LEAGUE of the CANADIAN REFORMED WOMENS SOCIETIESHORIZON is a quarterly magazine published by the
LEAGUE of the CANADIAN REFORMED WOMEN'S SOCIETIES

VOLUME 13 NO. 3 FEBRUARY 1998

E-mail the Horizon
Shirley Broekema, [email protected]


To the HORIZON Home Page

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Editorial
God's Mercy and Justice
Divine Election and Reprobation
Esau Have I Hated, But Jacob Have I Loved
Enemies of Election
Living Out Of Grace
Poem - First Love
Giving and Receiving Help

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GOD'S MERCY AND JUSTICE (Editorial)

This is the theme of our Horizon. Election and reprobation are golden threads in the fabric of our faith. Those who cross the thread of mans own responsibility with Gods eternal counsel will soon get tangled in a mess of questions.

We must leave those two truths side by side: God is one hundred percent in control, He elects whom He wills, yet at the same time we are fully accountable for our deeds. We are called to faith. Christ's shed blood is enough to cover the sins of all mankind, but those who spurn it are dead already. They stay under God's wrath.

It is not surprising that the doctrine of election is unpopular nowadays. Man likes to be in control, even in control of his eternal destiny. It requires humility to accept that all that we receive - faith, salvation and eternal life - are gifts that we don't deserve or earn. In Gen. 8:2 1, after the flood, we read God's assessment of man's willingness to come to Him: "For every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood." No innocent babies! Psalm 14:1-3 echoes this appraisal:" ...There is no one who does good, not even one." Indeed we must humbly accept the doctrine of divine election. If it were not for God's mercy, none of us would love Him today. However, God uses messengers, be they ministers, missionaries, teachers or mothers, to call the elect. Through the hearing of His Word, faith is worked in the hearts.

Let's praise God's name, and not bark at Him like angry dogs, or wallow in our own sins like swine. Read the rest of our Horizon to see what I mean.

A VanderVen, Editor
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GOD'S MERCY AND JUSTICE

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Genesis 17 and 18

The LORD shows to Abraham and to us today, that He is an Almighty God, capable both of mercy and grave justice. His grace is shown through the renewal of the covenant with Abraham and His justice in the destruction of sinful Sodom.

Sixteen years passed when God finally appeared again to Abraham. Already in His opening words the Lord shows His might: "I am GOD ALMIGHTY" Here is the God who will fulfil His Covenant promise. A God of might and a God of miracles is about to outline to His servant the wonderful way in which He will carry out His promise. Appropriately Abraham falls on his face in humble submission to his Lord.

God's promise consists of four important parts. First, Abraham shall be the father of many nations. Acts 2:37 and Romans 4:11 show Abraham was the father not only of Israel, but of all those who believe, you and me included. Second, the promise is an eternal one. Even the most remote descendants of Abraham shall receive the promise. Third, God promises that all of Canaan shall be the possession of Abraham and his seed. We learn from the epistle to the Hebrews (New Testament!) that Canaan was an earthly land flowing with milk and honey, and that it is also a symbol of heaven itself. That, too, is part of this great promise. Fourth, the Lord promises to be the God of Abraham, his protection and his salvation.

To these four great promises are added the two obligations: 'Walk before me and be blameless" (verse 1), and the requirement of circumcision. The Lord knows that in his weakness man needs visible reminders. With the bloody sign of circumcision the Israelites would be able to see time and again how blood would have to be shed to pay for the sins of mankind. To God's great promises concerning Sarah, Abraham reacts with rejoicing and obedience. The Bible implies that his laughter is the laughter of joy and his next deed is to obey God by having himself and all the males of his household circumcised.

The eight day rule is an indication how serious God is about how we receive His gifts. just like baptism in the new covenant, circumcision was not something that the believer could refuse. Moses met with God's wrath when he fell short in that respect. Zippora had to give his sons the bloody sign!

In chapter 18 we read that God again appears to renew his promises. This time he comes also to encourage the faith of Sarah. We do not know when Abraham realized that the Lord

addressed him. Some imply that he was at first unaware of God's presence, others cite his greeting "Lord if I have found favour in Thy sight" as evidence that he knew right away. Whatever the case, we see in this story a mighty and merciful God who eats and has communion with Abraham, the man He loved. We see this love towards Sarah too, for with a sharp rebuke he makes her ashamed of her sin of disbelief. We know that the Lord's discipline had effect, for we read in Hebrews 11 that Sarah is counted among the faithful, for believing that she would bring forth Isaac.

