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Peter’s First Letter-2

Once a week we look together at Peter’s first letter to people in various places. We see how he was encouraging them, preparing them. A most important, earth-shattering event was to take place. Terrible judgment was about to come on many back there in Jerusalem and Judea. The fabulous temple there and the Jewish religion as known for centuries, would be destroyed and replaced by a new creation (Mat 21:43-46). This would impact them and many Jews where they lived. Here we look at the first half of chapter 2.

In this part of his letter, Peter calls on his readers to thirst for the “pure milk of the word like newborn babies, if they have tasted the kindness of the Lord” and put aside all malice, envy, slander, hypocrisy etc.

Think how much the Lord has blessed us all abundantly! There’s much more. So let’s keep thirsting after the pure milk of God’s word to grow our salvation!  So important to long for the word of God. Look, it doesn’t matter how mature we think we are. The Lord’s blessing is inexhaustible. He wants us!

Yes, grow up in your salvation. Salvation is not merely getting newborn, started. There’s a big future idea, a whole of life growth of our salvation, as Peter reminded them several times in his letter.

So where to go? Peter says go to Jesus. Where else? Jesus is the One to come to—his open arms. He is the “chosen and precious.” Quoting from Isaiah 28, Peter identifies Jesus as like the most important stone in a building. That’s the cornerstone. It has to be laid exactly, in line, dead level, plumb. Then the building will follow the right design.

“Look, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious cornerstone and who believes in him shall not be disappointed”.

Jesus said if you don’t gather with him, you are scattering (Luke 11:23). Do you want to be building for God? Well, you have to strictly follow the playbook! Jesus is “the living stone that was rejected by men but chosen by God”. You have to build on the true rock, His words. Anything else is on sand. Anything else is useless. What God has not planted will be pulled up by the roots (Mat 15:13). This is serious.

This building design called for these newborns to be stones too—living stones! Each was being built up into a spiritual house for a special role of offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus.

And so are we today—part of the house that He is building, against which the gates of hell will not stand.

Peter wrote (v7) this precious situation belongs to the followers of Jesus. Quoting Ps 118:22, he showed that the stone which rejected, actually became the very head of the corner! Then he added that others stumble because they are disobedient to the word not following the designer. For these, Jesus the precious stone was “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence” (Isa 8:14) and doom awaits them.

These “builders”—the disobedient, were the Jews of that generation and their system, those who rejected their messiah, that wicked generation.

He goes on to tell his readers (v9) “you are a chosen race, you are a royal priesthood, you are a holy nation, you are the people of God’s own possession! Peter used those very same terms from Moses (Deut 7:6) applying them to these newborn Gentiles and Jews. There’s a whole new creation being formed here, a whole new nation. with the bad tenants, Jewish elites and their fleshly system will be destroyed as Jesus had foretold in Mat 21:43 and a new spiritual one will be formed.

Why are his readers new-born? That they “may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” That is our role, our privilege today. We are the Israel of God (Gal 6:16).

He recalls what the prophet Hosea wrote “once you were not a people but now you are the people of God. You once had not received mercy but now you have received mercy (Hosea 1:10). This points to a mostly Gentile readership. These newbies are the true people of God! And so are we who believe today.

Applause!

All this came from the pen of a Jewish born fisherman, but now since born from above through the resurrection of Jesus with whom he had walked for 3 years, a mere 30 years had past. Amazing.

Only 30 years previously! He could never forget when they nailed Jesus to the cross and then God raised Him up as He had foretold.

We struggle to grasp the reality, to feel, to enter in to those historic scenes—it all happened so long ago.

Peter’s readers are the forerunners of a totally new society and they have great responsibility, never seen before. So Peter urges them, aliens and strangers, to keep their behavior excellent among the outsiders. They may be slandered as evil by others but will see their good deeds and glorify God in the day of visitation.

This phrase ‘day of visitation’ is fascinating. It seems Peter had in mind an ‘end-times’ event (see 1 Pet 4:7).

The glorious light of God’s people show that God’s judgments are righteous and this will be acknowledged in the coming judgment.

