Posts Tagged ‘john 3v16’

For God So Loved the People of France, that He gave His only Begotten Son…

December 3, 2014

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“Car Dieu a tant aimé le monde qu’il a donné son Fils unique, afin que quiconque croit en lui ne périsse point, mais qu’il ait la vie éternelle.” (John 3v16)

As my daughter has been in France for a while now, I have been studying with interest the current state of religion in this country. When travelling I like to take the opportunity to distribute my handcrafted “John 3v16” bookmarks, as well as tracts in the language of the country, where possible. Wikopedia informs me that “France is a country where freedom of religion and freedom of thought are guaranteed by virtue of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The Republic is based on the principle of laïcité (or “freedom of conscience”) enforced by the 1880s Jules Ferry laws and the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State. Roman Catholicism, the religion of the majority of French people, is no longer the state religion that it was before the 1789 Revolution and throughout the various, non-republican regimes of the 19th century (the Restoration, the July Monarchy and the Second French Empire).”

To the visitor France would appear to be a most secular country these days but although Roman Catholicism is the religion of the nominal Christian majority, Islam is fast catching up, with converts to Islam said to number as many as 200,000, while most of the immigrant population in France are Muslim. By 2011 there were 2000 mosques in France; today the number is steadily growing and it is reported that Muslims in France have the highest percentage in the population when compared with all other European countries.

In Marseilles, where my daughter lived for some time, nearly half of the population are now Muslim immigrants and unfortunately violence, riots and other serious crime have taken their toll here, just as recent riots and car burnings in Paris have created similar chaos.

There are many other religions and cults in France, with Jehovah’s Witnesses being high on the list of the main small religious minorities. However, as is the case in many countries throughout the world, sound Evangelical Christian fellowships and churches are sadly few and far between.

Today the residents of France (whether immigrant or native) desperately need to know the Lord as Saviour. It is reported that 80% of French people have never owned or even seen a Bible

Please pray for the people of France, that country where Huguenots took their stand all those years ago. In what is known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, during the period of 24th August – 3rd October 1572, Roman Catholics killed thousands of Huguenots in Paris, while many massacres took place in other towns and cities such as Bordeaux, Bourges, Lyon, Rouen and Toulouse. Many Huguenots escaped to the British Isles, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Dutch Republic, South Africa and North America and today their descendants can trace their roots back to those early days in France.

For Christians visiting the country it is good to have in your possession some Christian literature or tracts in the French language. The message to the French people as to the rest of the world is clear:

“Ils dirent: crois au Seigneur Jėsus-Christ; et tu seras sauvé, toi et la maison.” (Acts 16v31)

(“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”)

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Beautiful Free Bookmarks with John 3 Verse 16 in many Languages of the World

April 18, 2012

It has been estimated that there are at least 6909 living languages in the world today – how amazing! I am uncertain about whether the Bible has been even partially translated into most of these but surely one verse which the souls of the world must hear is the lovely John 3v16… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Originally I used to make bookmarks as a little complimentary gift to go with my books but in recent years I have felt fulfilment in making and distributing colourful bookmarks with John 3v16 depicted on them in different languages too. Translations of John 3v16 in many languages of the world can be downloaded, printed and then pasted to colourful card or old gardening magazines. I cut these into bookmark form, laminate them and then hand them out as free gifts to those I meet on my travels.

Two years ago my bookmarks were almost confiscated by airport security, supposedly because laminated articles are sharp and can be used as weapons! After that incident I decided that the best place for them was to be safely stored in luggage that goes in the hold. So far I have made and distributed bookmarks in Greek, Albanian, Chinese (Mandarin), Polish, Irish – and English of course. Just recently I was speaking to a missionary friend who will be travelling back to her work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, so I have decided to send her some gift bookmarks with John 3v16 in Swahili, which is the main language there. (However, I have now discovered that there is more than one dialect in Swahili!)

