Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's Thursday, Number 30 2nd July, 2015

NUMBER 30

Thursday 2nd July 2015

'The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.,' Genesis 39:5.
Having been sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph found himself in Egypt and was purchased by the captain of the guard to Pharaoh, a man named Potiphar. Although he could have had a far worse master, Joseph undoubtedly was not where he would wish to be. Yet we read, 'the Lord was with Joseph,' (vs 2). Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation and wonder why God has allowed it, or why he does not rescue us from it. We can so easily assume that if God was really with us he would not have allowed us to suffer so and as a result might think he has left us.

The fact is, to achieve his purposes through us, he might well take us though dark and unpleasant experiences. Joseph could so easily become bitter or morose with self-pity, but he didn't. From what we read he trusted God and made it his business to let his light shine, whatever his situation. He focused on being a blessing. And 'his master saw that the Lord was with him,' verse 3. Are those around us always aware that the Lord is with us in our attitude, our words and our actions I wonder? Potiphar was blessed as a result of having Joseph in his home.

I am reminded of that young Israelite girl that the Syrians took captive and was made to serve the wife of Naaman, (2 Kings 5:1-3). The Syrians probably killed her parents when they took her captive. She might have had every reason to feel bitter towards her nation's enemies, yet she made herself a blessing to that household. Someone else might well have taken delight at seeing the one responsible for their suffering suffer too. But that young girl was full of compassion for Naaman even though, as the commander of the king's army, he was ultimately responsible for her situation.


When life is just not fair, when we are badly treated or put in a situation we would rather not be in, may we not be focused on the injustice of it all, but seek out how God might use us to be a blessing there. It may well be that God deliberately placed us there for that very purpose. 

God bless you all.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Paul Harvey - If I Were The Devil...






And now, for the rest of the story.... - If I Were The Devil!

I'm Paul Harvey, Good day!

Monday, June 29, 2015

They have no standard of right and wrong - and do not speak for the masses!


Archbishop Fulton Sheen:
“The millions of the world who keep their fingers on the pulse of public opinion and follow every theory, every vogue, every panacea, every popular immorality, and who approve the appointment of every anti-moral educator, have no standard of right and wrong.

A thing cannot measure itself: A tape measure must be outside the cloth; a speedometer must not be a brick in the roadway; a judge must not be a shareholder in the corporation whose cause he judges.

In like manner the judgment of the world must be from outside the world. Such a standard is the need of the hour — an authority that does not, like some politician, find out what the people want and then give it to them, but which gives them what is true and good whether it is popular or not.

We need someone to be healthy when the world is sick; someone to be a stretcher-bearer when the battlefields are freighted with wounded; someone to be calm when the house is burning; someone to be right when the world is wrong, as on Easter when they who slew the Foe lost the day.”


“Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not. The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational.”
CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS

“Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS

“The Constitution itself says nothing about marriage, and the Framers thereby entrusted the States with “[t]he whole subject of the domestic relations of husband and wife.”
CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS

Marriage was defined by God. No man can redefine it. We will defend our religious liberties
Greg Abbott

Official statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling. It reads as follows:
“The Supreme Court has abandoned its role as an impartial judicial arbiter and has become an unelected nine-member legislature. Five justices on the Supreme Court have imposed on the entire country their personal views on an issue that the Constitution and the Court’s previous decisions reserve to the people of the States.
Despite the Supreme Court’s rulings, Texans’ fundamental right to religious liberty remains protected. No Texan is required by the Supreme Court’s decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage.
The Texas Constitution guarantees that ‘[n]o human authority ought, in any case whatsoever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion.’ The FirstAmendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion; and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, combined with the newly enacted Pastor Protection Act, provide robust legal protections to Texans whose faith commands them to adhere to the traditional understanding of marriage.

…. I will be issuing a directive to state agencies instructing them to prioritize the protection of Texans’ religious liberties.”

Sunday, June 28, 2015

When I Look into Your Holiness

Moira Wilson - Recording Session
The first person you'll meet if visiting the Govan Citadel Corps in Glasgow Scotland is the Corps' gracious Sargent Major, Moira Wilson. In addition to being a key member of the church's leadership team, and she is also a member of the 40 member Songster Brigade (choir). Moira's family, husband and children, are all faithful and valuable members of the corps' musical sections.