So their behaviour would be very important. Let’s talk more about that next time.

Our Amazing Hope

Isaiah 51:11

Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their hearts. They shall obtain gladness and joy and sighing and sadness shall flee away.

Now, here in Brisbane, Australia, most of us we face all the hype –if not the hope–of the Olympics coming to Brisbane. And people will be waiting for the event.

And as a dear friend of mine said today on his fb page “I guess the closer 2032 comes the greater the excitement”

He then said “and yet as we wait for the return of Christ there will be little mass hysteria but on that day the whole world will know that the King has come.”

Well . . . . ! Not all of us!

No.

Some of us, admittedly not many believers, are NOT actually waiting for the return of Christ, believing as Jesus told his students on the Mt of Olives (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) that he “assuredly” would come before some of his listeners had passed away (see Mat 16:28, 24:34, Mk 13:30, Lu 21:32).

Ha! We are certainly waiting for that wonderful moment, not far off especially for us ‘oldies’, when “we, the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come singing unto the (heavenly) “Zion”,

and everlasting joy shall be upon our hearts.

We shall obtain gladness and joy and sighing and sadness shall flee away.”!

Yes!

Assuredly!

This now is our blessed hope.

An Interesting Inside Story

I saw this comment to a dream by Praying Medic (www.prayingmedic.com) by one David Gracely. July 21, 2021

“If the Communists want to rail against “white privilege” they only have themselves to blame because that is what they want taught in the public schools.

It is called the Theory of Evolution and the full title of Darwin’s book is “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.”

Darwin favored the elimination of the Negro and Australian peoples because he looked upon them as inferior. Hitler took Darwin to heart. So did Karl Marx who wanted to dedicate Das Capital to Darwin, who declined his request.

My generation got the bum’s rush with the teaching of the Theory of Evolution in public schools in the 19t50’s. This is how that came about.

A very bright fellow worked for the Bureau of Standards, then the CIA, and finally worked for NASA, rising as high in the ranks as you could go without getting involved in politics. He was told by his superior to write up a schedule for the space program.

He was a very meticulous man and he wanted to do the job right, and so it took him two years to complete the job. He turned over his work to his supervisor who turned it over to President Eisenhower. Von Braun and his rocket team were ready to go. But President Eisenhower did nothing. The man who had labored so hard to make up the space schedule was not a happy camper with the President’s response. And then the Russians launched Sputnik and were lauded by our MSM to no end. The President asked the military to try to launch but failed at least twice. Finally he gave the green light to Von Braun and his rocket team and they were successful. But the damage had been done.

The cry went up by the liberal educational establishment.

“How come the Russians beat us into space? Why do they have better scientists then we do? Why, they teach their children the Theory of Evolution in school! That’s why they have better scientists. We need to teach our children the Theory of Evolution too”.

And so my generation got the bum’s rush with the Theory of Evolution.

How do I know about this inside story? Well, my dad told me about this shortly before he died in 2005. The man who wrote up that report was his oldest brother, Fredrick Gracely.”

With grateful thanks to David Gracely and Praying Medic–and Almighty God who gave us all we have. Ian.

The Thessalonians and the Parousia

The apostle Paul, writing about 51 AD to believing Christians in Thessalonica in the Roman province of Macedonia, expected with them, an imminent return of the Lord. Paul wrote they had turned from idols to serve the living God and to wait for his son from heaven (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

As we read this letter today, bear in mind we are reading mail written to believers living 2000 years ago. We must reject the temptation to think we are being addressed by Paul. This is not about us.

The Thessalonians were anticipating the most profound life-changing thing to occur within their lifetime: the Parousia of their saviour! Yet they were deeply troubled and Paul was addressing their concerns.

First, let us ask: Were they still waiting for Jesus to come when they all passed away 2000+ years ago?

Think: Jesus’ second coming was near for these believers, so it cannot be near for us. And if Jesus’ return is near for us today, was Paul in error? If they had the wrong expectations, why didn’t Paul correct them? Why didn’t he write ‘sorry, you’ve got it wrong, Jesus won’t be coming back for a long, long, time.’