It is interesting also to note that there are many languages in the world which are only spoken – but have never been written. How faithful we need to be in our prayer for those who have never heard! Surely the Lord can reach into hearts with His convicting Spirit, whether on remote mountains, or in equatorial forests or in crowded city slums, so that souls for whom Jesus died would know the cure for the sin which all of mankind has inherited?

Here in the Republic of Ireland we have had an influx of people from many nations of the world in recent years. I have the opportunity to give bookmarks to Chinese people in their restaurants and to the many people from Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and even Russia, although many of these speak English anyway. I feel led to reach people from Muslim backgrounds too, although their religion forbids them to accept any other system of belief. However, as regards the recently handmade bookmarks in Arabic in my possession, I feel certain that the Lord will provide an outlet for these.

I am fascinated by languages with their different lettering systems and also the fact that even one small country can have multiple dialects. Sometimes when my personal concerns rush in to crush me, I remind myself of that vast world out there and its billions of souls for whom the Lord laid down His life. You and I, as individuals, are seemingly so insignificant in the midst of it all – but He knows each one of us intimately; even to the point where each of the hairs on our head is numbered! (Luke 12v7)

“For God so loved the world, (Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Bulgarian, Arabic, Armenian, Russian, Haitian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Greek, Irish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean (north and south), Maori, Portuguese, Romanian, Punjabi, Swahili, Sakata….) that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Can Anders Behring Breivik be forgiven?

July 28, 2011

He has been described as a “Christian Fundamentalist” but this young man is no follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1John3v7-12) In the aftermath of last week’s horrific events, journalists and others are analysing his motives, background, up-bringing and his psychological make-up – but I wonder will anyone tell him that he needs to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation?

“Why should he get the chance to get right with God?” Many may say. “And how can God ever forgive someone for such a heinous and despicable crime?”

Today I pray for the parents and loved ones of all those (mostly young) people who were killed. As a mother myself, I cannot even begin to imagine the agony that they are going through. I pray also, that those who have been injured will recover successfully and I also pray that no other person out there with a mindset like Breivik’s will adopt his techniques and do the horrific things that he has done.

But today I find that I must also pray for Anders Behring Breivik himself, as he is presently in solitary confinement and thankfully has not been given the opportunity to unleash his rhetoric to the world. I pray that he will somehow come to see the depravity and depths of evil to which he has sunk and that when he is confronted with this, as a broken man he will truly repent and put his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Few have ever sunk to the depths of depravity that this man has sunk to, yet it is a fact that we all have sinned at some time or other. (Rom. 3v23)

Jesus died for your sins, for my sins – and yes, for the sins of Anders Behring Breivik.. “And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2v2)

And so, as he sits alone in that cell, reflecting on these things, I pray that the Lord will speak to the heart of Breivik, resulting in his brokenness, repentance and salvation. Yes, he will have to take the consequences for what he has done, for we reap what we sow. But can Breivik truly be forgiven by God? The answer is – yes, it is possible. God’s message to Breivik tonight is: “For så har Gud elsket verden at han gav sin Sønn, den enbårne, forat hver den som tror på ham, ikke skal fortapes, men ha evig liv;” (John 3v16 in Norwegian)

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk , even as he walked.” (1John 1v3-6)

I thank God that whether our sins have been small or great in the eyes of the world, He can perform that miracle in our lives, whereby in His strength we can keep His commandments. And I thank God for His great forgiveness and for the strength that He gives to enable us to “walk, even as He walked.”

Tonight I also reflect on another Norwegian – Matias Orheim (1884 -1958), who left an outstanding legacy of poems, music and spiritual songs. A farmer’s son, he came to know the Lord in 1900 and although he was blind, Matias was a prolific writer and composer; his wife died just a few hours after him. In his hymn: “I found my God in Early Years,” which is translated from Norwegian, Matias Orheim describes throughout his great joy in his salvation. This is the first verse…

“I found my God in early years,

He wept away my sins, my tears.