In the final incident of chapter 18 we again see the close communion between Abraham and God. God allows him into his confidence. But where mercy is shown on the one hand to the Lord's chosen ones, His justice, is as clear on the other. God will destroy the wicked city of Sodom despite Abraham's humble pleas. Abraham worried dig God would punish the godly with the unrighteous He appeals to His justice "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" he asks. But Abraham needn't have worried, for God's righteousness shall always be made manifest. Of this the Lord undoubtedly assured Abraham before sending him bark to his tents.

Author unknown

Attercliffe's Women Society
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ELECTION & REPROBATION

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The first open attack against the church's confession of election dates back as early as approx. 400 A.D. The monk Pelagius then taught that man is born pure, and the only reason why man becomes sinful is through the force of temptation, the power of habits, and the corrupting influence of society around him. This thought is very familiar to us now in a world, which likes to believe in man's innate goodness and ability to make this world into a better place. Augustine was the strongest opponent of Pelagius. He was one of the great leaders of the church. Both the Eastern and Western churches of this time condemned Pelagius, due mainly to the forcefulness of Augustine, but naturally the Pelagian thought has survived through the centuries. Therefore we listen to God's Word on this topic.

The Scriptures speak clearly about this doctrine. Ephesians 1:4,5"... Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. He destined us in love to be His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will." Romans 8: 29, 30 ..."For those whom He fore knew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. And those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified." Romans 9:11 "... Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works, but because of His call..." John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him... " Titus 1: 1 "Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago and at the proper time manifested in His Word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by command of God our Saviour." When studying articles 16 and 17 of our Belgic Confession, we should look at chapter one of the Canons of Dort as well. The two go hand-in-hand. Article 7 of the Canons of Dort gives a very clear and beautiful definition of election. (pg 534 B. of P.)

"Election is the unchangeable purpose of God whereby, before the foundation of the world, out of the whole human race, which had fallen by its own fault of its original integrity into sin and perdition, He has, according to the sovereign good pleasure of His will, out of mere grace, chosen in Christ to salvation a definite number of persons, neither better nor more worthy than others, but with them involved in a common misery."

Reprobation is also described more elaborately in article 15 of chapter one of the Canons of Dort. "Holy Scripture illustrates and recommends to us this eternal and undeserved grace of our election, especially when it further declares that not all men are elect but that some have not been elected, or have been passed by in the eternal election of God. Out of His most free, most just, blameless, and unchangeable good pleasure, God has decreed to leave them in the common misery into which they have by their own fault plunged themselves, and not to give them saving faith and the grace of conversion."

These people "disregard God and the Saviour Jesus Christ and have completely given themselves over to the cares of the world and the lusts of the flesh. For them this doctrine of reprobation is rightly fearsome as long as they are not seriously converted." (pg. 539 B. of P.) Reprobation is indeed the other side of election. Problems arise when people try to make election logical. For example: Why are some chosen and not others? If I am elect, why should I live responsibly'? Why bother to preach the gospel at all if God will call whom He wills? How do you reconcile divine election and human responsibility? Another problem is: Am I really elect, what if I fall away?

This doctrine is only for the believers It's not something one teaches to those who have not yet received faith. Article 16 tells us that because we feel we are not at that 'point on the way of godliness and faith' does not mean we should fear to be reprobate, but rather continue to use the means God provides. God will "not quench the smoking flax or break the bruised reed."

There will always be questions we can never answer or understand until we receive the full revelation of Gods will at the end of times. We should wonder at God's great mercy; be grateful that we are enriched by his mercies and praise God because he comes to us in such marvellous and untraceable ways. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," " says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.." Isaiah 59:8,9. We may only praise God that He has seen fit to save some, for man is so sinful that absolutely none deserve to be saved. As the Canons tell us, The cause or guilt for this unbelief, as PM] as for all other sins, is by no means in God, but rather in man. " Therefore, God is not unfair to leave some m their sinful state, doomed to perdition. That there is reprobation only serves to underline how merciful God is in saving some, and shows that God is indeed a consuming fire' for those who do not come to Him.

