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Editorials Archive

To our English language visitors : this page has only recently been set up in English, so all the other old French editorials will not be translated, because of the work involved, From now on, only new editorials will be archived. Thank you for your understanding.


Editorial april 2013

EMERGENCY! URGENT!

As soon as we hear the word 'emergency', alarm bells start ringing and a whole chain of reactions starts to unfurl.

The Creator of our universe has put the rhythm of time at its heart. We even have an internal clock to remind us. Our lives are intimately linked to time. The concept of an emergency pushes the notion of time to its limit. In the Bible, the author of the book 'Ecclesiastes' says: "There is a time for everything under the sun". (Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 1)

There is an urgent matter which is not generally seen as such: thinking about our own death. In our western world, in particular, it is pushed to the back of our minds, buried under tons of other priorities. In its ordering of events, Ecclesiastes puts death on the same plane as birth. As we read in verse two of the same chapter: "a time to be born and a time to die".

So we are encouraged to be on our guard: to see our arrival in this world as being on the same level as our final departure. These are inescapable realities. Even the Son of God, in order to rescue us from the desperate situation we found ourselves in as a result of our sin, was willing to take on our human condition. He was born and he died. Both His coming into the world and his death were meticulously prepared by God, his Father, in order to fulfil his purposes. The Son submitted himself to the Father in order to achieve the Father's objective: to save us through love.

The epistle to the Hebrews says: "Just as a man is destined to die once and after that face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." (Hebrews chapter 9, verses 27-28)

It would seem logical, therefore, that putting right our situation with God through his Son, Jesus, is a matter of urgency.

"We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God was making his appeal through us. We implore you, on Christ's behalf: be reconciled to God." says the apostle Paul in the second letter to the Corinthians chapter 5 verse 20.

There is good news for all those who accept the salvation that Christ offers: he gives them eternal life through his death on the cross and his resurrection. He alone has conquered death. The Christian faith rests on the certainty of his resurrection: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies" says Jesus in John's Gospel chapter 11 verse 25.

Roger Ranaivojaona

Bible verses from the New International Version.

Editorial november 2012

REJOICE!

The joy that a Christian experiences is of a different order from that of his contemporaries. Don't expect to find this in the dictionary, because Christian joy doesn't correspond to any of the definitions to be found there.

We are talking about a lasting and a powerful joy. A joy that comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit, the second person of the holy Trinity, in the life of each person who is reconciled with God, having accepted the work of Christ on the cross.

When we hear Jesus' declaration to his disciples, in John's Gospel chapter 15 verse 5, we notice the dependence that links them to Christ: "Without me you can do nothing". And Jesus goes on to invite them to remain in his love by keeping his commandments, as he himself has done in relation to his Father. This will lead to a joy which is complete, perfect, in each one of them. We read in verse 11: "I have spoken to you like this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete"

Indeed, this joy follows immediately after love in the list of the fruit of the Spirit described by the apostle Paul in the letter to the Galatians chapter 5, verse 22: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy..."

We can understand, therefore, why the apostle Paul uses the imperative to exhort the Christians in Thessalonica in the first century AD: "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for such is the will of God for you in Jesus Christ. Do not quench the Spirit" 1 Thessalonians 5 verses 16 to 19..

A joy which comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit of God. A joy maintained by the love of God in you. A joy which reflects your commitment to and faith in God, your Father. Your joy!

And so what David declared in Psalm 34 verse 5 will come true for you: "whoever turns to look at him will be radiant with joy and his face will never be covered with shame".

So keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Your joy then will not depend on the festive calendar!

Roger Ranaivojaona

Editorial september 2012

« "I am the life" »


(John 14,6)


Whether you are a new arrival in the Indre department or simply visiting our web page for the first time, we wish you a warm welcome.

Perhaps the beginning of this new term ("la rentrée") has been marked for you, as it has been for me, by a house move or the beginning of a new project. We want to encourage you to let the Lord lead you.

