|B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER #200
I Cor.. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’
September 15, 2011
– News of Victory – Pastor D. Paul, the head of the BELC of India, wrote “We would like to inform you that Pastor Selvam of Chittoor Districtfaced sudden death by an heart attack . He had served with wife aged 74, and histwo sons aged 40and 45 years,both were married. He had went to the Lord’s home on August 5th 2011. His widow’s name is Pattamma.” It is not death to die in the Lord.
Release from Prison – Pastor Yumba of the Congo who works in Zambia also wrote,
“Receive our greeting ‘s in the Lord, we are taking time to thank you for your prayers of every day concerning those who are in difficulties and need patience. It is for informing you the leaving of sister in Christ MATY in prison in Zambia in the month of the last July. She is at the moment in Lubumbashi in rest until when she will give birth. The Lord GOD all mighty be glorified for His having accepted our prayers.
Pastor YUMBA” You might remember from a previous news that she was imprisoned unjustly and consequently it was a suffering for the Lord. He does all things well. Thank Him in every circumstance. “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer nd supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Phil. 4:6
The White Flower
The meadow was filled with luxurious growth though beset also with thorn-bushes and thistles. Amidst that verdant field were many different flowers. Some gave off a cloying sweet smell that might appeal to some. In appeal to others there were flowers with a strong, brutish manly scent. Any one with any taste could truly find a flower in that wide field that appealed to him, All tastes could be satisfied. Wanderers through this meadow could find what each personally preferred
But there was one flower that stood out for me. It drew me not because it was taller than the others or on a stronger plant that bore the flower. It was the flower itself. Other blossoms in this field appeared to be white when the viewer was at a distance. But upon closely approaching each in turn the result was the same. They failed of being truly white. When a close inspection was made of each, the petals showed the wear and tear of wind and rain and sun. But the White Flower that drew me was different. It was whiter than the snow’s first fall. There was no ravaging of time that dimmed its shining clean luster. Despite clime and time the petals retained their white cleanness.The other flowers would each in turn die and need to have a new bud and blossom and showing forth. But the White Flower retained its beauty continuously untainted.
And the aroma, ah yes, that is the second thing of sublime note that distinguishes it from all the other flowers. Though in the midst of the meadow with all the others, it was set apart by that captivating fragrance. To intake that scent was to have new life breathed into a tired body. No matter where I walked in that broad meadow its scent was with me. It became in a blissful sense a part of me. It was not merely that my garments absorbed the fragrance. My garments could be washed in the stream, but the scent was still my own. When I first breathed it in it was intoxicating though not like that offered in this world. It was an other worldly fragrance that this White Flower gave off, though it was planted here in this world’s meadow for my lasting delight.
Beyond the present mission work among our sister churches in the countries where churches are established work is being done in the following that we can all pray about:
- Zambia – Pastor Yumba and Ev. Karioki report work in two areas.
- Benin – Pastor Eric of the NCLC has gone across the border from Nigeria and is working at a congregation to have them Lutheran in teaching.
- Southern Sudan – Pastor Panpani of Kenya has returned from establishing work at two stations in this country.
All these are in Africa which reminds us of how Christianity is spreading in that continent. Praise the Lord!
—Malaysia – Pastor Rajamani of the BELC, India is planning a trip to visit contacts. Pray for fruitful contacts. ———————————————————————————————————————————————-
A LESSON FROM THE PALM TREE
One can readily recall the words of Exodus 15:27 which reads, “And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and three-score and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.” Think what a wonderful sight a grove of palms must be to the wary and thirsty traveler on the desert! These trees not only mean shelter from the blistering sun, but water to slake the thirst. Palms grow where there is water, and they send down their trap roots to water. Thus this tree is never without its testimony.
Those familiar with this most famous of all Bible trees know that it Bears Fruit in Old Age. The palm never stops bearing fruit, even though it grows to a very old age. The 14th verse of Psalm 92 states, “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age.” The tree is never on the retired list. Too many of us are retired Christians. We get to the place where we imagine we have done our share, so someone else can take over and carry on the work. Recall the spirit of the old pioneers of Tombstone, who were willing to die with their boots on, working and toiling to the very last. Just as the palm grows for the ages, so should it be with all the children of God. We are not shrubs, but trees. “He shall be like a tree”—that which abides.
Who among us is not familiar with the fact that Branches Are Symbols of Victory. In Revelation 7:9. the Apostle John caught the vision of the mighty multitude which no man could number, standing “before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” There were they who had come out of great tribulation, and victory was theirs in the presence of their Lord. It was a time of rejoicing. Are we symbols of victory? Do men look at us and see some blessed evidence of the power of God operative in our lives? Or must they behold evidences of defeat? God forbid!
I exhort you, be a palm-tree Christian, the praise and glory of His grace. What a blessing we can be to others by living the upright palm tree life!
At the outset of this study the tone is set by the Word unmistakably. This is not just lip service, but heart and soul commitment. Since God is the author of Scripture (IIPet. 1:21, II Tim. 3:16), we listen attentively. He is not a God of confusion and disorder, but of peace. We cannot dismantle Scripture (Jn. 10:35), for it is His Word to be taken in its truthful entirety. Jn.17: 17 We seek to keep Christ’s commands from His Word because they are our Lord’s. Jn. 15:10 As we study we hold arching over all the principle that ‘Scripture interprets Scripture,’ and that naturally so because the Author explains His book to us. What a blessing to have the touchstone of His own Spirit for us to grasp and hold the truth. I Cor. 2:13
In considering ‘customs’ we remember that if it is commanded or forbidden in Scripture we abide by that. When we deal with customs, these are things that change with time. By understanding customs of certain times we are better able to understand narratives in the Word. If we do or do not practice certain customs, that are not commanded, then we exercize our Christian freedom that God has given us. We are further guided by love. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Gal. 5:13-14
“Shake off the dust of your feet…”
In sending out both the twelve and the seventy Jesus said this.“And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.” Mt. 10:14 “But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say,‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’” Lk. 10:10-11
We see what this custom meant with the words “against you.” Mark records Jesus’ words, “for a testimony against them.” Mk. 6:11 When one entered a house there was a washing of the feet in welcome. So a shaking the dust off the feet was recognition of no welcome given and a warning against those who rejected the Word. It is also a point to remember of ‘move on’ to those who will receive the Word.
This shaking off of the dust though is not a sign of something irreversible. It is not a calling down of judgment. In Acts 13:50-51 we learn that at Antioch in Pisidia the Jews incited the people against Paul and Barnabas and stirred up persecution. So Paul and Barnabas, “shook off the dust from their feet against them, and went to Iconium.” After going on to Iconium, Lystra, Derbe they then returned through the same cities where the persecution had been including Antioch. While the main purpose was to strengthen the believers, the city itself had opportunity to hear again the message of grace in Christ. So move on and come back again at an opportune time.
A corresponding incident which means evidently the same thing was at Corinth. When Paul and Silas preached, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus, the Jews opposed and reviled them. So Paul, “shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be upon your heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’” Acts. 18:6 The worship for believers was shifted to the house of Titius Justus. The ‘dust’ was shaken off against the Jews from Paul’s garments. It applied here. Later Paul would still go to synagogues, as at Ephesus