Throughout the history of the church there has been much opposition to the doctrine of divine election and reprobation. Although the Belgic Confession was written m 1561 as a statement of the Reformed faith and the Canons of Dort were drawn up later yet to refute the heresies of Arminianism and the Remonstrants, the struggle goes back much further. The first open attack against the Church's confession of election dates back as early as approx. 400 AD. The monk Pelagius taught that man is born pure, and the only reason why he becomes sinful is through the force of temptation, the power of habits, and the corrupting influence of society around him. This idea is actually quite familiar to us who live in a world which likes to believe in man's innate goodness and ability to make this world into a better place.

Augustine, one of the great leaders of the Church, was the strongest opponent of Pelagius. Both the Eastern and Western churches of that time condemned Pelagius, mainly because of the forcefulness of Augustine's defence, but the Pelagian thought has survived through the centuries. Therefore we do well to listen to the teaching of Gods Word m this topic.

The Scriptures speak dearly about this doctrine. I will mention only a few passages. Ephesians 1 : 4, 6: ". . . Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. He destined us in love to be His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will." Romans 8:29,30"... For those whom He fore knew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, m order that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. And those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified." Romans 9: 11: ". . . Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works, but because of His call..."

John 6:44 "... No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.." Titus 1 : 1: ".. . Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth which accords with godliness, m hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago and at the proper time manifested in His Word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by command of God our Saviour."

When studying articles 16 and 17 of our Belgic confession m some depth we should look also at Chapter One of the Canons of Dort The two confessions go hand m hand. CIL I:7 of the Canons of Dort gives a very dear and beautiful definition of election (p.534, Book of Praise) . Election is the unchangeable purpose of God whereby, before the foundation of the world, out of the whole human race, which had fallen by its own fault of its original integrity into sin and perdition, He has, according to the sovereign good pleasure of Its will, out of mere grace, chosen in Christ to salvation a definite number of persons, neither better nor more worthy than others, but with them involved in a common misery."

Reprobation is also described more elaborately in CIL 1:15 of the Canons of Dort. 'Holy Scripture illustrates and recommends to us this eternal and undeserved grace of our election, especially when it further declares that not all men are elect but that some have not been elected, or have been passed by in the eternal election of God. Out of His most free, most just, blameless, and unchangeable good pleasure, God has decreed to leave them m the common misery into which they have by their own fault plunged themselves, and not to give them saving faith and the grace of conversion.

[These people] disregard God and the Saviour Jesus Christ and have completely given themselves over to the cares of the world and the lusts of the flesh. For them this doctrine of reprobation is rightly fearsome as long as they are not seriously converted." (pg. 539 B. of P.)

Reprobation is indeed the other side of election. However, problems arise when people try to make election logical. For example, some may ask these kinds of questions: Why are some chosen and not others? If I am elect, why should I still live responsibly? Why bother to preach the gospel at all if God will call whom He wills? How do you reconcile divine election and human responsibility? Others worry about another problem: Am I really elect? What if I fall away?

This doctrine is only for the believers. It is not something one teaches to those who have not yet received faith. Belgic Confession, Art. 16 tells us that because we feel we are not at that Point on the way of godliness and faith does not mean we should fear to be reprobate, but rather continue to use the means God provides. God will "not quench the smoking flax or break the bruised reed." There will always be questions we can never answer or understand until we receive the full revelation of God's Will at the end of times. We should wonder at God's great mercy. We ought to be grateful that we are enriched by his mercies. We must praise God because he comes to us in such marvellous and untraceable ways. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your wan and my thoughts titan your thoughts" (Isaiah 59:8,9). We may praise God that he has seen fit to save some, for man is so sinful that absolutely none deserve to be saved. As the Canons tell us, "the cause or guilt for this unbelief, as well as for all other sins, is by no means in God, bid rather in man." Therefore, God is not ~ to leave some in their sinful state, doomed to perdition. That there is reprobation only serves to underline how merciful God is in saving some, and it shows that God is indeed a 'consuming fire' or those who do not turn to Him. Election and reprobation show us the greatness of our God, the depths of his mercy and riches. We are shown how terribly ~ and hopeless we are m ourselves. If not for the grace of God, we too would be dead. Therefore we can say with thankfulness, 'Praise be to God alone!" After having seen God's mercy and justness in Art. 16 of the Belgic Confession, we should read Art. 17. It states that after man plunged himself into death God sought him out and comforted him with the promise of His Son who would bruise the head of the serpent and bless man.

