Monday, July 26, 2010

Missions and Evangelism in Egypt

Here is a wonderful report from Antony Simon, one of the HeartCry missionaries in Jerusalem

We traveled with seven people including myself and my two sons. We left Jerusalem after our Saturday night meeting at 11PM and arrived at the border of Eilat about four hours later. We crossed the border, and found a taxi going to Cairo. Usually it takes a long time for a taxi after all the bargaining, but we had a young lady with us who has epilepsy. We prayed that it would be quick, and it was. Taxis in Egypt are a blessing. They help us to learn to always pray and trust in the Lord. If one is weak in faith, he should visit Egypt. So many near misses, the horn sounds, it seems like they drive with the horn as a second gas peddle!

When we arrived in Cairo, we took the metro to the center of Cairo to the hotel we usually stay in. The people there know us very well. The government security at the entrance of the hotel also knew us and asked lots of questions, to which I always answer I don't know because with the Lord there are no fixed plans. We don't always know what he has planned for us. We arrived on a Sunday so the Bible society was closed. What we usually do is buy Arabic New Testaments immediately. We went for a walk to find a church to get a couple of NTs until we could buy them the next day. We found a Coptic church with a book shop and purchased 50 NTs and had a good conversation with a young Coptic man who had a great desire for spiritual things. We sent him to look at the shocking message by Paul Washer on Youtube. By the way, Paul washer is not a good man, but he like us has a great Savior.

Afterward we went to the garbage city to look at the church in the Rock and to distribute some literature. We gave out most of our New Testaments. I gave a Muslim man a NT, and a christian woman took it from him. It ended up with some other person. On the third attempt of giving him a NT he took it. In the city we bought ice cream. There was a mistake with the money, and a man translated for us . The difference was not much, just 20 pence or 30 cents, but in the end we discovered the translator was an accountant for the bible society. He invited us to come the next day and get a discount on Bibles!

The next day we were going to travel to Alexandria to meet some people. In the morning, I had a meeting with brother Hani at 10am. He was going to take us to the bible society. On the way to the meeting I got stuck in the Lift (elevator) with two people from the UK (not far from my home town of Manchester) and a Canadian. It was a great opportunity to witness and give these people the Gospel. They were not very open, but they did hear the message. They had no where to run!

Hani was late, and I was actually on time despite the delay. Hani then took me and another 3 people with him. On the Metro we had an opportunity to witness to some Muslims, and Hani translated. You can tell religious Muslims in Egypt because they have the mark of Cain (or the beast) or something on their foreheads as a result of praying and banging their heads on the ground. I think many of them do it not from praying but on their own as a sign that they are very religious and that people think they are religious. We got some bibles from the Bible Society, and we also learned of some of their needs. They need to print Bibles in Eritrean and also Somalian language as there are many refugees and such a big need.

We then left for Alexandria. We traveled by shared Taxis and left literature in the seats for others to read. Everywhere we went we left presents for people, and people received them gladly; only a few refused. We stayed in a church hotel in Alexandria. There we had many opportunities to hand out bibles and witness. In the Evening we went to a Bible study for youth, and I was able to say a few words.

The next day I arranged to meet a brother at 5 pm. Meanwhile, we went out to hand out literature. We met brother Rafaat, who is very busy in his ministry. He has not been very healthy recently and would value your prayers. He is involved in ministry translating the Bible into spoken Arabic and also prepares lots of material for children. He is also involved in establishing house churches throughout Egypt. We were with him last time. He told us that after we left his neighbors and owner of his house were angry with him and paid someone to kill him. The hit man did not carry out the contract because when he saw Rafaat he recognized him as the hit man was helped by Rafaat's brother in the past. The hit man ended up attacking those who hired him. It got to the police, and the police believed Rafaat but he dropped the charges and forgave them. After we met Rafaat we went for a long walk and handed out lots of literature among the Muslims.

The next day our travel group had a meeting in the morning. Every day we had a prayer meeting once or twice a day. That morning an Egyptian girl attended our meeting, and now she wants to go to the church of a friend of ours called George.

On the Wednesday we met George and went back to Cairo. On the way to the bus we met a lawyer who helped us to the bus and ended up getting a gift from us. Being lost not knowing where we are is a lesson in patience and part of our service to our God. We arrived in Cairo and then went to a Bible study in a house of believers. At the hotel after checking in the manager came up to me and asked if I was a Christian and what I was doing in Egypt. I told him, and he said be careful. He asked some members of our group to pray for him.

