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Alive! magazine No. 169"Alive!" magazine

"Alive!" is a bi-monthly topical evangelistic tract, which has been published since the 1960s. The present editor is Gordon Smith from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Copies are available at £8.00 per 100 (plus postage). Generous discounts are available for quantity, and the tract can be personalised at £1.00 extra per 100. Christmas and Easter editions are produced, but otherwise the tracts are undated and can be used at any time of the year. To order Alive!, send us an e-mail via the Contact Us page to take out your subscription.

A follow-up booklet for enquirers is available from STP, and a similar booklet can be read online at the "Alive!" web site.

"Alive!" is undated, and back issues are available at £1.00 per 50 (plus postage).

From the current issue of Alive!

Use the Map, not the App!Use the Map, not the App!

by David Anderson

On 04 March 2019, BBC Television’s Look North in the North East & Cumbria featured the Lakes’ mountain rescue team in their local news programme. The team were appealing to all walkers of the Lakeside fells to be properly equipped before attempting any walks. In addition to the perennial appeal to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, the team highlighted another (new) issue. With the advent of the smart phone, many walkers are now relying on smart phone app technology instead of the proven navigating equipment – the map and compass. Smart phone signals are notoriously problematic in the Lake District, especially on the mountains, where they so often fail. That leaves the users stranded and without any navigation guide and results in many more call outs of the rescue teams. So, the very urgent and important message that is being propagated this year is, “Use the Map, not the App!”

CompassAll of us are on a journey through life. It’s not by choice, as it is with fell-walkers, but it’s equally uncertain if we do not use the right navigational aids. And it can so easily end in eternal disaster! The Bible twice (that is, it’s repeated for emphasis) states, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25). That means it’s easy to convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing and that we are going in the right direction. That said, we must use the correct map and compass to be certain that we are definitely on the right road to life and heaven. The Bible is the map and the compass is the Holy Spirit, who shows you the path to life in its pages. “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality” (Proverbs 12:28). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). You can be sure that you are on the right path if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord. He claimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to [God] the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Please provide a Signpost

Another issue that the Lakes’ mountain rescue team highlighted in their interview was the lack of a crucial signpost on the path along Striding Edge, on the upper slopes of Helvellyn. Evidently, the path divides at a high point: one way is the correct path; the other way leads to the mountain edge with sheer drops. The landowners have not (at the time of writing) agreed to provide this vital signpost. God, however, gives clear directions in the Bible, so that no one can err and mistakenly take the wrong path (Isaiah 35:8). And the Lord Jesus also gave this clear admonition, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Religion or Relationship?

by George Stevens

“I had thought to come over and give you one!”, said a burly fellow to an open-air preacher in Norwich, “... because I can’t stand people who preach religion.” He went on to say that in listening he had come to realise that it was a personal relationship with God and not a religion that was being preached. Hence, he felt compelled to tell the preacher this. So both entered into conversation and, later, parted amicably.

It should, therefore, be realised that religion depends on the works of people to make them suitable for the presence of God. An impossible situation, for their sins separate them from God. However, God, in His love for us, has moved in a remarkable way to bring us back to Himself as those who are cleansed from all sin. How did He do this? He gave His only Son to bear the judgment that we deserved. This He did at Calvary’s cross where the soul of His Son was made a sacrifice for sin. Scripture puts it this way: “God made Him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). As a result, the only things that we, as sinners, have to do is to come to God in repentance (acknowledging our unworthiness) and turn to His way of salvation by trusting in His Son and His work. These two things were preached by the. apostle Paul: “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21).

Once we have sincerely committed our lives to God, we are classed, not only as saved, but as His children. This is the wonder of the intimate relationship we have with God. With this relationship comes an inheritance: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory” (Romans 8:16-17).

There are two things to consider here. First, God is the perfect Father. His nature demands that He seeks the best for His children. Second, as His children we depend upon Him and seek to honour Him. May we do so until Christ comes to take us to glory!

Homeless?

by Ernie Bartlett

The plight of homelessness is not limited to one nation, culture or age group. Homelessness is a huge problem that is greater than society can remedy. Many people search through rubbish, for their food and clothing, sleeping in doorways, under bridges and stairwells, in packing boxes or shelters.

Did you ever think that you could become homeless? What about your eternal home? The Bible tells of just two destinations: either with God in heaven or banishment from God in hell.

Some homeless people have lost a home they once had. Some will never acquire a home. Spiritually we all have the same problem. Our sins have left us with a great debt to God that, if we depend on our own merit, we will be homeless for eternity. In order to remove that debt, the Lord Jesus paid sin’s penalty.