In this one sentence so much is said, that we can hardly take it all m. Man has plunged himself into physical and spiritual death. Now his existence will be ~ miserable, full of sorrow and affliction. And when his physical life is done, he will pass on to eternal torment. What a horrifying picture! And yet God, m his endless goodness, came and searched for man and gave him the "mother promise" the heart of the Gospel. Though it was not until God's beloved Son was manifested m the flesh and had suffered and died for us that the full implications of this statement would be known yet man was corn forted from the beginning. The devil's power would be broken. Man could find joy and peace once again m his life. The very trials of life, which naturally would drive man further away from God - war, poverty, bereavement, etc. - now cause God's chosen ones to hold on more tightly to His promises.

A last question: Is BC Art. 17 in conflict with BC Art. 16?, How can God seriously call all men to repent and believe in His great promises, if not all have been elected to eternal life? We will never know why this one is chosen and not that one, but our God knows, Should the clay question the potter? Yet the articles m our Confession do not contradict each other When the gospel is proclaimed there is not just a promise of eternal life, bit also a command to repent and believe The promise and command are inseparable. They come to all man equally, that is as sinners. The fact ~ some do not believe does not mean ~ God's calling is insincere or Christ's sacrifice is insufficient. It is still man's own fault, he stays responsible for his own condemnation. God's elect will only obey the command by grace. Even Arminians, who think that God elects certain people because He foresaw that they would believe, run into the same problem. They still cannot say why some believe and others do not. We just have no answer to these questions, but we must admit that the condemnation of some shows more gloriously the salvation of others.

In the comfort and undeserved reality of our own election we may give all the more praise to our merciful God.

Thea Heyink

London, ON
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ESAU HAVE I HATED, BUT JACOB HAVE I LOVED

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The shortest book in the Old Testament is Obadiah. The name Obadiah means Servant of the Lord. We can assume that it is the name of a prophet, though some sources say that it could be another person and that Obadiah is his role name, "a servant of the Lord."

There is not much known about him, even the time in which he lived is unsure, but most commentaries think he was a contemporary of Jeremiah and not the Obadiah at the time of Ahaz and Elijah. (1 Kings 18) Obadiah could be one of the people who remained behind in the homeland after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587-586 B.C. by the Babylonians.

Obadiah receives a vision from the Lord God, the Lord of all nations. It is a prophecy that the Lord had also sent to other nations concerning Edom's destruction. And even though Edom feels quite safe in its mountainous home country, Edom should be scared! It will be worse than ever. Whatever happened to them before will be nothing compared to what is going to happen! (vs 2-18) In verse 10-14, we read the reasons for the destruction: When Israel was carried off into exile, Edom did not help him, as a brother should.

First Edom watched Israel being captured, ravaged and plundered. They even watched the terrible plunder from close by. Finally, they even participated They waited at cross-roads for the refugees, not to help them, but to murder them or deliver them up to the enemy. They looted and plundered their ruins. (Palms 137:7; Esdras 4:45 Apocryphal) But now Edom's deeds will fall back on his own head. This day is now imminent, the punishment will come, and in Malachi I:2-5 we read that it happened: "I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert."

Verses 19-20 describe in detail the regions, which are going to be regained by the house of Jacob. The people in the regions around Israel will be pushed to the South, North, West, and East. God-given rulers and judges (the deliverers) will conquer those regions.

The people of the Lord will live there in security and they can serve the Lord in peace, in all the corners of the kingdom, in order that in it, the promise can be fulfilled. This happened in the time of the Maccabees, in 164 BC The Lord exalts Jacob again!

From the time before Jacob and Esau were born, until Jesus Christ triumphs, God proves that his Word is truth. The elder shall serve the younger. Every time in history it looks as if Edom will triumph, but every time God exalts Israel, His chosen one.