On the way to the Bible study we got to witness to Muslims on the metro. It is good when people are curious about these strangers, and you can find a translator to give the gospel. My translator told me off. He told me not to do this here I said, "I am FREE, and no one will stop me." Thanks be to our living God who helps us in our weaknesses and gives strength and boldness. The Bible study went well, and at the end we had questions. Just before we went to the Bible study we met a man in the street. We gave him the NT. When we left he asked for another one for his friend. Our friends drove us back to our Hotel and on the way we stopped for gas. We nearly had a collision with a woman and her children at the gas station. We gave her a book, the life of Christ in Arabic. She took it, but our driver told us be careful, as you have no protection. That's how the Middle East works; you need a friend to help you if you get into trouble. I said that I am not afraid. God is sovereign, and He is my protection.

The next day we went to the Pyramids and handed out the rest of our literature and took the taxis back to Taba (the border with Israel). We are so thankful to the Lord who gave us many opportunities as we were moving around and that we could give out so much literature. Please Pray for us as we are about to begin three weeks of Gospel.

On the 16th August I leave with Joshua and Yoel to meet Dona and Rachel in the UK.

We printed 4000 Nts in Tigrinyan through the Bible society. Pray for the woman's house. Pray for provision to obtain the New Testament in Arabic on MP3 players for the illiterate in Egypt. Pray for Friday nights in Tel Aviv

Next week on Sunday we go to Eilat for two days to evangelize the foreign refugees from Sudan and Eritrea .

May you be blessed,
Antony Simon

The Verdict? - Declared "Not Guilty, Pardoned, and Fully Righteous!"

“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?”

What a blessed challenge! How unanswerable it is! Every sin of the elect was laid upon the great Champion of our salvation, and by the atonement carried away. There is no sin in God’s book against his people: he seeth no sin in Jacob, neither iniquity in Israel; they are justified in Christ forever. When the guilt of sin was taken away, the punishment of sin was removed. For the Christian there is no stroke from God’s angry hand—nay, not so much as a single frown of punitive justice. The believer may be chastised by his Father, but God the Judge has nothing to say to the Christian, except “I have absolved thee: thou art acquitted.” For the Christian there is no penal death in this world, much less any second death. He is completely freed from all the punishment as well as the guilt of sin, and the power of sin is removed too. It may stand in our way, and agitate us with perpetual warfare; but sin is a conquered foe to every soul in union with Jesus. There is no sin which a Christian cannot overcome if he will only rely upon his God to do it. They who wear the white robe in heaven overcame through the blood of the Lamb, and we may do the same. No lust is too mighty, no besetting sin too strongly entrenched; we can overcome through the power of Christ. Do believe it, Christian, that thy sin is a condemned thing. It may kick and struggle, but it is doomed to die. God has written condemnation across its brow. Christ has crucified it, “nailing it to his cross.” Go now and mortify it, and the Lord help you to live to his praise, for sin with all its guilt, shame, and fear, is gone.

“Here’s pardon for transgressions past,
It matters not how black their cast;
And, O my soul, with wonder view,
For sins to come- here’s pardon too.”

- C. H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Earnest of our Inheritance

Oh! what enlightenment, what joys, what consolation, what delight of heart is experienced by that man who has learned to feed on Jesus, and on Jesus alone. Yet the realization which we have of Christ’s preciousness is, in this life, imperfect at the best. As an old writer says, “'Tis but a taste!” We have tasted “that the Lord is gracious.”

But we do not yet know how good and gracious he is, although what we know of his sweetness makes us long for more. We have enjoyed the firstfruits of the Spirit, and they have set us hungering and thirsting for the fulness of the heavenly vintage. We groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption. Here we are like Israel in the wilderness, who had but one cluster from Eshcol--there we shall be in the vineyard. Here we see the manna falling small, like coriander seed, but there shall we eat the bread of heaven and the old corn of the kingdom.

We are but beginners now in spiritual education; for although we have learned the first letters of the alphabet, we cannot read words yet, much less can we put sentences together; but as one says, “He that has been in heaven but five minutes, knows more than the general assembly of divines on earth.” We have many ungratified desires at present, but soon every wish shall be satisfied; and all our powers shall find the sweetest employment in that eternal world of joy. O Christian, antedate heaven for a few years. Within a very little time thou shalt be rid of all thy trials and thy troubles. Thine eyes now suffused with tears shall weep no longer. Thou shalt gaze in ineffable rapture upon the splendour of him who sits upon the throne. Nay, more, upon his throne shalt thou sit. The triumph of his glory shall be shared by thee; his crown, his joy, his paradise--these shall be thine, and you shall be co-heir with him who is the heir of all things.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Monday, July 19, 2010

Christ of the Upward Way

Christ of the upward way, my Guide divine,
Where Thou hast set Thy feet, there may I place mine;
And move and march wherever Thou hast trod,
Keeping face forward up the hill of God.