Now let’s look at that 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 passage carefully in more detail.

 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as the rest of mankind do, who have no hope.

Paul’s concern as he wrote to these troubled believers, who were worried that those Thessalonians who had died before the Lord’s coming were going to miss out. Their concern was not about the truth of resurrection, as it was when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. For the Thessalonians the fact of the resurrection was not the issue.

14 for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

Paul reasoned: we believe Jesus died and rose, even so [Greek, kai houtos—likewise, it follows] God will bring with him’ those you are concerned for! Great news! Jesus’ resurrection guaranteed theirs also!

Isn’t this evidence that both Paul and his readers believed Jesus was coming soon, not aeons hence?

Some scholars think the bodily resurrection comes at the end of the Messianic age—still in the future.

But does that agree with Paul’s teaching? We ask, do all deceased believers now sleep for thousands of years before their resurrection? Are the Thessalonians and Paul still asleep in Jesus today? Let’s see.

Paul wrote some have fallen asleep in Jesus. Did God bring them ‘asleep’ i.e., with disembodied spirits with Jesus? Or had they been raised when the Lord descended from heaven as it plainly says in v16)?

Is there any hint this resurrection would not occur until 2000+ years hence, as some others claim?  Would that idea really comfort his readers?

15 for this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord — shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.

Now Paul gave them more details. He said what he wrote about this came from Jesus. If Paul was mistaken, was Jesus also mistaken? No way!  Recall that Jesus was ignorant of the day or hour of his coming (Mat 24:36), and so Paul could not be certain about it either.

Here we read of two distinct groups of long-ago saints at His coming: first, those ‘fallen asleep’ and second, those alive and who remain. Jesus had twice told His disciples that there will be some people hearing His words who will remain alive at His coming (see Mat 16:27,28 and 24:34,42,44).

Paul has now said enough to reassure his readers. But surprisingly, he continues with such extraordinary, strange remarks and making verse 17 perhaps the most puzzling in the NT:

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

Paul expects Jesus will descend from heaven; not to Earth, not to Jerusalem. The text in v17 mentions clouds and air for the meeting site, not Earth.

Paul tells them the ‘dead in Christ’ will rise first. They will not miss out on their experience of the Parousia. Is this not their resurrection from the dead—not a spiritual rising. They are raised first, before those who remain alive. Those who remain will also experience resurrection. There are no time limits given. Nobody in Christ will miss out! (Are we today not in a somewhat similar state as those remainers?)

Some writers (For example author, Mike Rogers, www.mikerogersad70.com) think the resurrection comes at the end of time at a single point-in-time event in the future. But this does not follow from the text.

Paul later explained to the Corinthians “Christ has been raised from the dead the first fruits of those who are asleep . . . so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming. (1 Cor:21-27.)

The phrase each in his own order implies, not a mass collection of millions together, but one at a time—’each’ not ‘together’; ‘his’ not ‘they’. As Isaiah 27:12-13 prophesied, On that Day the Lord will thresh from the flowing stream of the Euphrates River to the brook of Egypt, and you will be gathered up one by one, you sons of Israel. It will come about also on that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.  And Moses declared If any of your scattered countrymen are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you (Deut 30:4).

We can see Paul expected the Parousia soon, as did all the apostolic writers, but they said nothing about any post-Parousiabelievers like us, far in the future. Did they assume there would be no future?

Paul wrote ‘The last enemy that will be abolished is death’ (1 Cor 15:26). And Jesus did so—see Rev 20:14, Heb 2:14, 2 Tim 1:10. We all die one at a time (Heb 9:27) and when each dies, is not death abolished, one at a time? That’s what has been declared at funeral services for centuries.

Like Paul, I know that if my earthly tent is torn down, I have a building from God . . . That’s reassuring indeed! He goes on, For indeed, in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, since in fact after putting it on, we will not be found naked. For indeed, we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. (2 Cor 5:1-4). Can we gauge what joyous state Paul expected from this and other passages e.g., Phil 1:21-24? Seems like he couldn’t wait to be so clothed when he wrote that!