More solos sung by Moira will follow in the weeks ahead-

Saturday, June 27, 2015


A  Wesleyan View of  Homosexuality
Preamble

The issue of homosexuality is prompting increasingly intense debate in virtually all sectors of our society. It’s a debate that is being held in the halls of government, as legislators try to define what marriage is, and what rights and protections should be given to homosexual citizens. It’s a debate that is being held in public school systems, as teachers and administrators make determinations about hiring practices and what should be taught to children about homosexuality. It’s a debate that is being held in corporate boardrooms, as executives decide about extending health care benefits to gay partners. It’s a debate that is being held in more of our homes, as increasing numbers of friends and family members and neighbors admit their involvement in same-sex relationships and we try to discern how to respond. And it’s a debate that is being held in many denominations and churches-some of them nearing the point of splitting apart-over the question of whether homosexuality should be affirmed in the church and practicing homosexuals should be ordained into Christian ministry. Our culture is deeply divided on many levels about the homosexuality question, with one end of the spectrum populated by gay activists who hold parades and demand unqualified acceptance of all homosexual activities. At the other end of the spectrum are the people who attend those parades and wave banners that boldly proclaim “God hates gays.” On both sides, feelings are intense, passions are strong, and ugliness and hatred often emerge.

Where does The Wesleyan Church stand on this challenging and complex contemporary issue?* 

Is homosexuality activity a legitimate alternative lifestyle that we as Wesleyans can embrace? Or is it a sin that distorts God’s purposes and is prohibited by His Word? What should be our response to this issue in our contemporary context?
Scriptural Basis
It is the historic and sustained conviction of The Wesleyan Church that homosexual activity is contrary to the known will of God as revealed to us in the Bible. While numerous biblical passages can be cited to support this view, we believe the strongest biblical argument against homosexual activity comes from the account of creation (Genesis 1-2). When Jesus was asked His opinion about divorce, He took His listeners back to the beginning and used the creation as a means for teaching them God’s purposes (Matthew 19:4-6). God’s intentions could be discerned from the way God created things. In a similar way, we believe that the biblical account of creation is highly instructive as we sort through the complexities of the homosexual debate. From that account, we learn the following key truths about human sexuality:
We learn that we are created male and female, and that male and female together reflect the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

We learn that it is through the relationship between a man and a woman that human beings can be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28).

We learn that man and woman were created for one another, and that it is God’s intention that a man and a woman become one flesh.

God’s plan for us is revealed in our design, and the book of Genesis shows unmistakably that God has designed our bodies for heterosexual relationships. Even an elementary school understanding of basic biology affirms this view. God’s majestic creation of human beings in His own image, male and female, shows us that homosexual activity is a use of our bodies that rejects God’s original intention and design.

From Genesis onward, the Bible affirms this understanding. Whenever the Bible talks about God’s plan for marriage and sexual fulfillment, it is always and only within the context of a heterosexual marriage (e.g., Mark 10:1-12, Ephesians 5:21-33). Whenever Jesus spoke of marriage, He spoke of a man and a woman. The entire book of the Song of Solomon is a tribute to the beauty of heterosexual love. And several passages explicitly mention homosexual activity as among those behaviors that perverts God’s plan (1 Corinthians 6:9, Romans 1:26-27, Genesis 19). The Wesleyan Church acknowledges that there are Christians who come to a different conclusion, but it seems to us that the overwhelming preponderance of biblical evidence points to the fact that God’s plan is one man and one woman for one lifetime. We take this stand not because we are homophobic or intolerant or narrow-minded, but because we are committed to following the teachings of the Bible about marriage and family and human sexuality, even when those teachings run counter to prevailing cultural norms.

Some will object to this position based on their claim that people seem to be born with their sexual orientation. The objection amounts to a different kind of appeal to the created order: “If God made homosexuals the way they are, how can it be wrong?” Some Christians respond to this objection by simply asserting that the homosexual orientation is not a genetic or biological predisposition, but rather a personal choice. The Wesleyan Church believes that the causes of homosexuality are likely not as simple as either of those explanations. The truth is that we do not yet have final answers on the causes of homosexuality, and that there are probably different causes for different people, and that often the cause is a combination of factors.