Give me the heart to hear Thy voice and will,
That without fault or fear I may fulfill;
Thy purpose with a glad and holy zest,
Like one who would not bring less that his best.

Give me the eye to see each chance to serve,
Then send me strength to rise with steady nerve;
And leap at once with kind and helpful deed,
To the sure succor of a soul in need.

Give me the good stout arm to shield the right,
And wield Thy sword of truth with all my might;
That, in the warfare I must wage for Thee,
More than a victor I may ever be.

Christ of the upward way, my Guide divine,
Where Thou has set Thy feet, there may I place mine;
And when Thy last call comes, serene and clear,
Calm may my answer be, "Lord, I am here."

- Walter Mathams

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mortifying Anger

God said to Jonah, "Doest thou well to be angry?" - Jonah 4:9

Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character with this question: "Are you doing well to be angry?" It may be that we can answer, "Yes." Very frequently anger is the madman's firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah's fire from heaven.

We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our gracious God, or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction, or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil which they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God Himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, "Ye that love the lord, hate evil."

Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or justifiable, and then we must answer, "no", if we are doing well by being angry. Why should we yield to anger with our children or with our friends? Is such anger honorable to our Christian profession or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature? Many professing Christians give way to anger as though it is useless to attempt resistance. But let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror at every point or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us?

Someone told Willliam Jay that grace is often grafted onto a crab-stump. "Yes," said Jay, "but the fruit will not be crabs." We must not make natural personality or weakness an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Regardless of what we may be facing, we can and, therefore, we will "Crown Him with Many Crowns." - Mack T.

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne,
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own;
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him the virgin’s Son, the God incarnate born,
Whose arm those crimson trophies won, which now His brow adorn;
Fruit of the mystic rose, as of that rose the stem,
The root whence mercy ever flows, the Babe of Bethlehem.

Crown Him the Son of God, before the worlds began,
And ye who tread where He hath trod, crown Him the Son of Man;
Who every grief hath known, that wrings the human breast,
And takes and bears them for His own, that all in Him may rest.

Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed over the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save;
His glories now we sing, who died and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring and lives that death may die.

Crown Him the Lord of peace, whose power a scepter sways,
From pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise;
His reign shall know no end, and round His pierc├Ęd feet,
Fair flowers of paradise extend, their fragrance ever sweet.

Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,
Those wounds yet visible above, in beauty glorified;
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.

Crown Him the Lord of Heaven, enthroned in worlds above,
Crown Him the King to Whom is given the wondrous name of Love;
Crown Him with many crowns, as thrones before Him fall,
Crown Him, ye kings, with many crowns, for He is King of all.

Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign,
Who once on earth, the incarnate Word, for ransomed sinners slain;
Now lives in realms of light, where saints with angels sing
Their songs before Him day and night--their God, Redeemer, King.

Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime;
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me,
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

- Matthew Bridges

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Join All the Glorious Names

Sung to the same tune as Rejoice the Lord is King (which doesn't help some of you! As Leonard Ravenhill used to say, "Learn the hymns!")
Don't just read it, but read it closely and realize what each verse is saying, and then if you know the tune, sing it to the Lord.

Join all the glorious Names
Of wisdom, love and power,
That ever mortals knew, that angels ever bore;
All are too low to speak His worth,
Too poor to set my Savior forth.

But O, what gentle terms,
What condescending ways,
Does our Redeemer use to teach His heav’nly grace;
Mine eyes with joy and wonder see
What forms of love He bears for me.

Arrayed in mortal flesh,
He like an angel stands,
And holds the promises and pardons in His hands;
Commissioned from His Father’s throne
To make His grace to mortals known.

Great Prophet of my God,
My tongue would bless Thy Name,
By Thee the joyful news of our salvation came;
The joyful news of sin forgiven,
Of hell subdued and peace with Heaven.

Be Thou my Counsellor,
My Pattern and my Guide,
And through this desert land still keep me near Thy side;
Nor let my feet e’er run astray,
Nor roam nor seek the crooked way.

I love my Shepherd’s voice,
His watchful eyes shall keep
My wand’ring soul among the thousands of His sheep;
He feeds His flock, He calls their names,
His bosom bears the tender lambs.