For the "France Mission" Church in Chateauroux, this rentrée is particularly special because of the completion of the renovation work and the first meeting in our new building. It is also marked by the wedding of Thomas and Yannick. Lastly, following an offer from the "Association pour l'Evangélisation des enfants" (AEE), we were especially pleased to have the chance to invite the inhabitants of Châteauroux and Argenton-sur-Creuse to find life, the life that the Lord alone can give. The first step is to listen to Him. So with the help of descendants of "French Huguenots", who came all the way from South Africa, we were able to distribute the good news of our Saviour, Jesus to thousands of people.

At this rentrée, I hope you will experience true transformation: let the Lord warm your heart and show you the truth about your life. Try to know him as he really is - stop being concerned about possessions or appearance, but try instead to contemplate him and follow him - in fact accept the need to behave like Jesus. On your own, this change is impossible. Ask him! He wants to and he can!

Michaël Duchemann

Editorial summer 2012

Summer of justice


Law, justice, fairness are words that go together well.

In summer, it is all too easy for these notions to be left sleeping in a cool place, at the back of a cupboard. When the sun shines, when the temperature rises, men and women enjoy the benefits of nature. Full of the joys of the holidays or absorbed by hard summer labours: harvest, crops, a flourishing tourism industry, for example, they quickly forget. And those who struggle, plunged into the worries of the economic crisis, unemployment and social misery, disease, no longer have the strength to lift their heads and keep shouting. In fact, there is no one to listen.

However God requires that the law be followed, that justice be done and that man should act with fairness.

Read in the Bible, in the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians 4.1 "Masters provide your slaves with what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."

Paul is writing in the first century. He is talking to contemporary Christians, those who own slaves. In those days, slavery existed and was part of the economic and social world. But within the Christian family, slaves were viewed in a completely different way from in society at large; enjoying the same rights as any other member. Remember that the church met within family homes. Families hosted the members' meetings, and participated fully.

Even today, law, justice and fairness demand constant vigilance from every inhabitant of our planet and, in particular, our leaders, so that life can be, if not really good and pleasant, at least bearable. Injustice continues to be a scourge which ravages our planet, causing more deaths than any other natural disaster. You have only to mention poverty, malnutrition, pollution and the diseases which are the consequence.

Calling for justice, Jesus, the Son of God, who came and preached the gospel of the kingdom of God, goes further by teaching about "loving one's neighbour as oneself" and that we should "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect " in Matthew, chapter 5 verse 48. This includes, in addition to law, justice and equity: love, compassion, mercy. He gave the example by offering his own life; He died on the cross for our sins, so that we might be reconciled to God.

The summer would be perfect if we were to listen to him. Another sun would shine in our hearts.

Roger Ranaivojaona

Editorial may 2012

Seek first the kingdom of God


Deciding how to vote is rarely a simple matter for a believer. Daring to write about the election results is also a sensitive matter. And, as with every editorial, I would invite you not to be limited by my thoughts and ideas, but to try and hear what the Lord might be saying.

A call for vigilance

The number of votes in France for a candidate of the extreme right has never been so high since the beginning of democratic presidential elections in France. Marine Le Pen's speeches may be more moderate than those of her father, but her ideology is the same. Two elements should particularly put us on our guard: her views about Jews and about foreigners.

Reading the Bible, we see that the Lord frequently challenges the attitude of the Israelites, that he gets angry with them and uses the surrounding nations to express his anger. But he always comes to the defence of his people when Israel is scorned or endangered by other nations. We need to hold our concern for the Jews and our sensitivity to the Holocaust together with our relationship with the Lord - including concerning these elections.