However, the uncertainty and complexity surrounding the root causes of homosexuality do not in any way undermine or compromise our position that homosexual behavior is outside the will of God. Not all inborn traits are good ones. Not all behavior patterns we learn from our families or childhood trauma are desirable. Just as alcohol abuse or rage or any number of destructive behavior patterns might stem from a variety of causes and yet we still hold people to a biblical standard of behavior, we do the same with the issue of homosexuality. We humbly acknowledge the uncertainty around its causes, yet we unashamedly insist that by the grace of God we are still called and empowered to live in compliance with God’s will and purposes as revealed in Scripture.

The Statement
This leads to an important distinction that we call on all Wesleyans to understand and remember in their thinking about this topic. The sin of homosexuality is about the behavior;1 it is not about the orientation or the desire or the temptation. We are all tempted in many ways-some of us to greed or pride or envy or self-righteousness. Jesus himself was tempted! And the temptation itself is not sin; sin comes only when a person yields to that temptation and engages in the sinful behavior or attitude (1 Corinthians 10:13, James 1:13-15). The same is true of homosexuality. The temptation or desire (or “orientation”) to find sexual fulfillment with members of the same sex is not sin any more than any other temptation is sin; homosexuality becomes sin only when that desire is acted on through homosexual lust or behavior. We certainly believe as Wesleyans that people with a homosexual orientation can be healed of that orientation and become heterosexuals, yet we also believe that those who are not freed of the orientation can be obedient to Christ by abstaining from homosexual practices and living in sexual purity.

As The Wesleyan Church seeks to respond to the homosexual issue and (more importantly) to homosexual individuals, we look to Jesus as our example. Just as He responded to the woman caught in the act of adultery with these words: “. . . then neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11), so we call on Wesleyans to respond to the homosexual community with both boundless compassion and a call to biblical standards of sexual morality. We do not, cannot, and will not endorse homosexual activity as a lifestyle; just as we cannot, do not, and will not endorse all other kinds of behaviors that displease God. But we also do not, cannot, and will not endorse condemning, hate-filled, self-righteous attitudes toward those in the gay community. This type of attitude, all too common among evangelical Christians, serves only to drive people farther away from the God who loves them and the community where they can find Him. Jesus was known as a “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34), and so we invite Wesleyans to reflect His heart to all persons who are far from God, including those in the gay community. We will not compromise biblical truth and we will not endorse homosexual activity, but we encourage our churches to be the kinds of communities where a homosexual person can feel wanted and loved and valued and where they can be introduced to the love of Christ and nurtured in Him. We require our churches to hold unashamedly to the biblical teaching against homosexual behavior, but we also ask our churches to provide generously the sort of teaching, support, ministry, counseling, and hospitality that can be used by God to bring His redemptive love to those who need it most. The Wesleyan Church is populated by sinners who have acknowledged their need of God and are being transformed and renewed by Him; we reach out and welcome anyone who is seeking that same transforming grace to be at work in their lives as well.
____________________



