening lines of that psalm.
At this time of year many people are thinking about what is called “the nativity”, by which is meant the amazing reality that God the Son became man, born as a baby to poverty-stricken Mary, and brought up by humble carpenter Joseph. As Niles verse accurately states, God did this so that mankind could benefit from Jesus’ death. Not just for some of mankind, but for all; “like you and like I”.
The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled at present to be launched by December 25th. If all goes well, it will be able to observe the result of the formation of the earliest stars. In Genesis 1 the Bible record relegates the formation of the stars to a minor place, in the words: “He made the stars also”. The Psalmist wrote in his song:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Ps.8)
To our minds, the miraculous formation of the universe leaves us feeling rather insignificant, mere mortals on this tiny planet. But as we wander around it and observe the grandeur of God’s creation, should we not pause to wonder about why God sent His Son to be our Saviour, in fulfilment of plans made before the physical universe came into being (1 Pet.1:18-21; Eph.1:4; Heb.2:14)?
Those, perhaps the minority of Bible readers, who read the Old Testament prophetic books, may miss some of their pointedness because of a lack of awareness of the historical context in which the prophets first spoke. Some of the books make the setting quite clear. For instance, Haggai was speaking to the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. So we can date his words quite well. It still needs an appreciation of why the Jews had been led away captives in the first place, how long they had to stay there, which world leader would issue a command for them to return, etc. All these matters can be found by further study. Then there is the matter of broader context; what was going on in the nations generally.
This is worth noting when we read Jeremiah. It is helpful to know that there had been three competing world powers during his times. Egypt still considered itself a major player. Assyria, which Jonah hated so much (perhaps because he understood how cruel they would be to Israel), was declining in power and having to battle the up-and-coming Babylonians. The good king Josiah of Judah seems to have made a fatal mistake in deciding to try to ward off the Egyptian armies when they were on the way to fight on the side of the Assyrians against the Babylonians (2 Kgs.23:29). The first round of those battles may have been a draw, but eventually Egypt would be forced back to its own borders and then subjugated to Babylon, after the Babylonian armies ruthlessly took out the Assyrians.
Against that historical background you can see why those who listened to Jeremiah telling them in advance that the Babylonians would be victorious were unsure which side to back. Even after Nebuchadnezzar taught those in Judah a lesson and carried away their king (Josiah’s grandson, Jeconiah), they still seemed to hold out hope that Egypt would be the one to help them. Yet God made it very clear that Nebuchadnezzar was being used to punish other wrong-doers – and those in Judah, who had turned from God to become idol worshippers, would not escape. The alternatives were to capitulate straightaway and change their ways, or to suffer Babylonian domination of a worse sort. They chose wrongly and suffered. Only after 70 years was Jeremiah’s accurate prophecy fulfilled when King Cyrus (king of the empire that conquered the Babylonians) told the Jews to return (see Jer.25:11,12; Dan.9:2; Ezra 1:1). Not many did. It is instructive to compare the books of Nehemiah (who did return) with Esther (who did not).
Now we see China and Russia increasingly opposing the USA. We can see alignments developing between other nations and the super-powers. Perhaps surprisingly, little Israel continues to be a focal point for the world’s attention; its boundaries are perpetually challenged, and it’s right for us to ponder why.
When Christ described world conditions that will prevail before His return to earth, He already knew such things (see Matt.24, Matt.25). His warnings will make absolutely sound reading in the context of those times. And before His feet are on earth again, He will come to the air and take disciples away from the conflicts on earth (1 Thess.4:15-18). That more immediate prospect is the context Christians should be focused on right now.
So context matters. Happy reading!