It starts with Esau despising his birthright. He sells it and then Isaac has to bless Jacob When Israel goes to Egypt, it looks like Edom will inherit the chosen land after all - but God delivers the Israelites and gives Canaan To them. Later, David fights the Edomites. He slays eighteen thousand men, and the rest of them become servants of David. There are more examples. Later, Herod, who is a descendant of Edom, tries to destroy Jesus Christ, but the Lord God interferes again, His chosen One triumphs again! "Esau I have hated, and Jacob I have loved."

Jacob deserves punishment just as well, but God chose Jacob That is His grace; His election. The devil tries to destroy God's plan. When he tries to undo God's plan, he even uses blood brothers. We know that many of the most bitter enemies of the Church are born, like Edom, in the Church. But God knows His plan! And Christ was born! And we know that the Kingdom belongs to the Lord.

Marijke Plug formerly of Hamilton, ON
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ENEMIES OF ELECTION

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John Calvin points to two types of people who are enemies of the scriptural doctrine of predestination. The first type are like dogs, the second are like swine. The dogs are those who bark against the Lord and show their teeth, and ask God their malevolent questions. The swine don't fight as much against God's predestination. They use this doctrine to be able to wallow in the mud. They say: "If I am chosen, I can do all the evil I like, for I cannot get lost. And if I am rejected, why should I torment myself trying to do good deeds, I cannot be saved anyhow.

In thirteen sermons, John Calvin shows clearly that believers who know themselves chosen in Christ are totally different from those who are caught up in a way of life that centres on consuming and amusing. Whoever believes that God elects for reasons in Himself, sees the relative value of all riches and pleasure. God's love and faithfulness are worth more than all that we could gain in this life. Without God's mercy and love all our conveniences and luxuries don't benefit us. But he who is firmly convinced that God looks on us in loving kindness, will be satisfied even in the most bitter misery.

That person is rich.

Translated by A. VanderVen from Wegwijs - Feb. '93, excerpt from an article on the book "Prediking en Verkiezing" by John Calvin.
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LIVING OUT OF GRACE

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Galations 4 - 6

Before Christ came, the law was a custodian for the children of God. But now that Christ had come, and completed his sacrificial task on earth, the children of God are set free, free from the law and free from sin. Paul goes on to say that God sent for His Son, born under the law, to free the slaves who become sons of the Most High God! Salvation is no longer to be obtained by obedience to the law, but by the birth of God's own Son. For the law God gave at Sinai had become the tyrannical master of the children of Israel. The Jewish leaders taught that it was obedience to the many laws that guaranteed salvation. Paul however asks the Galatians: How can you return to bondage to sin after you have tasted the freedom of God? You still observe the rituals of the ceremonial law, such as circumcision, a. if they could save you! You must become humble and meek before God, for Hi, enormous gift of grace to you. Paul implores the believers not to become angry with him for his rebuke, but to bear with him for the sake of the love he has towards them. He is perplexed at how they could have been led so far astray, and wonders how he can make them see their error.

Paul shows the Galatians who their true enemies are, namely the Judaizers. These would have them doubt that they are true children of God because they are not children of Abraham after the flesh. But, Paul declares, they are true children of Abraham, set free from the bonds of slavery through Christ.

Then follows the question which we must also ask ourselves: Why return to that slavery to sin? Stand fast therefore! "Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true). Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness …" Ephesians 5. "Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil ... stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.' Ephesians 6.

Again Paul implores the Galatians to accept Christ as their all sufficient Saviour. For Christ will sever those who have fallen away from grace, those who insist on being justified by the law However, freedom from the law is no to be used as an opportunity to gratify the desires of the flesh; no, Paul. says: Walk by the Spirit, whose desires are against those of the flesh." For the same heart in which the Spirit dwells, cannot harbour the love of sin and the world The evil desires of the flesh must be crucified with Christ into death and we must be raised to a newness of life. Paul gives us a list of the desires of the flesh so that we cannot doubt his meaning He also gives us a list of the fruits of the Spirit, so that we may measure our works thereby.