THE WESLEYAN CHURCH: Response to 2015 Supreme Court ruling

Response to 2015 Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

A Wesleyan View of Homosexuality
Preamble
The issue of homosexuality is prompting increasingly intense debate in virtually all sectors of our society. It’s a debate that is being held in the halls of government, as legislators try to define what marriage is, and what rights and protections should be given to homosexual citizens. It’s a debate that is being held in public school systems, as teachers and administrators make determinations about hiring practices and what should be taught to children about homosexuality. It’s a debate that is being held in corporate boardrooms, as executives decide about extending health care benefits to gay partners. It’s a debate that is being held in more of our homes, as increasing numbers of friends and family members and neighbors admit their involvement in same-sex relationships and we try to discern how to respond. And it’s a debate that is being held in many denominations and churches-some of them nearing the point of splitting apart-over the question of whether homosexuality should be affirmed in the church and practicing homosexuals should be ordained into Christian ministry. Our culture is deeply divided on many levels about the homosexuality question, with one end of the spectrum populated by gay activists who hold parades and demand unqualified acceptance of all homosexual activities. At the other end of the spectrum are the people who attend those parades and wave banners that boldly proclaim “God hates gays.” On both sides, feelings are intense, passions are strong, and ugliness and hatred often emerge.
Where does The Wesleyan Church stand on this challenging and complex contemporary issue?* Is homosexuality activity a legitimate alternative lifestyle that we as Wesleyans can embrace? Or is it a sin that distorts God’s purposes and is prohibited by His Word? What should be our response to this issue in our contemporary context?
Scriptural Basis
It is the historic and sustained conviction of The Wesleyan Church that homosexual activity is contrary to the known will of God as revealed to us in the Bible. While numerous biblical passages can be cited to support this view, we believe the strongest biblical argument against homosexual activity comes from the account of creation (Genesis 1-2). When Jesus was asked His opinion about divorce, He took His listeners back to the beginning and used the creation as a means for teaching them God’s purposes (Matthew 19:4-6). God’s intentions could be discerned from the way God created things. In a similar way, we believe that the biblical account of creation is highly instructive as we sort through the complexities of the homosexual debate. From that account, we learn the following key truths about human sexuality:
We learn that we are created male and female, and that male and female together reflect the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
We learn that it is through the relationship between a man and a woman that human beings can be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28).
We learn that man and woman were created for one another, and that it is God’s intention that a man and a woman become one flesh.
God’s plan for us is revealed in our design, and the book of Genesis shows unmistakably that God has designed our bodies for heterosexual relationships. Even an elementary school understanding of basic biology affirms this view. God’s majestic creation of human beings in His own image, male and female, shows us that homosexual activity is a use of our bodies that rejects God’s original intention and design.
From Genesis onward, the Bible affirms this understanding. Whenever the Bible talks about God’s plan for marriage and sexual fulfillment, it is always and only within the context of a heterosexual marriage (e.g., Mark 10:1-12, Ephesians 5:21-33). Whenever Jesus spoke of marriage, He spoke of a man and a woman. The entire book of the Song of Solomon is a tribute to the beauty of heterosexual love. And several passages explicitly mention homosexual activity as among those behaviors that perverts God’s plan (1 Corinthians 6:9, Romans 1:26-27, Genesis 19). The Wesleyan Church acknowledges that there are Christians who come to a different conclusion, but it seems to us that the overwhelming preponderance of biblical evidence points to the fact that God’s plan is one man and one woman for one lifetime. We take this stand not because we are homophobic or intolerant or narrow-minded, but because we are committed to following the teachings of the Bible about marriage and family and human sexuality, even when those teachings run counter to prevailing cultural norms.
Some will object to this position based on their claim that people seem to be born with their sexual orientation. The objection amounts to a different kind of appeal to the created order: “If God made homosexuals the way they are, how can it be wrong?” Some Christians respond to this objection by simply asserting that the homosexual orientation is not a genetic or biological predisposition, but rather a personal choice. The Wesleyan Church believes that the causes of homosexuality are likely not as simple as either of those explanations. The truth is that we do not yet have final answers on the causes of homosexuality, and that there are probably different causes for different people, and that often the cause is a combination of factors.
However, the uncertainty and complexity surrounding the root causes of homosexuality do not in any way undermine or compromise our position that homosexual behavior is outside the will of God. Not all inborn traits are good ones. Not all behavior patterns we learn from our families or childhood trauma are desirable. Just as alcohol abuse or rage or any number of destructive behavior patterns might stem from a variety of causes and yet we still hold people to a biblical standard of behavior, we do the same with the issue of homosexuality. We humbly acknowledge the uncertainty around its causes, yet we unashamedly insist that by the grace of God we are still called and empowered to live in compliance with God’s will and purposes as revealed in Scripture.
The Statement
This leads to an important distinction that we call on all Wesleyans to understand and remember in their thinking about this topic. The sin of homosexuality is about the behavior;1 it is not about the orientation or the desire or the temptation. We are all tempted in many ways-some of us to greed or pride or envy or self-righteousness. Jesus himself was tempted! And the temptation itself is not sin; sin comes only when a person yields to that temptation and engages in the sinful behavior or attitude (1 Corinthians 10:13, James 1:13-15). The same is true of homosexuality. The temptation or desire (or “orientation”) to find sexual fulfillment with members of the same sex is not sin any more than any other temptation is sin; homosexuality becomes sin only when that desire is acted on through homosexual lust or behavior. We certainly believe as Wesleyans that people with a homosexual orientation can be healed of that orientation and become heterosexuals, yet we also believe that those who are not freed of the orientation can be obedient to Christ by abstaining from homosexual practices and living in sexual purity.
As The Wesleyan Church seeks to respond to the homosexual issue and (more importantly) to homosexual individuals, we look to Jesus as our example. Just as He responded to the woman caught in the act of adultery with these words: “. . . then neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11), so we call on Wesleyans to respond to the homosexual community with both boundless compassion and a call to biblical standards of sexual morality. We do not, cannot, and will not endorse homosexual activity as a lifestyle; just as we cannot, do not, and will not endorse all other kinds of behaviors that displease God. But we also do not, cannot, and will not endorse condemning, hate-filled, self-righteous attitudes toward those in the gay community. This type of attitude, all too common among evangelical Christians, serves only to drive people farther away from the God who loves them and the community where they can find Him. Jesus was known as a “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34), and so we invite Wesleyans to reflect His heart to all persons who are far from God, including those in the gay community. We will not compromise biblical truth and we will not endorse homosexual activity, but we encourage our churches to be the kinds of communities where a homosexual person can feel wanted and loved and valued and where they can be introduced to the love of Christ and nurtured in Him. We require our churches to hold unashamedly to the biblical teaching against homosexual behavior, but we also ask our churches to provide generously the sort of teaching, support, ministry, counseling, and hospitality that can be used by God to bring His redemptive love to those who need it most. The Wesleyan Church is populated by sinners who have acknowledged their need of God and are being transformed and renewed by Him; we reach out and welcome anyone who is seeking that same transforming grace to be at work in their lives as well.
____________________
1 “Sexual relationships outside of marriage and sexual relationships between persons of the same sex are immoral and sinful. The depth of the sinfulness of homosexual practice is recognized, and yet we believe the grace of God sufficient to overcome both the practice of such activity and the perversion leading to its practice.” (Discipline 410:5. Emphasis added.)