To this dear Surety’s hand
Will I commit my cause,
He answers and fulfills His Father’s broken laws;
Behold my soul, at freedom set,
My Surety paid the dreadful debt!

Jesus, my great High Priest,
Offered His blood and died,
My guilty conscience seeks no sacrifice beside;
His powerful blood did once atone,
And now it pleads before the throne.

My Advocate appears
For my defense on high,
The Father bows His ears, and lays His thunder by;
Not all that hell or sin can say
Shall turn his Heart, His love away.

My dear almighty Lord,
My Conqueror and my King,
Thy scepter and Thy sword, Thy reigning grace I sing;
Thine is the power, behold I sit
In willing bonds beneath Thy feet.

Now let my soul arise,
And tread the tempter down,
My Captain leads me forth to conquest and a crown;
A feeble saint shall win the day,
Though death and hell obstruct the way.

Should all the hosts of death,
And powers of hell unknown,
Put their most dreadful forms of rage and mischief on;
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
Superior power and guardian grace.

- Isaac Watts

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Gospel is the Best of News

The message of the cross tells us that Christ crucified turned alienation into reconciliation, and forever changed the pronouncement of God toward mankind. The message of Calvary now proclaims to sinners: WELCOME, all who are sinful. Welcome, welcome, welcome! God is a pardoning, reconciling, forgiving, welcoming, friendly Father because of the Cross. Come and welcome home, every sinner. Welcome home, sinner, welcome home. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow." God is ready to be reconciled to any sinner who will come. Come freely, without money, without price, without goodness, without self-improvement, without self-effort, without good works, without righteousness, without contribution, without hesitancy, and without delay-- come now and be fully welcomed by Jesus Christ.

The most sinful person who reckons it to be true that Jesus died for sinners, and believing that, comes himself genuinely seeking a Saviour for himself, will not see a divine finger pointed at him, "Naughty boy, shame on you!" He will not get reprimanded, lectured, scolded or corrected. He will not get a cold shoulder, be looked down upon, or be gripped at: "I want you to know how bad you've been! Now, you need to be good, so I'm putting you on probation to see if I can really trust you!"

The sinner fears, "If I do come, what will I find--an angry, hesitant God?" But when the sinner final does come, what does he find?

He finds a reconciled God and Father. He finds a friendly, welcoming, loving Saviour. He finds ONLY a "welcome home" sign extended, a rejoicing Father embracing him, and the free gift of inner cleansing; he finds all his sins and guilt gone, and hears a pronouncement of "fully forgiven!"; he finds he has received the status of being a fully-loved son; he finds complete restoration and a joyful reunion. He finds heaven throwing a party and a banquet feast of mercy, unconditional love, and full reconciliation. He hears, as the prodigal son heard, "It's time to celebrate!"

If Jesus died for the worst of sinners, will He not then also freely forgive the same sinners?

As William Hewitson said, "It is as sinful to doubt God's willingness to save me as to doubt His existence. God is benevolent and friendly-minded toward sinners in the gospel."

As the song says, "Come and dine, the Master calleth, come and dine!"

- Mack Tomlinson

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hold Me Up

"Hold me up--and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

We need God's constant presence, power and grace. Except He upholds us, we shall certainly fall. We would have fallen before this if God had not kept us! We would fall every day unless we are upheld by an invisible arm. This day Satan may lay some snare for us. This day our hearts may deceive us. This day the world may lay some unexpected bait for us. And unless the Holy Spirit opens our eyes, gives us fresh supplies of grace, or holds us back by an invisible power, we shall utterly fall!

"Hold me up--and I shall be safe!" Let this be our daily prayer. It will never be unsuitable.

- James Smith

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Father

"My Father!" - Jeremiah 3:4

This is a child's cry. It is full of meaning, full of love, full of comfort and is a title which the Lord loves to hear us use!

"Lord, give us the Spirit of adoption this morning, and let us see and feel, that we are Your children."

Believer, to whom will you go in trouble? To whom will you look in difficulty? To whom will you cry in danger? From whom will you ask when in need?
Surely I hear you say, "My Father!"

Who speaks to you in the Bible? Who tries you by His providence? Who chastens you with His rod? Who purifies and cleanses you? Who humbles and reproves you? Again you will say, "My Father!"

Who supports the world? Who controls the nations? Who chains up Satan? Who comforts the believer? Who pardons the backslider?
Again you reply, "My Father!"

