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Baptisms This Sunday (23rd August)

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Well, it did not start too well.  There were a couple of technical difficulties and it took us until after 6pm to get the tank filled with water.  This is for a church service that started at 3pm.

Well, we had a time of worship then I went to help fix the tank.  Eventually my wife and the church came over to the church building we were meeting in.  We got a few pizzas and some Indian take away and had supper together.  Finally the tank was nearly full.  We baptised our (eldest) son first.

I asked him the following three questions:

Do you believe that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully human, that He died on the cross bearing your sins so you could be righteous, and rose again on the third day?

Have you repented of your sins and put your faith in this same Jesus?

Can you confess out loud to everyone witnessing that Jesus is Lord?

A lovely lady then gave a prophetic word to our son, and another wonderful lady gave him a Scripture.

Then we baptised Poonam – who last year was a Hindu! – and asked her the same questions.  My son stayed in the pool with me and helped me baptise her.  It was wonderful.  The presence of God in the room was overwhelming.  She was then given a Scripture.

The Lord showed me something wonderful – part of a baptism is to embed into our memory that we have died with Christ and we are living a new life with Him (Romans 6.2-3) – if during the baptism service we have to wait around for hours, buy pizza and Indian, baptise people in a few inches of water, and all the parephenalia associated with the day – then all that does is serve to bind it into someone’s memory.  The devil can’t even disrupt the day, because every disruption is simply an aid to memory!

Glory and freedom,

Benjamin

Happy Birthday, Poonam!

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Happy Birthday to Poonam, who was mumble-mumble yesterday!Thanks for all the support and love you give Tree of Life Church, and we look forward to all the testimonies of miracles as you minister to the sick at our crusade next week!We’ll try and find a happy baptism song for the end of the month!Benjamin and Amanda

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The Day the Sun Stood Still (Chuck Missler)

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Do you really believe that?Chuck, you ve got to be kidding! That’s often the reaction by some to the idea that we take the Long Day of Joshua seriously.

The days were just not long enough for some of Joshua’s battles. In the Battle of Beth-Horon, responding to Joshua’s request, the Bible says the sun stood still to extend the day for Israel to defeat their enemies.

Why Joshua?

  • It is a manual for spiritual warfare;
  • It is a prophetic anticipation of the Book of Revelation;
  • It deals with the background to Israel’s claim to the land, which is presently being contested by the current Peace Process.
  • It contains some of the most fascinating passages in the Old Testament.

The Name of the Book

It may come as a surprise that the name Joshua, in Hebrew, is essentially equivalent to our Lord’s name in Anglicized Greek: Jesus. That was designed to get our attention.

Furthermore, as a military commander, Joshua’s actions at Jericho strangely parallel the events in the Book of Revelation: he first sends in two witnesses, he defeats the enemy with seven trumpets, and he seems to ignore the numerous ordinances in the Torah.

The Levites were exempt from military duties yet they are in the march against Jericho. The Ark of the Covenant is also in the march. They are supposed to rest on the seventh day yet on the seventh day they march seven times as much!

What is really going on?

And who really fought the battle of Jericho? Despite the declarations of the popular song, it wasn’t Joshua. It was a mysterious personage who identifies Himself with the Burning Bush of 40 years earlier: our Lord Himself!

The kings aligned themselves with a leader who called himself “The Lord of Righteousness.” (Does he foreshadow the Antichrist?) The kings are subsequently defeated with signs in the sun and moon and then hide in caves.

An Anticipatory Model?

As we examine the Book of Joshua carefully, we notice that it seems to be a precursor to the book of Revelation: another Yehoshua, as Commander-in- Chief, will dispossess the Planet Earth of its usurpers first sending in two witnesses, then with a series of judgments of sevens finally defeats the kings with signs in the sun, moon, etc. The kings hide in caves, etc.

Rahab, Woman of Destiny

Where was the most dangerous spot in Jericho? On the walls! Think about it. Where was the safest place in Jericho? In Rahab s house. Where was Rahab’s house? On the wall.

It is Rahab, a Gentile of dubious reputation who becomes the mother of Boaz, the hero in the Book of Ruth who links Bethlehem with the House of David. (You cannot really understand the Seven Sealed Book in Revelation unless you have studied the Book of Ruth as a book of prophecy!).

Rahab subsequently emerges in the genealogy of the Son of God–which is a study in itself.

Two Memorials

When they cross the Jordan (in a manner conspicuously parallel to the crossing of the Red Sea 40 years earlier), 12 stones are erected on the Gilgal side, after crossing.

Also, just prior to the Jordan returning to its regular flow, Joshua sets up 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan, which will then be covered with the waters.  Strange.

These are not only commemorative of their deliverance, they are prophetic of ours: the baptism of His death, and the deliverance by His resurrection.

It is interesting that, much later, John the Baptist, at this very spot alludes to these stones in his challenge to the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Practical Applications

Perhaps the most important aspects of this military book are the practical insights for spiritual warfare. Its parallelism with Ephesians is also instructive.