Limiting and managing immigration is one thing, our attitude to foreigners is quite another. When foreigners, or one category of foreigners, become a scapegoat, we should see a warning sign. Since the flood, the Lord has indeed been vigilant about the plurality and diversity of the nations. But the Lord calls his disciples to baptise all the nations. The Lord wants there to be people from every nation in the coming new world. Yes, the Lord is watchful over the differences between nations and even has a special relationship with one people, Israel, but he wants to bless the people of every nation. We are called to love the people of other nations as the Lord loves them. Just think of all the messages of concern for foreigners that the Lord gives to his people.

We have to be particularly careful, as the higher the number of votes gained by the Front National, the greater the temptation for others to cash in on the issue to gain votes. A word can make all the difference. Remember that at the time of Hitler's rise to power, a large proportion of protestants allowed themselves either to be taken in or simply lulled into passivity. Watch out! Keep the Lord's words clearly in mind.

Honour the President of the Republic

Whether we voted or not, François Hollande is the president of the French Republic. As with every president, we shouldn't look to him for what we need to live. "Do not be anxious", saying, "What shall we eat ?" Or "What shall we drink?" Or "What shall we wear?, for the pagans run after these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need these things. Instead, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.(Matthew 6,31-33).

So, in fact, whether we are a French national or simply resident in France, we should honour François Hollande, that is to say regard him as worthy of this office and respect him as such. Indeed, the apostle Peter encourages us to consider those who govern as being "sent [by the Lord] to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do good." (1 Peter 2: 13-14). This shows us that this respect is not an end in itself and is not without limit. We have to live in the paradox of being at the same time free and slaves of God as regards those who govern us. In everyday matters we have to respect François Hollande, his government and future laws unless they clearly contradict the Lord and his commandments. It is the Lord who we must fear. As says the apostle Peter, "Honour all people, love all the brothers, fear God, honour the king" (1 Peter 2: 17).

Whether in the coming parliamentary elections, or in our attitude towards the new president of the republic and the new government, seek first the kingdom of God.

Michaël Duchemann

Editorial spring 2012

THE RIGHT CHOICE

From our earliest days we learn to make choices. Life itself regularly forces us to choose. Our character is forged by our experiences, not just our successes and failures, but more often the most ordinary situations in life, which call for neither long analysis nor lengthy debate. At the current time in France we are getting ready to elect a new president of the Republic. In those countries which enjoy democracy, freedom to vote and freedom of speech have already been granted, so we have the freedom to make a choice about the future of our country.

How would you respond to a choice like the one following, offered by God to his people in the desert ? [Deuteronomy Chapter 30 verses 19 and 20] « I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse, choose... »

If the sentence ended there, most of us would naturally choose life and blessing. Some would ask: « What life ? What blessing ? », before choosing. Others would simply say that they don't believe in God and turn the offer down flat. But there are yet others who wouldn't even hear the question so caught up are they in the cares of life and would just continue on their way. One group might even sigh, despairingly, « Death - let's get it over with ! »

« I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse, now choose life so that you may live, you and your offspring, to love the Lord your God, to obey his voice and to be faithful to him. For He is your life. »
foret
The verse encourages us to make the right decision in our own interest and that of our offspring as human beings. The consequences of the decision are clearly set out. But, more than that, it clearly starts with a declaration of love by God.

Love...

This love cannot flourish and find fulfilment without mutual respect and without the obedience of the chosen people. For God sees them as his adopted child. God has just ransomed them from slavery in Egypt. He is in the process of teaching them. And he offers them a covenant of love in which they will be linked to their God in a relationship of life-giving love. God is the very source of life. Choice, obedience, commitment, life, love, these are the links in the chain of a lasting relationship with God.

Jesus picks up these ideas when he tells us that to believe in him is to choose eternal life: « I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though they die, will live; and whoever lives and believes in me will not die, but will have eternal life » Gospel of John chapter 11 verse 25.

It's up to us to make the right choice.

Friend, I hope this will catch your attention, that you will be convinced and go on to make the right choice. Let us pray : « Lord, give me the wisdom and the strength to make the right choice every day. Amen ! »

Roger Ranaivojaona

Editorial january 2012

In 2012, truth or lies ?