Then I exhort you to . . . trust your Father's Word, abide in your Father's house, expect from your Father's hand, and say in every trial: "I will arise and go to my Father!"

- James Smith

Our Maker Becomes our Husband

"As the bridegroom rejoices over his bride--so shall your God rejoice over you!" Isaiah 62:5

That God should save a sinner at all is a surprising display of unmerited grace. But that He should bring that sinner into the closest possible relation to Himself and rejoice over him, is indeed most astonishing, And yet it is true. For our Maker becomes our Husband. And as the bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so our God rejoices over us! He set His heart upon us. He encircled us with His infinite love. He determined to raise us to His glorious throne and purposed to make us one with Himself.

He sent His only begotten Son to redeem us. He sent His Holy Spirit to regenerate us. He intends to raise us from the dead, perfect in holiness, and robed with immortality. He will present us before His glorious presence with exceeding joy.

"He will rejoice over us with singing!" What exquisite joy will this impart. Jehovah singing with joy over His ransomed and restored creatures, as though their salvation could increase or perfect His happiness. Let us meditate on this glorious fact, and prepare for the stupendous event.

"Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" Revelation 19:9

"Come, I will show you the bride--the wife of the Lamb!" Revelation 21:9

- James Smith

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Poverty of Christ for Us

"Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay His head!" - Matthew 8:20

What an astonishing fact! Here is the Creator of all things without a home. Here is the Ruler of the universe without a habitation. Here is the eternal, immortal King, more destitute than the birds of the air or the beasts of the forest! "Then each one went to his own home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives." (John 7:53-8:1) Everyone had a home but Him! What brought Him into these circumstances?

Love! Love for whom? Love for sinners, the vilest, the basest of mankind. Why did He stoop so low? He became poor, that we might become rich. He was without a poor cottage on earth, that we might possess splendor in heaven. He was destitute in time, that we might possess a glorious portion in eternity. Oh, Jesus, how astonishing is Your love.

O my soul, admire, adore, and praise the wondrous love of your beloved Lord.

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich--yet for your sakes He became poor; so that you through His poverty might become rich!" - 2 Corinthians 8:9

- James Smith

God's Two Treasures

God in heaven has a treasure,
Riches none may count or tell;
Has a deep eternal pleasure--
Christ, the Son, He loveth well.

God has here on earth a treasure,
None but He its price may know;
Deep, unfathomable pleasure--
Christ revealed in saints below.

- Anonymous

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Leaning on her Beloved

Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved? -- Song of Solomon 8:5

Jesus is the object of a believer's love. To the Christian, the world is a wilderness. Heaven is his Father's house and his home. He is passing through the wilderness in company with Jesus. He is represented as the bride, leaning on her Beloved. This is indicative of weakness in herself and confidence in her Beloved.

He is her strength, as well as her guide. He is her support, as well as the object of her affection. She leans on Him, as well as converses with Him. He supports her, as well as comforts her.

Believer, keep close to your Savior's side; Never leave Him while in this waste-howling wilderness. Lean on Him. And when you feel weak, lean hard!

His strong arm is put forth to support your weak frame. He will bear you up and lead you on. The more you lean on Him, the more you will love Him.
The more you love Him, the closer you will cleave to Him!

Yield to His guidance, trust in His love, lean on His power, and walk by His side.

In His company, you are safe and in communion with Him, you will be happy. Like the two disciples of old, your heart will be warmed, and you will be at the end of your journey before you are aware of it!

"Who is this coming up from the wilderness--leaning upon her Beloved?" Song of Solomon 8:5

- James Smith

Fear Not Little Flock

"Fear not, little flock!" Luke 12:32

The Savior's flock is small. It exists in the harsh desert. Enemies surround it. His lambs, especially, are timid. But He says, "Fear not, little flock!"

You are your Shepherd's care. You are His property and His delight. He is always present with you and is omnipotent to defend you. Every perfection of His divine nature is employed for you and He has never lost one of His charge yet--and He never will!

It was said of Him by the prophet, "He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young!" Isaiah 40:11

He gathers His sheep to His fold. He feeds them in good pasture and restores them when they wander. His CARE of them is incessant. His LOVE to them passes knowledge, and the provision He has made for them is suitable and abundant.

Beloved, let us know our Shepherd. Let us listen to His voice. Let us keep close to His side. Let us feed and rest among His sheep. Let us exercise confidence in His kindness and care.

Let us banish our fears, for why should we be alarmed? Let us cast all our concerns and cares upon the good Shepherd.

- James Smith