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Editorial: Remembering Dr. Boushra Mikhael

Editorial: Remembering Dr. Boushra Mikhael

Humanly speaking the church suffered a great loss on January 26, 2012 when Dr. Boushra Mikhael was called home to be with the Lord. His obituary as it appeared in two major Canadian newspapers and an Arabic paper in Egypt is reproduced here.

Dr. Mikhael was a valued committee member and contributor to Counsel Magazine and his help will be missed greatly. Those who sat under his ministry got to know a man who walked with the Lord. He had a tremendous grasp of scripture and took us always to the Person of Christ. He not only knew Christ but lived Him and was a living example of Paul’s reason for living, ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ (Philippians 1:21).

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Blessed in Christ

In a previous article “Two Men and You” we saw that we are either represented by Adam and what he did in Eden (sin) and what he in consequence became (a sinner), or by Christ and what He passed through in His death and resurrection. The multiple benefits of the Saviour’s work on behalf of those who have faith in Him are the subject of large sections of the New Testament. Believers are taught there to see themselves as “in Christ” for He fully represents what they now are before God. They should never consider themselves apart from that fact, it is one that puts them —

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Fools

I remember the case of a young man who married a moneyless girl and then sailed for Australia, taking with him his bride and what little money he could scrape together; it was only about £600. When the two families heard that he had used his capital in buying some land in an out of the way place, they said he ought to be shut up in a lunatic asylum. But there was gold in that piece of land, and when, some years later, I met him in London, he was very rich; and the relatives had given up talking about lunatic asylums.

The Christian is a follower of Him who likened Himself to a man that parts with all that he has in order to buy a field, because he knows there is treasure hidden in it. The Christian acts in the present with a view to the future. For he knows while the things which are seen are temporal, the things which are not seen are eternal.

– an excerpt from The Way by Sir Robert Anderson

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The Seven Churches – Part 4

This is the final of four articles examining, exploring, and explaining the message of the seven churches. The goal has been to be expositional in looking at the text and also practical in the application for us in this age. The Lord Jesus occupies the same place today as He did in Revelation 1; He is still in the midst of the churches. From that place of prominence He is intimately aware of all that takes place in each assembly and deeply concerned for what is lacking in doctrine and devotion.

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The Rapture & The Tribulation

Beyond a doubt, biblical prophecy is one of the most important subjects in the Bible. The sheer weight of its biblical references attest to this fact. The return of the Lord is mentioned in every book of the New Testament except two. The return of the Lord is mentioned in 211 chapters of the New Testament, and prophecies connected to the return of the Lord are mentioned over 500 times in the Bible. Nevertheless, many believers shy away from the study of prophecy and are confused as to what the Bible teaches on the subject. Satan loves to confuse and distract believers from the most important aspects of biblical truth. This is clear concerning prophecy. There are more competing views of prophecy than almost any other aspect of Bible study. One of the most neglected, and yet important, subjects of end times prophecy is whether the church will go through the tribulation. Many believers have never considered this topic, yet our view concerning it will determine our understanding of salvation, the security of the believer, and the finished work of Christ.

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The Sovereignty of God

The Sovereignty of God

The doctrine of the sovereignty of God is one of the weightiest and most important doctrines of Scripture. Although the word “sovereignty” is never used in the English Bible, other synonyms such as “majesty”, “almighty”, and “greatness” are used many times.  God’s sovereignty is expressed in one way or another on nearly every page of the Bible. In describing the sovereignty of God, it has been said, “God in His love wills what is best for us. In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His majesty He has the power to bring it about.” For some believers, the doctrine of the sovereignty of God is a difficult doctrine to embrace. They ask why did God give Peter 3,000 souls on the Day of Pentecost, while faithful Stephen recieved 3,000 stones?  It is in the difficult times of life that God tests our faith. Obeying God is worked out within well-defined boundaries of God’s Word, while trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries. This poses the question: How can we trust and love the sovereign God? Surely the answer lies in knowing the character, attributes, and doctrine of the sovereignty of God.

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The Ministry Of Priests And Prophets

As we read through the Old Testament we discover that God used various channels through which he conveyed His mind to His people Israel, the most prominent of these channels being the priests and the prophets.

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Focusing on Christ

“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”

1 Corinthians 11:23-25

The institution of the Lord’s Supper could not have been in a more simpler fashion. A small group of men sitting about a table in an upper room away from the busy world without any distractions. There was no pipe organ. There was no priest in elaborate garments, no altar of any kind, no stained glass windows, no worship leaders, no formal prayers, no bells, no incense, nothing, except Christ.

