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From the Editor-
Corinne Smelker
A Word In Season
Featured Article
The Price of a Decision
By Corinne Smelker

Every choice or decision we make has a price attached to it. If that decision is God-guided it will take us along the road of blessing. If it is made without prayer, it will take us along the road of problems. Therefore, our choices have a definite effect on our future.

Abraham is an example of a man who had choices to make. Let’s pick up his life in Genesis 11:31, "Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there."

"Terah took his son Abram…" This looks like Terah’s idea doesn’t it? It looks as though he came to his family and said, "We are leaving Mesopotamia and we are going onto Canaan."

Genesis 12:1 gives us the full story: "The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’"

"The LORD had said to Abram…" This is in the past tense. God appeared to Abraham and gave him four instructions:
  1. Leave your country,
  2. Leave your people,
  3. Leave your father’s household. He didn’t say, "Leave your fathers’ house". That would be to leave a building.
  4. Go to a land I will show you.
Acts sheds more light on this. Stephen is being stoned but before he dies, he says, "Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran." Acts 7:2-3.

This is what happened. God appeared to Abraham, back in Mesopotamia. God said, "I want you leave your country and your father’s household, and I want you to go to the land of Canaan."

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Christian-Dumb – The Dumbing Down Of Christians
By Lucian Thompson

In the 4th chapter of Hosea the Lord speaks to His people Israel. God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute named "Gomer" to dramatize how Israel has become faithless by worshiping other gods.

Hosea 4:1: Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the Land. There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land.

That sounds like today, doesn’t it? Where is the love of God today? What happened to being faithful and committed to the Lord?

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How Great is our Faith?
By Robert Schaetzle Sr

Then Jesus said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish," and her daughter was healed at once. (Mathew 15:28 NASB)

This Canaanite woman came crying out without fear of those around her. The plea was not for herself, but for her daughter, importuning our Lord to release her daughter from demon possession.

How often do we ever consider faith as being provided to us, especially as one might consider, ‘A Gift from our Lord?’ Every believer in Jesus has known the wonderful blessing received through prayer. But do you ever consider faith as given to us from God as a gift from above?

No acknowledgement of God in the Land. "God is gone…God is dead," we hear today. Not many seem to know much about God and His laws today!

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Word of GodOur Father: Day Two
By Brian Thompson

"May your name be honoured"

We use the word ‘honoured because it was once very like the term ‘hallowed’ in the sense that something was to be given deep and unqualified respect. It meant that someone or something was recognized as being entitled to universal admiration, and as being unique and not to be taken lightly or ever betrayed.

We do not have such a use for the word now because it would require society to understand and aspire to a high sense of honour to appreciate it. The concept of honour has become threadbare and often means no more than someone who pays their bills and doesn’t tell lies. As always, it is what you invest in a word that shows its true worth. This is why God’s promises are worth so much and ours so little. When God makes a promise he invests all of himself in that promise. He is the promise. (1)

Immediately after opening the door – once the relationship on which everything stands is affirmed – comes this first request: "Please make Your Name the object of absolute and unwavering respect. Let it be invested with the full realization that this name is so special because you are so special."

The first thing for which we cry is not for us or for our family or for our Christian brother or sister, or for anything in this derailed and broken world. Perhaps surprisingly – it is (strictly speaking) something ‘for God’.

God will be no richer if the world is full of praise to Him than He was before. He will be no poorer if the world ignores Him. He is not made an inch smaller because the agnostic declares, "I don’t know everything about the world in which I find myself, but I do know it doesn’t include God!" This prayer is not to achieve something for which God longs, but to achieve something that this world needs.

You may test any society not by how it treats its friends, but by how it treats its enemies. Not by how it looks after those who matter to it. But by what it will do for those who don’t. Any society which has at least some perception of who God is and of what He stands for, will have in some part of their culture, and in their laws, values which reflect what is honest, what is careful of the needs of others, what is protective of the weak and what is outraged by the presence of wrongdoing.

Any society which has forgotten what the name of God means...the character, power and concerns of this God...will betray that ignorance in unjust law, unfeeling nature, unequal living and the persistent growth of unchecked wrongdoing. It becomes increasingly hard to survive in such a society. The weak are not protected and the strong are not rebuked. There may be much ‘sympathy’ but there is less and less compassion. It may shout for someone’s ‘rights’ but it will strip them of the opportunity to live well, to grow freely and to know their Father – and without such knowledge we are all paupers.

You may measure the regeneration or degeneration of a society by its respect for who God is, and whether that respect is growing, or dying. Were all sense of the character of God to become extinct, the world would become an intolerable place where only the love of doing harm could feel at home. It almost happened once and God had to safeguard the last just family by means of an ark. Had Noah and his family become swallowed up in the ever-widening grip of hate, murder, cruelty and indifference to wrongdoing, then all hope for a new Heaven and a new Earth would have been swallowed up with it. So God ordered the construction of an ark – a refuge – and safeguarded the future of mankind.

So for us God has provided a place of safety – a decontamination chamber – only it is not a place; it is a person. Christ is our ark, and discovery of this place of safety which resists the relentless rush of wrong and keeps us in the purposes of God, requires that the Name of God be given the worth and value to which it is entitled. The believer who knows what lies behind that name knows it is the most powerful weapon in their armory when they come to pray.

This name has confronted kingdoms, crushed tyrants and confounded skeptics. It still does. Under the authority of this name, great wrongs have been righted, great injustices ended and great acts of God begun. They still are. By the power of this name the weak became strong and the lame took the prey. They still do. It is written that ‘Those who know your name will trust in you.’ (2)

1. 2 Corinthians 1:19-20
2. Psalm 9:10 (NIV)
Brian Thompson is married and lives in Kent ('garden of England') with Vi, his wife, who is a teacher. They are the proud parents of three children. Brian works as an IFA by day and is in the process of finishing up a musical and a book! You can write to Brian care of the Letters page of this magazine.