The first issue is, who has the initiative? Remember, it was God who declared war on Satan.  When Christ first announced the church, He pointed out that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. It is the church which has the initiative! That’s you and I, isn’t it?

What does “Crossing the Jordan” signify spiritually? Going to heaven? Hardly. There are enemies there. Warfare. Setbacks. The ingredients of success and failure in their adventures are detailed for our own instruction to gain victory instead of defeat.

After they cross the Jordan, they get circumcised! For 40 years Israel was not circumcised! It is remarkable that while they were miraculously provided for throughout their wilderness wanderings, they were not rebuked for not maintaining this sign of the covenant.

Is there an intentional parallel between this and the Jewish diaspora, during which they “are not my people”?

They are in enemy territory. So are you and I. (But are we adequately prepared? Ephesians warns us to “put on the whole armor of God.” You must do this before not during the battle!)

If you are not under attack, perhaps it is because you are not relevant, or perhaps you are already relegated to where the enemy wants you.

We may not realize this as we should, but no conflict, no crown. If we are truly Christians, then we will be in real warfare.

The Prophetic Horizon

As the nations of the world line up to challenge Israel’s rights to the land that God covenanted to them, another Yehoshua is getting ready to give them the surprise of their lives! He, too, is preparing to dispossess the land in fact, the entire Planet Earth of the Usurper and his followers!

The Book of Joshua also introduces the Shofar and the cycle of the Jubilee. After each seven sabbatical years (49 years), the next year was to be a Jubilee Year: all debts were forgiven, all slaves went free, and the land returned to its original owners.

Peter, referring to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, alludes to the time of restitution of all things, which is regarded as an allusion to the Jubilee.

Many suspect that the Jubilee, too, will prove to be prophetically significant, and we are approaching the 70th Jubilee!

As we sit back and watch the emergence of a European Superstate, the rebuilding of Babylon, the positioning of Magog and the Muslim allies to attack Israel, and the Vatican positioning to lead a worldwide ecumenical movement and to internationalize the Temple Mount in Jerusalem we realize that the stage is being set for the big climax. It’s time to do our homework! It’s time to diligently find out what God has said about these things.

Christian carer struck off after Muslim girl converts

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A Christian foster carer has been struck off because she allowed a Muslim child in her care to convert to Christianity.

The girl, in her late teens, was interested in exploring Christianity before she was placed with the foster carer.

But when the girl decided she wanted to be baptised, council officials said her carer had failed in her duty to preserve the girl’s religion and should have used her influence to prevent the baptism from going ahead.

They said the girl should stay away from church for six months, and later struck the carer off the fostering register.

The carer, who has over ten years experience looking after more than 80 children, is now challenging the local authority’s decision.

Her case is being backed by The Christian Institute’s legal defence fund. Neither the carer nor the girl can be named for legal reasons.

The carer is a practising Christian, and made it clear to the girl when she arrived that she could continue to practice her Muslim faith if she wanted to.

In assessments before the baptism, the authorities said the girl’s emotional needs were being met, and noted that the carer was showing understanding and respect for the girl’s culture.

The carer’s lawyers say there was no evidence that the change in the girl’s religion would harm her, and argue that the authorities failed to listen to the girl’s views.

The carer, an Anglican who attends a local evangelical church, said: “I did initially try to discourage her.

“I offered her alternatives. I offered to find places for her to practise her own religion. I offered to take her to friends or family. But she said to me from the word go, ‘I am interested and I want to come.’ She sort of burst in.”

The carer said that the girl’s social workers were fully aware that she was going to church and had not raised any objections.

The girl had told her auxiliary social worker of her plans to convert before she was baptised in January last year, and the social worker had appeared to give her consent.

The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “All people should be free to change or modify their religious beliefs. That surely must be a core human right in any free society.

“I cannot imagine that an atheist foster carer would be struck off if a Christian child in her care stopped believing in God. This is the sort of double standard which Christians are facing in modern Britain.

“In recent months we have seen grandparents, a nurse, adoption agencies, firemen, registrars, elderly care homes – and now a foster carer – being punished because of the Christian beliefs they hold. It has to stop.”

The carer’s solicitor Nigel Priestley said: “There is no doubt that the event that provoked the council was the decision by the girl to be baptised.

“This girl was 16 and has the right to make this choice, so for the council to react in this way is totally disproportionate. Even at this late hour, we hope that the council will resolve the issue.”

A council spokesman said: ‘From the details provided, we believe that this information relates to a child who is the subject of a final care order in favour of the council. In those circumstances, we are unable to pass any comment.”

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What It Means to Be Full of the Spirit

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Stephen cried out, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” As he was full of the Spirit he was full of love, and he manifested the very same compassion for his enemies that Jesus did at Calvary. Being filled with the Holy Spirit means much in every way. It means constant filling, quickening, and a new life continually.

Oh, it’s lovely! We have a wonderful gospel and a great Saviour! If you will but be filled with the Holy Spirit, you will have a constant spring within, yes, as your faith centers in the Lord Jesus, from within you shall flow rivers of living water.

– Smith Wigglesworth, 1924.

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