*************************


 The US Supreme Court has issued a ruling in the same-sex marriage cases that are grouped as "Obergefell v. Hodges." The central issue, whether every state must allow same-sex couples to be legally married, has been answered in the affirmative.

The Wesleyan Church has long held and continues to believe that marriage is an institution created by God and must be between one man and one woman. As recently as 2004, the General Conference voted unanimously by ballot vote, affirming the Church's position that marriage is between one man and one woman. Other, even more recent affirming actions have been taken.

The United States and western culture have been undergoing a seismic shift in their perception of same-sex marriage in recent years. The church must be keenly aware of the cultural context for ministry and be willing to change, adapt, and stay relevant in matters of non-essentials. However, it must never sacrifice or compromise clear biblical truth. The church will always be a prophetic, counter-cultural voice offering Jesus Christ and his way of life and hope in exchange for the ways of the world.

The Wesleyan Church, out of love for others, works to see God's word and his way more broadly understood and accepted in the world. We believe that God's way is better for anyone and will result in greater peace, love, joy, and hope in this life and in the life to come. However, we do not seek to have our view imposed on others, but merely be able to practice our faith with consistency and provide service to society in a way that reflects our deeply held beliefs. In the United States, the first amendment of the Constitution gives protection to religions and their adherents as they teach their beliefs, such as the conviction that same-sex marriage is not to be condoned. Even the majority opinion in the Supreme Court ruling specifically affirms those rights and those protections.

In the wake of the ruling, we continue to urge public officials and courts to uphold public justice and respect religious exercise and conscience for individuals or organizations who find themselves in conflict with legal requirements.


The church is compelled by the love of Christ to care about all people. When we function and minister, peaceably, in the context of our religious convictions that we believe are healthy, true, and according to God's plan, it is not just for ourselves. It is out of caring for everyone, including generations not yet born. When our stance becomes less popular in a society that is, in some ways, moving farther from God, love does not let us withdraw. It is out of love toward those who may think us enemies that we stand for what we genuinely believe is best for all.