Chapter six is a guide to the application of the fruits of the Spirit in the life of the believer. Paul urges those who are more consistent in their life with the Spirit to gently coax their weaker brothers to resist temptation. We do not leave our brother in sin, but help him "mend his ways . . . live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you" (2 Cor. 13:11). For arrogance and a boastful demeanour towards our brother does not guarantee that we will not fall into temptation ourselves. "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord." 2 Cor. 10:17 Believers and non-believers alike are reminded by Paul that "what a man sows, the he will also reap." What Paul says here is not something new, but an elementary rule of life. It is basically a "cause and effect" statement. There are many rules we must abide by, for everything we do has a consequence. For instance, if we as parents do not walk by the Spirit. and do not show our faith in our daily life, yet we bring our children weekly to church, and send them to a Christian school, what is the message we give our children? They will be confused by the apparent paradox, and when these children reach adulthood, many respond by rejecting the hypocrisy of the parents and the church with it. Our daily actions then bear a heavy consequence. We as an example must show God's grace in every aspect of life. For what is reaped is not itself a punishment of sin by an avenging God, but the natural consequence of a life of sin. Even so-called secret sins have consequences, which sometimes become shamefully public.

But Paul does not only speak here of consequences reaped here in this life, but more importantly in the life to come. Sowing fruits of the flesh reaps everlasting damnation; however, sowing fruits of the Spirit reaps life everlasting with our Lord. What an opportunity we have, to sow fruits of the Spirit while there is yet time! But this sowing of the Spirit need not become a heavy burden, for Christ has said, "come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, for I will give you rest, Take My yoke upon you ... for My yoke is easy and My burden light: Matt. 11:29-30.

Finally, Paul concludes this letter with the request not to be troubled again by these heresies. He expects the churches to remain faithful to the teachings he had brought them, for he becomes exhausted by constantly rebuking the believers. He reminds them of the sufferings he bore for the sake of Jesus, and that by grieving him, they grieve the Lord Jesus.

In closing, Paul blesses the believers with the benediction of the Lord Jesus Christ, stressing that His grace must be embraced within the heart; not an outward showing of piety counts, but a true repentance from within. Paul addresses the erring Galatians with the term of endearment he extends to all his fellow heirs of the kingdom, namely, brethren. By calling them his brethren, Paul ties them to himself with the bond of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and gives them into the saving and gathering care of the Holy Spirit.

Thea Heyink

London, ON
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"First Love"
One crystal year that etched my foolish heart
With flawless love too delicate to last.
One cruel night with strength to wrench apart
Perfection, leaving splinters of the past.



Your gift of joy turned razor-sharp, 0 lord.
What Father wounds His child with such a sword?
The jagged shard has left a gaping hole;
The pain drives down into my very soul.


I spurned my God; in love He drew me near;
With gentle hand He Wiped away my tears.
Amidst the fragments sharp He traced for me
The pattern which before I could not see.


"Be still and know that I am God on high;
Be strong, for I have listened to your cry."

by Amanda Poppe December 8, 1994
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GIVING AND RECEIVING HELP

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Is there a need in our congregations and is it possible for our sisters to find time in their busy schedules to help one another?

About five years ago the Ancaster Women's Society had a discussion about this after their intermission. Some were in favour of organizing something, others had the experience that it did not work, until one young mother ventured to speak up, saying, "I was so glad that someone a little older came to see me after my baby was born! Being without family here, I felt lost. It sounds like a great idea to me!" And that did it. "Sisterhelp" started.

One of the ladies offered her name and telephone number that was put weekly in the bulletin. The rest offered their services. Later it proved better to have two ladies working together and the whole congregation is called upon.

It started slowly because our pride was in the way. Do you ask for help if you can just manage yourself? If someone offers to help clean your house, you will quickly clean it before she comes, right?

Then one lady got Trouble and had to lie flat in bed. A call to "Sisterhelp" and the daily meals flowed in. Someone else broke her leg and the same happened. The house was cleaned, the meals taken care of, and soon. It was great!

Those who received help themselves were the ones most eager to help when others are in need. The call can come from anyone, a friend, an elder, or the person in trouble. As soon as "Sisterhelp" hears of a need, the lady in charge calls to ask in what way help can be supplied. Sometimes it takes a few extra calls before we acknowledge that help would be great.

The Communion of Saints is active, through providing meals, cleaning houses, support to new mothers, giving rides to elderly people for hospital treatments, and so on.

This work of love brings bonding and enthusiasm. Be glad to share.

Lynn VanDelden
Ancaster ON

 

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