Outlook 

 

The start of a new year is a new season and time of reflection and contemplation.

Reflecting on 2008, a year of change for all of us, some of it expected, maybe even planned, but a lot of it for many people not wanted. The world economy seems to have gone into a decline with consequences for every country. One article I read had the title “What did we do to deserve 2008”.

The interesting thing is that although 2008 may have been a surprise to many people and politicians, it was not to God. The Lord knew what would happen, and the Lord knows what you are feeling and experiencing at this moment, be it disappointment, fear, isolation or physical suffering.

The Lord knows our emotions. In Jeremiah 31 verse 3 the Lord says “Yes I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and have continued My faithfulness to you.” Yes this was written to Israel and had a special meaning then and continues now to have a special meaning for that country and people, but it applies to all who have been forgiven by Jesus. We are loved with an everlasting love, often we forget. We need to remember this as we reflect with the Lord on 2008.

 

Turning to 2009, what are we looking forward to and hoping for in our own lives and in our church life? Our hope and certainty should be in the promise of the Lord’s return, but very often this is obscured and becomes very hazy in the pressure of daily life. Many other things seem to press in on us, do we need to sharpen up and revitalise our lives? Are we drifting from following Him? The apostle John who had lived, walked and worked with Jesus during his three years of teaching and healing wrote a letter to the early churches and he encouraged the Christians to walk in the light and have true unbroken fellowship with each other (1 John 1:7). Are we walking in the light of Jesus? 

Looking at 2009 what do we want to see for the church at Carley? If we follow the apostle John’s instructions and encouragement we will want to follow his pattern which he received from Jesus. John’s pattern we can see by reading an earlier verse - 1 John 1 verse 3: “What we have seen and ourselves heard we are also telling you” (AV) He was declaring and telling people about Jesus. Are we walking close enough to Jesus in our lives to be able to make a difference to people we meet? The recent walkout with carol service invitations gave us a number of opportunities to declare Jesus to people with interesting responses. As a church we must never stop trying to declare the Lord in everything we do. Therefore, may our outlook for 2009 be to:

 

REFLECT with the Lord - WALK with the Lord - DECLARE the Lord

 

 

Chris Baines

 

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WHO I AM IN CHRIST (Part 1)

 

I am Redeemed (Rev 5:9)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20)
I am Blood bought (1 Pet 1:19, Rev 5:9)
I am valuable to God (Mt 10:31)
I am one in whom God has an inheritance (Eph 1:18)
I am reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:18)
I am made clean (Jn 13:10)

I am saved by the Gospel (1 Cor 15:2) 
I am born again of incorruptible seed (1 Pet 1:23) 
I am a new creation (2 Cor 5:17) 
I am of God (1 Jn 4:4) 
I am Christ’s possession (1 Cor 3:23) 
I am in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:30) 
I am complete in Him (Col 2:10) 
I am free from the control of man (1 Cor 9:19) 
I am free from sin (Rom 6:18,22) 
I am free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2) 
I am free from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13) 
I am free indeed (Jn 8:32-36) 
I am called according to His purpose (Rom 8:30) 
I am called into the fellowship of His Son (1 Cor 1:9) 
I am called to peace (1 Cor 7:15) 
I am called to liberty (Gal 5:13) 
I am called to His eternal glory (1 Pet 5:10) 
I am God’s field (1 Cor 3:9) 
I am God’s building (1 Cor 3:9) 
I am one in whom the word of God abides (1 Jn 2:14) 
I am an epistle of Christ, written not with ink but by the

Spirit of the living God (2 Cor 3:3) 
I am a branch connected into the Vine Jesus Christ and

His life flows through me (Jn 15:5) 
I am a friend of God (Jn 15:15) 
I am a servant of God (1 Cor 9:19) 
I am a part of the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27) 
I am one of the saints in Christ Jesus (Rom 1:6, Gal 3:28) 
I am a fellow citizen with all the saints in the Kingdom of God (Eph 2:19) 
I am a stranger to this world, a pilgrim just passing through (Heb 11:13) 
I am the temple of the Lord and the Holy Spirit dwells

within me (1 Cor 3:16, 6:19, 2 Cor 6:16, Jn 14:7) 
I am a witness (1 Thess 2:10)

 

(There will be more ‘I am’s’ in the next magazine

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There are those of us at Carley who use the Pilgrim Bible notes as a guide to reading the Scriptures each day. The thoughts expressed by the writer have been a blessing as well as a challenge to living as to the Lord. From time to time thoughts have been written on the prophetic parts of the Bible. During November and December 2008 we have had before us the Book of Revelation and prior to that the Book of Daniel.

 

It has to be recognised that Christians do differ quite widely on aspects of interpretation of these Scriptures. This being so, there is a constant need to remember that all such believers are brothers and sisters in the Lord and in dealing with such differences there MUST be a graciousness and Christ-like love to one another.

 

During the reading of the Pilgrim Bible notes, it has become evident that the writer leans towards what is known as ‘replacement theology’. This teaches that the church has replaced the Jew, that there is no future for Israel as a nation before God. Coupled with this idea that we are in the millennium now, so that there will be no future reign of Christ on earth, representing the Sabbath rest of this troubled earth. The other line taken is that the promises of God to Israel, which have not yet been fulfilled are spiritualised so as to refer to the church.

 

Pages could be written about this, and this is not the time and place to deal in depth on these issues. This article is to let readers know that the leadership at Carley have always taken the line of a LITERAL interpretation of Scripture where it can be clearly taken this way. For those of you who are in doubt as to what is correct or otherwise, the following references are mentioned:

 

 

  • Luke 22:29-30 – The Lord Jesus refers to His Kingdom and the 12 Tribes of Israel 
  • Matthew 23:37-39 – The Lord speaking of Jerusalem and the Jewish people (psalm 118:26) 
  • John 19:37 – They shall look on Him whom they pierced (Psalm 22:16, Zech 12:10, Rev 1:7) 
  • Acts 1:9-12 – The ascension took place on the Mount of Olives. The promise of the return is to the same place (Zech 14:3-4) 
  • There are 77 references to Israel in the New Testament, if the word Israel was replaced by the Church the Scriptures would be confusing and contrary. Is Paul in Romans 10:1 asking the Church to be saved? 

 

If you are rather confused by these differences of opinion, please examine prayerfully and carefully the Scriptures again and the Holy Spirit will give clarity and guidance. The coming again of the Lord Jesus draws near. World events confirm the words of the Saviour (Matthew 24 and Luke 21). Our duty is to watch and pray (Matthew 26:41 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11). May each of us be like the Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).

 

 

R. John Wheeler