Christ used simple and common item, bread and cup filled with fruit of the vine. Perhaps using the practice mention in Jeremiah, “Nor shall men break bread in mourning for the, to comfort them for the dead; nor shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or their mother,” the Lord Jesus used bread and the cup as a way for His disciples to remember Him. (Jer. 16:7 NKJV)

It should be noted that Christ did not say, “Remember me in my death.” We so often use those words, “Remember Christ in His death.” His request was that they would remember Him. It was a Person they were to remember, not so much an event. Now when they broke the bread which Christ said represented His body, and drank of the cup which represented His blood, they “declared” the Lord’s death until he come. Too often we remember only His death, but have little memory of the Lord Himself.

When we grow cold and have given little time to remembering Him in our daily course of life it is often reflected at the Lord’s Supper. Not all times of silence are a reflection of coldness, but frequent periods in which the brethren are silent can well be an indication we have “forgotten” the Lord duing our daily life. Sadly, instead of confessing our coolness, we install external “props” in an effort to produce worship. It may be by having a “worship group” provide music, it may be ornate surroundings, it may be liturgy, anything that appeals to the natural senses, our ears, eyes, touch, smell, etc. All of these only mask the real internal condition of our hearts.

When in truth we are gathered in simplicity to remember the Lord there are no props and the true condition of our hearts is clearly revealed. It is soon evident, individually and collectively, that this is why our wise Saviour instituted this supper. We are prone to forget! At times such as these we often revert to the hymn book and sing words that other godly saints have written. (do not misunderstand, the right hymns sung from right hearts convey many proper thoughts.) In addition to the hymn book we can drift into a “thanksgiving” meeting in which the wonderful truth of our salvation takes center stage. We become “we” centered. We concentrate on the gifts, not the Giver. Like the assembly at Ephesus we can do many good things, but lose our focus. (Rev. 2:2-4)

I would like to suggest four words that might help us keep our minds focus on Him. Now there is plenty of latitude associated with these suggested words and so they will in no way infringe on the work of the Holy Spirit in orchestrating the worship of His saints.

The first would be His preincarnate “Loftiness.” He was God! (John 1:1) He was eternal! (John 1:2) He was the Creator! (John 1:3) He is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by word of his power,” (Heb 1:3) and of course much, much more could be added.

Second would be His incarnate “Lowliness.”  He who was God took upon Himself humanity. (Phil. 2:6) Additionally He was a servant! (v. 7), a humble and obedient servant, even to the point of dying a “cross death.” He was rich but for our sakes became poor. (2 Cor. 8:9) How rich was he? How poor did He become? His life was perfect, without sin. He did always those things that pleased the Father. (John 8:29) He was “a friend of publicans and sinners,” and “went about doing good.” (Matt. 11:19; Acts 10:38) volumes have been written in attempts to speak of His lowliness, and there is plenty of room for our hearts and minds to ponder and adore.

Thirdly, we could think of His “Lordship.” Not that He is to be Lord of our lives, but that He has gained the victory over death and now sits enthroned “on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb. 1:3) Because of His submission to His father’s will He has “highly exalted him” and “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Phil. 2:9-10) We declare the Lord’s death, but we worship a living glorified Lord! Certainly as we do so we cannot forget what He has accomplished for us, but let us not forget when He accomplished for God. “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)

We can think of Christ’s Loveliness. Here there are multiple avenues of thought that lead to worship, not just due to His work, although certainly that is proper, but also of Him personally. “Remember me” was His request. “Do not forget Me.” Not only what He has done, as amazing and wonderful as it is, but remember “Him” as well.

We see His love, meekness, humility, purity, compassion, graciousness, kindness, devotion, obedience, righteousness, sincerity, and so much more. So much that we have no justification to be silent. We can fall at His feet and worship for many reasons. He has many glories that we can call to mind. Certainly that he purchased our redemption with His blood, but also for the humble mind that was behind His coming to earth and going to Calvary. He is altogether lovely. Let’s remember Him!

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The Blessed Secret: Philippians 4:11

I have learned the blessed secret

Of the soul that’s satisfied,

Since the Saviour dwells within me,

And in Him I now abide.

I have learned the joy of trusting

In the sureness of His Word,

Knowing that each promise spoken,

Will be honoured by my Lord.

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Some Thoughts on Congregational Singing

Some time ago I was asked to write an article about singing in the church. Before I do, let me quickly give you some personal background, so you will know from what perspective I am writing. I became Christian at age 19, and for the first 20 years after my salvation attended a lively non-denominational church, where I also functioned as piano/bass player, choir director, and where at times I would lead congregational singing. Most songs we sang were contemporary choruses, many of which contained much scripture. From there my family moved on to a more traditional church, where the majority of the songs consisted of hymns, many written during the 18th and 19thcenturies. Here I also directed a choir, and have been frequently involved in worship and song-leading.

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