I can’t imagine Paul still ‘unclothed’, as a disembodied spirit. Can you?

Paul goes on with some puzzling details, but not about the nature of resurrection . . .

17 Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

Note the adverb of sequencing, then. The original word is epeita meaning thereupon, thereafter, afterward (Strongs G1899). So this catching up was not simultaneous with the coming of Jesus with the risen saints. This leaves open the possibility those ‘remaining could be ‘caught up’ at any time.

Paul here used the 3rd person, we who remain, not ‘you’. Did Paul think he might be included among those remaining? Recall that both Paul and his readers expected a soon return of Jesus (see 1:10, 3:13). We know Paul was executed around 66/67 AD. Has Paul been raised or is he still ‘fallen asleep’, waiting for a ‘general resurrection’ at the end of time as some teach? I think not.

To the Philippians Paul confidently and eagerly wrote our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (Phil 3:20f).     

We may wish Paul had said more. What happens to unbelievers? Or believers who will remain alive?

Reflect that the apostle John died an old man sometime after AD 98 in Asia Minor and Thomas died in AD 72 in India, both still alive and remaining on Earth after the time when all these things take place as Jesus declared to His disciples on the Mt of Olives recorded in Matthew 24, verse 34.  

Many more questions arise. Could Paul have been among the countless numbers brought with Jesus, all having died before the Lord’s coming—as he had—and already risen? If those who remain are caught up together with them, do they come together all risen and meet the Lord in the sky? Does this include the untold numbers of saints from the earliest of times? Fantastic, mysterious language!

Why did Paul, writing to the Corinthians 5 years later about the resurrection (1 Cor 15) not even hint there, or anywhere else in the New Testament, of such phenomena as we read in this letter?

Is there some other explanation of how they meet up with the risen believers in the air? Do you think all the remaining saints really took off, leaving behind their corruptible bodies, rising into the clouds and meet the Lord there with those who died in Jesus? Taking it literally raises many difficult questions.

Think about Paul’s use of that word ‘caught up’ (Greek hapazo, to seize, carry off by force)here: he was caught up into paradise (2 Cor 12:22f). Let’s consider how can all believers have already come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22-24)—just how have they come? What about John’s being ‘in the Spirit’ and being ‘called up here’ (Rev 1:10, 4:1)? And how Phillip could be suddenly ‘snatched away’ and was found at Azotus (Acts 8:39-40).

Are these not examples of ‘rapture’ without anyone leaving the Earth?

Paul was not that concerned with detailing the method of the Parousia—that was secondary. Comforting his readers’ fears was his objective. Paul was not writing a systematic theology for people living 2000 years in the future! Rather he writes to assure them that nothing can separate them from Christ (Rom 8:38).

Verses 16 and 17 contain highly symbolic, apocalyptic language like we find in Matthew 24:29-30 and in Revelation–angels, trumpets and the like.

Let’s try taking this not literally, but figuratively.

First, the remaining—including you and I today—are, and can be ‘caught up’, with those gone before, just like Paul was caught up into the third heaven (2 Cor 12:22ff). Was Paul here applying his experience to the Thessalonians as additional comfort?

And where? Well, not up into the air where the birds fly—Paul would have used a different Greek word, oranos.  No. Here Paul used the Greek, aer, not oranos (see Strongs). This aer is the air we all breathe, as God designed, spontaneously, the foundation of all life (Gen 2:7; 7:2,15), a ‘spiritual’ air, and a realm inhabited by spiritual beings (Eph 2:20), as Greek speakers in Paul’s day would have understood. In Greek mythology, aer was the god of the lower atmosphere in charge of the air breathed. (For more uses of the word aer see 1 Cor 9:2, 14:9; Eph 2:20; Rev 9:2, 16:17.)