In 2011, a sales rep tried to pass himself off as a government official come to inform us of our rights. He ended up by inviting us to sign a document, taking care to hide the heading which said "Contract".

You are not obliged :

  • to let yourself be taken in by such behaviour and suffer the consequent frustration,
  • to have a violent reaction to it and end up full of hatred,
  • to become indifferent to it and to want more for yourself too, even if it means lying to get it.

My wish for 2012 is that you may seek and find a different way to live and behave. What is the key to finding this?
It is Jesus! He has told us"I am the way, the truth and the life". (Gospel of John Ch 14: v 6).

In 2011, school pupils were taught as absolute fact the principle of the evolution of species. But there is still a "missing link" in the theories stemming from the work of Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and Charles Darwin, yet to be proved.

You are not obliged :

  • to believe everything that you were taught at school and everything that scientists say,
  • to go along with the idea that human beings will go on becoming more and more intelligent,
  • to think that, just because the Bible is old, it is full of errors.

My wish for 2012 is that you may take God's Word seriously. I wish that you may seek and find in it the truth about where we have come from and about God's plan for us and about what will happen in the future. Jesus said: "Until heaven and earth pass away, not a dot or a dash will be taken away from the Torah (law of God) until everything has been accomplished." (Gospel of Matthew Ch 5: v 18).

In 2011 the media announced that the presidents of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan "are committed to taking steps to eliminate extremism, militarism and terrorism and to reject foreign intervention" in a joint declaration issued at the end of a summit meeting in Tehran.

You are not obliged :

  • to believe that journalists are objective in the way they prioritise their information and present their facts,
  • to imagine that all political leaders are equally honest and that all have at least a bit of a desire for change,
  • to listen to the news without giving a thought to what the Bible has to say.

My wish for 2012 is that you may seek to see clearly through the one who is himself the light, Jesus. And I wish you to live out these words of the apostle Paul which he addresses to believers in Jesus: "Let no one lead you astray with empty words. It is for this reason that God's anger is coming on those who are faithless. Don't be caught up with them. You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. So walk as children of light, approving what the Lord finds pleasing. Indeed the fruit of the light is goodness, justice and truth" (Paul's letter to the Ephesians Ch 5: v 6-10).

Michaël Duchemann

Editorial december 2011

In the LORD I take refuge: how then can you say to me, "Flee like a bird to your mountain" ? Psalm 11:1.


Merle Reading this verse from a Psalm of David written more than two thousand five hundred years ago, we see straightaway the confidence which this man felt when put to the test, facing his enemies. Can we still, today, feel the same confidence ?

A bird being hunted, chased, could indeed fly away and climb a mountain to escape the arrows of the hunter. But where can we, the men and women of today, find our refuge in the face of our vulnerability? We so often feel as though we share the fragility of a bird in the face of adversity.

Think about the financial sector. Our world has been struggling for some time now, plunged into a turmoil whose outcome remains uncertain. No dawn is in sight to remove these sources of anxiety once and for all. The media echo the message of gloom. Anxiety about the instability of the international monetary system grips us. Anxious thoughts take hold of us when we think about the economic problems of our country. We are perplexed when we think about the future. We feel helpless. What can we do? Where can we find refuge ?

Such worries are not new.

Jesus, during his time on earth, said to his disciples when they were worried about their daily needs: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well". He added: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. " (You can find these passages in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6))

Jesus invites us simply, day after day, to place our trust in God, his father. He has opened the way: we can, in our turn, go directly to the Father who loves us and knows how to listen us. Prayer is talking to God openly about what is in our heart. We can take refuge in him in difficult times, and so find safety and comfort. Jesus offers us a different way to live from the one the world imposes on us. A new life where God reigns as absolute master. Jesus will give us a lasting inner peace if we welcome him into our lives.

And so we can join with David in his declaration of trust (faith) and love : " In the LORD I take refuge."

Roger Ranaivojaona

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