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Thursday, 28 June 2019, marked the 105th anniversary of the assassination that sparked the First World War.
A Disastrous Date
On 28 June 1914, the heir to the throne of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Frans Ferdinand, and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Considering the catastrophic consequences, it is remarkable how little is generally known about that fateful day, and what led up to it. Security personnel and bodyguards can learn no end of lessons of what not to do from the catalogue of security failings of that day.
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Similarities Between America and South Africa
There are some intriguing similarities between the history of the United States of America and that of South Africa.
Shortly after Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Diaz first landed on the shores of South Africa in 1488, the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492.
From the 1600s onwards both America and South Africa were settled by pilgrims from Holland, France, England, Scotland and Germany seeking religious freedom.
While American pioneers were moving westwards in horse drawn covered wagons to settle the vast, mostly uninhabited interior, South African Voortrekkers (Pioneers) were embarking on the Great Trek northwards and eastwards, also in covered wagons, although ours were drawn by oxen. Just as the American pioneers had to cross the Rocky Mountains, so the Voortrekkers crossed the vast Drakensberg Mountains. As the pioneers drew their wagons in a circle to defend their families from hostile attacks, so the Voortrekkers formed the Laager.
Thursday, 21 May, is Ascension Day
Despite South Africa being on one of the most severe lockdowns, which, for the previous five weeks, even mobilised the army to prevent people from exercising, or walking the dog outside of their property, we managed to go through all the red tape necessary to clear two container shipments of Bibles, Christian books, Sunday school materials and Gospel booklets, over 35 tonnes of Scriptural material. One of these containers was scheduled to arrive more than a month before, but because of the lockdown actually only arrived a week ago. However, because of the lockdown we were unable to have it cleared through customs and delivered before now. Due to customs being closed during this lockdown period, we were not able to apply for our VAT clearance certificate on either container. This led to extra unforeseen costs on both shipments of free Bible resources and Scriptural booklets.
3 April 1977, I was converted to Christ.
It happened at the Ster Kinekor cinema in Pinelands...
My family had moved from Rhodesia to Cape Town. We were living in Pinelands, just a few kilometres from where I had been born. It was Sunday evening, 3rd April 1977, when I walked over to the local cinema, with little realisation of how dramatically that would change my life forever.
“If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
When There is Pestilence
At the time of the consecration of the Temple, God declared: “When I shut up Heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people…” 2 Chronicles 7:13. This was the context for that monumentally important Scripture verse. During any time of disaster, humility, prayer and repentance should be our response.
To Heal Our Land
If we want God to heal our land, then we need Him to forgive our sin. God declares that He will not even listen to our prayers unless we do four things: humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14).
In Time of Disaster
In Luke 13, we read that when the people reported to the Lord Jesus of the man-made disaster of Pontius Pilate massacring Galileans at the Temple in Jerusalem, “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish’.” Luke 13:2-3
A Disastrous Series of Events
25 Years ago, four Frontline vehicles were sent into the field. Only one vehicle came back. In the early morning mist of 14 December 1994, Frontline Fellowship Field Worker, Anthony Duncan, was killed in a head-on collision.
A Complex Series of Missions to Five Countries
Anthony was returning back from a long, difficult and dangerous mission to five countries. Anthony had been part of a Frontline Fellowship mission team that had successfully delivered desperately needed medicines and Bibles into war-torn Angola. Despite a shoot-on sight policy, which was maintained to enforce the United Nations blockade on UNITA-controlled Free Angola, the Frontline Mission team had succeeded in delivering a tonne of desperately needed medicines and Bibles to suffering Christians in Angola. The Mission team was on the way back from this eventful trip, which had also included one of our vehicles rolling down an embankment and crushing the canopy on the way up to Zambia on the so-called “Golden Highway” dirt road running the length of the Caprivi Strip. A cloud of dust hung over the dirt road severely restricting visibility. Our vehicle had to swerve to avoid a head on collision with an oncoming truck.
7 December marks the 78th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour.
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More Powerful than Bombs and Torpedoes
Mitsuo Fuchida (1902-1976) is best known for leading the devastating air attack on Pearl Harbour, 7 December 1941. After the war, Fuchida became a Christian Evangelist, who conducted Evangelistic outreaches throughout Japan, the United States and Europe.
Listen to the latest From the Frontline broadcast – The Urgent Need for Reformation Today.
Ecclesia Reformata Reformanda Est! (The Church, having been Reformed, is still to be Reformed).
Sola Scriptura! Scripture alone is our ultimate authority on all matters of faith and conduct.
Solus Christus! Christ alone is the Head of the Church, and He is the only Mediator between God and man.
Sola Gratia! Salvation is by the Grace of God alone.
Sola Fide! Salvation is received by Faith alone.
Soli Deo Gloria! Everything is to be done for the glory of God alone.
These great Reformation principles challenge us to regular and rigorous self-criticism and constant re-evaluation of our personal lives, congregations, missions, families and society.