In that space, we who believe remain forever with the Lord. Whether we live or die (Romans 14:8) we remain in a mystical union with Jesus that begins by faith and is with us for and into eternity. As William Neil wrote in his 1950 commentary of Thessalonians, being a part of that Body of which Christ is the Head. Jesus taught we already experience eternal life when we believe. And He said Truly, truly, I say to you, a time is coming and even now has arrived, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself . . (John 5:19-30)

 18 so, then, comfort one another with these words.

Would they have been comforted and encouraged if this was not going to happen in their lifetime? No.

If Jesus’ coming was near for them, as Paul wrote around 55 AD, and both they and their dead loved ones were raised and live eternally with Jesus, then the Parousia cannot be near for us today. If this happened to them as described and within their lifetime, then it is impossible for this be near for us.

Because we today look confidently to Jesus to raise each of us incorruptible in the future (though we cannot say when) we can conclude that Paul was writing figuratively in his earnest desire to comfort the distressed Thessalonians.

So we can take this figuratively and not literally. As I said, five years on when he wrote to the Corinthians, that mysterious language was absent. There he simply declared ‘I tell you a mystery’. Mystery!

When Paul writes to them by the word of the Lord (v.15), then we must take that literally: that we who are alive and remain . . .  shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. But in verses 16 and 17 it seems he was “prophesying in part, seeing dimly as by a mirror (NASB margin in a riddle)”?  Mystery!

Conclusion

I don’t believe that Paul taught that the Thessalonians were to be literally ‘caught up into clouds’. When I consider that Paul’s use elsewhere of his being ‘caught up’ and how other apostolic writers wrote of various ecstatic experiences, and his use of the Greek word, aer, helps me to make sense of this passage. 

If the Parousia is coming near for us today, as many teach, the Thessalonians all died without the comfort Paul was assuring them. So God did not come down from heaven and they were not ‘caught up’ then.

According to many Christian friends, this event is all in the future and it’s going to happen ‘soon’, 2000+ years after Paul wrote this letter? Has the meaning of the word ‘soon’ been changed to mean ‘sometime’?

Paul did not teach that the resurrection comes at the end of time as a single point-in-time event in the future. From what he wrote then, I can’t imagine Paul still now, ‘unclothed’—a disembodied spirit.

Paul concluded “so we will always be with the Lord”. Praise God! We can be encouraged as well—so shall we be also always with the Lord—nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38). That’s something so clear and concrete that all His brothers and sisters can be in agreement as one.

What do you think? I am eager to hear your comments, both positive or critical.

He rescues me

I was recently asked to share a story in answer to the question “Have you ever been rescued?”

Yes!

The Almighty living true God, the One whom Jesus called Abba (Daddy) rescued me in May 1959.

He rescued me from a life of wondering what life was all about and transformed me into a new existence which biblical writers call “eternal life”.

I was blind, I was lost, I was enslaved to my own desires, imaginings and inclinations. My worldview changed overnight.

Yes, I have been rescued in every way.

God sent a black man from Uganda and his companion from Tanzania. As I listened to his story and saw his joy, I knew I had to have what this man, these people, so obviously had.

Yes, truly I have been rescued.

And I have been continually rescued day by day and year by year since then and today, more than ever, I am thankful.

The mighty God maintains each of my 70 billion body cells every second.

So I am so grateful to Him and to those two East Africans, whom He sent to rescue me.

Living in Fear?

Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

It is clear to me that governments and mainstream media are either deliberately or

unwittingly collaborating the promotion of fear in the Western World.

Read what C.S. Lewis said here many years ago, to the British readers, so as to put things in perspective.

Of course, a much greater threat than Lewis lists here, is threatening us today. I refer to the immense satanic evil of the ominous one-world government that is being openly proposed which will radically change our way of life from freedom to slavery.

Nevertheless, we know that a better world awaits us who believe in the One who died for us and has set us free from fear and anxiety.

All you who read this, if you have not made reconciliation with Almighty God through his death, you must tremble.

But there is an alternative open to you. A way out.

And that is to change your mind, radically, completely and wholeheartedly about Jesus and commit your life into his hands and receive the gift of eternal life.

In doing so you will certainly receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and no longer live in abject fear.