Before going back to heaven, the Lord Jesus assured His disciples of an eternal home when He said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2). In order to prepare that home, He had to be crucified on a Roman cross. As a result of His death, burial and resurrection and return to heaven, the Lord Jesus made an eternal home available in heaven for all those that have put their trust in Him.

We can’t buy this home, or work for it. We can’t rely on our own actions .and attributes to give us a claim to it. We can’t rely on our own merits because even our best works are not just good enough. God’s standards are so much higher than man’s. However hard we try, we all fall short of God’s standards (Romans 3:23).

Unlike our earthly homes, the home provided by the Lord Jesus Christ is permanent and not one that can be taken away. He said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand!” (John 10:28). This is a title deed that can never be foreclosed or transferred. Why not claim a home in heaven, now while you have the opportunity? Do you want to be homeless for eternity?

From the previous issue of Alive!

No Escape!No Escape!

by David Anderson

Recently, my wife and I visited a kitchen supplier with the intention of revamping our kitchen. We chose the units, fittings, etc. and enlisted the services of the kitchen designer to plan the renovation. After a home visit and kitchen survey, he invited us to review his computer-aided design in his office located in the corner of the supplier’s warehouse. I was impressed with the operating safety standards. For example, there are restricted areas for ‘Employees only’ with properly painted pedestrian walkways. However, it was the safety sign on the designer’s office door which caught my attention. It read, ‘No Escape’! It’s shorthand and means that in the case of an emergency, such as a fire in the warehouse, there is no way out of the warehouse via that office, but to me, with my sense of humour, it meant that we would not get out of the designer’s office unless we placed the kitchen-order with him! We would be trapped in there forever!

An important part of the Gospel message that Alive! writers want to convey to its readers is the warning that there is ‘No Escape’ if this message is either rejected or neglected. In fact, the Gospel is a safety message – it is about being saved from God’s judgment. It’s called, “The message of truth, the gospel of … salvation” (Ephesians 1:13). In other words, it informs each one of us what we must do to be saved from the consequences of our sins. Everyone must “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!” (Acts 16:31). And just like any safety notice on how to avoid dangers or hazards, it’s of the utmost importance that you understand the Gospel. In fact, it’s the most important message in the whole history of mankind. “I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

God gave Lot and his family a clear message of how they could escape His judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah. “With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.’ When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, ‘Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you wil] be swept away!’” (Genesis 19:15-17). S W Martin used this idea in a hymn:

The Gospel bells give warning, as they sound from day to day,
Of the fate which does await them who for ever will delay.
“Escape thou for thy life. Tarry not in all the plain;
Nor behind thee look, oh, never, lest thou be consumed in pain.”

Yes, as the apostle Paul asked: “Mere human being … do you think that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:3-4). “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation … which was first announced by the Lord?” (Hebrews 2:3).

Humpty Dumpty

by Ernie Bartlett

Humpty DumptyAs children we all used to recite the nursery rhyme ‘Humpty Dumpty’:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Few of us might know that Humpty Dumpty was based on real events. There are two possible origins for the rhyme, both from the 17th century. One was of a sharp shooter during the English Civil War who served with the Cavaliers (Royalists) against Cromwell’s Roundheads. In about 1648, he would to sit on the wall of St. Mary’s church in Colchester and snipe at the opposing soldiers, but he himself was shot, and fell from the wall. All attempts to save his life failed. The second suggested origin related to a large cannon, dubbed Humpty Dumpty, which was mounted on the church wall. Unfortunately the weight of the cannon and the vibration when it was fired weakened its mountings and it fell from the wall. No matter what was attempted they couldn’t raise it.

Mankind as a whole has had a more serious fall. Our first parents, Adam & Eve, were living in harmony with God until the day they disobeyed their creator, by partaking of the forbidden fruit. By this act of disobedience, sin came into the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12). No one could rectify the situation by themselves. There have been many good men and women in the world since then, but they all had one thing in common – they were sinners like us, and had come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Psalmist put it like this: “No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them” (Psalm 49:7).

Thankfully, a ransom has been found in the person and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life and, by going to the cross, paid the price of our redemption. By His death we are not only put right, but each of us can become a “… new creation …” (2 Corinthians 5:17) or as the Gospel of John describes it being “… born again” (John 3:7).

But there is something we must do: that is to believe on the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thank Him for dying for us, living for Him, with His help in doing this, we must submit to Him.

Scripture quotations on this page taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (Anglicised edition) Copyright© 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). UK trademark number 1448790.

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