It was my best decision.

He filled my life with love and awe,

And I in light God’s Kingdom saw,

How wonderful a vision!”

My prayer today is that young (and older) people in Norway and throughout this sin-stricken world would accept the gift of spiritual vision that was given to the physically blind Matias Orheim. Oh, that they would find the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved each one of them and gave Himself for them.

Link to this hymn: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/i/f/o/ifoundmg.htm

My Recent Visit to Albania

August 21, 2010

Albania… In the 1970’s the very mention of its name conjured up images in my mind of a forsaken, mysterious land where worship of God was forbidden. I am old enough to remember Albania as it was during that dark era when it was declared an atheist state, the first of its kind in the world. This was the era of Enver Hoxha’s regime and this was an era when tourists were not normally welcomed to Albania’s shores, perhaps because of the influence that they might have had. I remember reading about the experience of one traveller back then who somehow managed to get across the border, only to be confronted with a cold sign in a railway station which simply read: “There is no God.”

This immediately brings to mind the words of Psalm 14v1… “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…” How marvellous that dictatorships and regimes may come and go upon this earth – “but the word of the Lord endureth forever.” (1Pet. 1v25) And His Spirit is not subject to the will and restraining influences of mankind!

This summer I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit Albania for the very first time. At the first faint view of its shores across the sparkling sea, I smiled with delight. After all these years of wishing for the opportunity, at last my dream had come true! As our ferry approached the Port of Sarandё, I took in the pastel-coloured apartments and a lovely stretch of sandy beach with parasols, where Albanians were sunbathing.

Once we had boarded the coach which would take us to the archaeological centre of Butrint, however, I could see clearly that here was a country in transition. Our Albanian guide apologised for the state of the unsurfaced road… “The government said it would be finished in June,” he said, and then added jokingly… “but they didn’t say which year!” And so, after a rough sea journey, I was again feeling a little ‘on the wobbly side,’ as the coach dipped up and down through potholes and giant craters on the unsurfaced roads. At one point I noticed the strange sight of a lone bullock with a bell around its neck walking ahead of us on the terrible road. ‘Poor thing,’ I thought as I observed the bones protruding from its back. Strangely there were many half-erected dwelling places en route, which looked like the ‘leaning tower of Pisa.’ “They’ve been asked to pull those down again,” explained the guide, “they didn’t really have permission.” My fellow travellers nodded silently and raised their eyebrows.

On our arrival at the beautiful area of Butrint, I admired the nearby lake, where a lone fisherman sat in his boat. I loved the atmosphere of this historical place which reminded me, in a sense of my own native Ireland. As we descended from the coach little children ran to us with lovely handmade colourful bracelets at €1 each, while hanging from the branches of nearby trees were more handcrafted articles for sale. The archaeological area of Butrint, our guide told us, was inhabited in prehistoric times and there was once Roman colony there. As we followed him around this place where history had left its indelible mark, I thought about the Roman Empire and the Apostle Paul… Hadn’t my recent reading in Romans 15 shown how Paul had preached the gospel from Jerusalem to Illyricum and hadn’t I discovered that Illyricum was in ancient Albania?

We returned from the archaeological centre along the rocky road where a pleasant meal was waiting for us in a hotel in Sarandё and then we had just a short time of freedom to explore some of the nearby streets. I had so many of my free handcrafted bookmarks (with John 3v16 inserted in Albanian) to give out – and so little time to do it! It was rewarding, that particular experience, and I will never forget the gratitude (for the most part) of those who received them.

I would ask prayer for the souls of Albania, which today consists of 70% Muslim, 20% Albanian Orthodox, a small number of Roman Catholics – and an even smaller number of Evangelical Christians. May Albania’s men, women and lovely little children awake to the good news that the Lord Jesus Christ has come to give them life – and life that is more abundant! (John 10v10)