America is feeding the Cuckoo

I heard The Spirit say, ”Sheep Nations must stop feeding the Cuckoo! America is feeding the Cuckoo!”

by Veronica West

As I heard those Words, I was a little confused as to it’s meaning. But as I inquired of The Holy Spirit, He immediately spoke these Words, ”Look to the Cuckoo, a parasitic bird, for its work is an abomination in My Sight. This bird is an imposter which has taken over the nest!”

As I heard those Words, I ran to a trusted bird manual and sure enough, I saw that the female Cuckoo bird watches the nests of other female birds, then the Cuckoo lays in wait, watching until the other female bird lays her eggs.

Then, when she flies off to find food, the female Cuckoo quickly goes and lays one egg in the nest of the other female bird.

Now when the bird returns from finding food, she is totally unaware of what has just happened and she sits and incubates all the eggs, including the Cuckoo egg.

Over time, the Cuckoo egg hatches and as soon as the Cuckoo chick emerges from its shell, it proceeds to throw out all the other eggs from the nest.

The Cuckoo chick is then fed and reared by the female bird until it’s fully grown and ready to fly the nest.

The female bird is totally unaware and blind to the fact that there is an imposter in her nest and that all her babies have been destroyed.

The Cuckoo chick is fed all day long, and the small female bird spends all day looking for food to feed the ravenous Cuckoo chick, who has an appetite of ten small chicks put together…

The Cuckoo chick is an imposter in the nest. It takes full advantage of the ignorance of the small female bird, and from the moment it hatches from its shell, it seeks to kill and destroy any of the other eggs or chicks in the nest so that it can be solely fed and reared in the nest.

Now, as I read about this interesting aspect of the Cuckoo bird being the imposter bird, I heard The Spirit say, ”America is feeding the Cuckoo!”

As I heard those Words, suddenly Joe Biden (an imposter) and the nation of China (also an imposter) both came up before me and I heard these Words, ”Listen! Watch and be alert! Pay close attention! For in this season, the sound of the Cuckoo… Cuckoo… will be heard.

For the time of Divine Exposures and a Righteous Unraveling has begun to take place in the Nations.

Watch, as the works of the sleight-of-hand will be uncovered and revealed.

Watch, as My Governing Hand moves to expose the demonic spirit of an imposter in the midst of you!

Watch, as I move strategically in the days ahead to cut off and stifle the supply lines that have feed the Cuckoo, for cry of the ravenous Cuckoo will soon be silenced!”

Blessings to you all.
~ by Veronika West

An Undeniable and Amazing Miracle

Let me share an amazing story, truly miraculous, which has unfolded early this year.

My son has an IT business with Egyptian-born Atef. Atef and his Philippine-born wife, Emelie were living on the Central Coast of New South Wales with their three young boys when she became pregnant again.   

In November 2020, Emelie was given the most distressing news by doctors at the local hospital. She faced the most dangerous possible outcome because of the baby’s position. The placenta was growing in a verticle crevice left by a previous caesarean delivery. The thin wall of the placenta could easily puncture.

When my wife Joan and I heard this terrible news from Atef, we began praying and then we recruited others praying day and night for the blessing of God upon them, for a miracle. It had to be a miracle.

She was then referred to the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney where she was told that the doctors would be assembling a team of specialists (not just obstetricians) to be on hand for a March delivery as the lives of both mother and baby would be in grave danger due to potential haemorrhaging. An all-day procedure would be necessary. When they asked the specialist about the odds of having a successful outcome, the doctors gave no reply. Could the situation rectify naturally? The specialist said that was impossible. They were told that even if the delivery was successful the growth of the child could be compromised.

Well, our prayers were about to be answered in an extraordinary way.

On the 7th of January, Atef and Emelie went to Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital for a scheduled scan of the pregnancy. Then they were told the most astonishing good news.

The scan at the Sydney Hospital revealed that Emeiie could expect to have a completely normal finish to her pregnancy. The specialist was stunned and said this was totally unexpected. He said the womb was completely normal and “it didn’t even look like she had undergone three previous C-sections”.

A few weeks later, the parents made another scheduled visit expecting Emelie to undergo an MRI scan. But after an Ultrasound was performed, the specialist they saw confirmed total normality! He had no explanation but had to acknowledge this was a miracle. There was no need to have the scheduled MRI, nor another visit to Sydney, and she was told she could have the baby at their local hospital.  Wow!

When they made the necessary arrangements for a March delivery at the local hospital, the medical staff were sounding very concerned that the procedure would not be without very serious results despite the recent scans at the Royal North Shore Hospital.  So they proceeded to have a team of specialists ready for the worst-case scenario, an all-day procedure. We kept trusting God and encouraged Atef as well.

The big day arrived. On 11th March, Emelie and Atef proceeded to the local hospital and there a beautiful, perfect baby girl weighing 3.5 kg was born by normal C-Section. There was no abnormal bleeding and the condition of the womb did not look as if there were any previous C-sections. They said, “there was not even any bad scarring visible!”

The climax of an amazing miracle.

Isn’t God wonderful! Atef and Emelie are over the moon. Excited. And so thankful to God and to all who joined in prayer. God loves us so very much. To God be the glory.

Surely, God intended the arrival of this precious little life and He intends many blessings for this family!

Rejoice with us and be encouraged in your faith and prayer life. Keep on asking!

Jesus died and rose and lives for us

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!

By Caleb Stephen and the team at CitizenGO

The everlasting message of Resurrection Sunday speaks life and love every calendar year. 

2021 is no exception. The world still faces a darkness that idolizes killing pre-born babies, destroying the family and promoting harmful curriculums in schools.  

The reality is that Christ has conquered death and given us immortality. We are made for eternity. 

This is why we rejoice: we as sinners have been redeemed. We have been saved at a high price – nothing less than God himself offered up to pay our debt. 

We have been released from the chains of mediocrity, sadness, hopelessness, fear, hunger, suffering, and even death. 

We do not deny that most of 2020 and 2021 have been difficult — with the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Still, it is also true that our Hope transcends these current harsh realities.  

Because Christ has risen and has opened for us the doors of Paradise, a true homeland for you and for me. A place without darkness but also without hatred, bitterness, enmities, or unpaid debts. A homeland of joy, good humor, tenderness, and happiness. In short, a homeland of love for which we are created. To love and be fully happy.  

Do not let the difficulties of these present times rob you of that joy. Remember that Christ is stronger than death and, of course, the coronavirus.  

Happy Easter! Enjoy this Easter Sunday however you manage to spend it. 

There is nothing in this world that can change an empty tomb. 

Fake Christianity

As more people read their New Testament and see what it actually says about meeting together and what is God’s design for us in the New Covenant in contrast to the old they begin to long for something more authentic, more participatory–what God actually wants.

The Lord has clearly provided the most glorious pattern for us–the Lord Jesus, himself, his example, His commands, His works and His constant obedience to what the Father said. If He was so obedient then so must we also. Just ‘as Moses was faithful in all his house’ so Jesus was/is in His house which He is building and gathering not being built by human hands.

So we also in following Him, must be faithful.

Jesus never commanded his followers to start institutions, but to make disciples, and teach them all that he taught his little flock.

The believers we read about in the N.T., though not perfect yet obeyed the voice of the Holy Spirit and the instructions of the apostles, eg 1 Cor 1, 11-14. But since as early as 2nd Century and even earlier in some N.T. letters and the 7 assemblies of Revelation, men have had their own ideas and so we come to today with pharisaism, false teaching, mono-ministry, loss of supernatural, and ended up with mere religion devoid of the Holy Spirit

We have thought we could change from the word of God, that we could do better ourselves.

God calls this Disobedience.

It is a plain and simple need to repent, change our minds, humble ourselves, weep and begin to radically OBEY. To admit that we have disobeyed the plain words of Jesus (e.g., Matthew 18:17, 23). This will require humility, the will and searching to do only what the Father wants and to be willing to suffer reproach loss of friends and loneliness.