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Questions at the Border!


As we come out of the gloom of winter and look forward to the warmth of summer, we approach that time of the year when we look to holidays in perhaps even warmer places. Having said that, when one of my colleagues told me where he was going, I must admit that mentally, I had switched off! You see I have absolutely no interest in Spain or Italy or France or the Balearic Islands, to sit around in the sun all day may be nice to contemplate, but I would be bored out of my mind inside of an hour. This colleague had been describing to me how he had needed a special visa and a permit to climb in the mountains, and I was only half listening, thinking, He’s only going to the Pyrenees or the Alps. He was still waxing lyrically when I had to stop and for a second take – you need all this for the Pyrenees or the Alps I said – No he said – Peru, I’m going to climb in the Andes in Peru. Apparently, it had taken him over a year to get all of the necessary paperwork in place and even then, he might have trouble at the various points of entry into Peru and between the various regions, because of the guerrilla armies, etc. He will be away for just three weeks, but I wonder if I’ll see him again this side of eternity.

Travel between the European communities is of course supposed to be easy, no passport needed – but just try to travel without one! Until recently, you needed a passport to fly to Belfast, for the security check.

Of course, you have the other problem with international travel. Questions; by the Immigration officers. Where have you come from? Where were you born?Where are you going and why?What is the purpose of your visit? And of course, the Customs officer wants to know if you have anything to declare?

Questions? Well, life is all about questions I remember listening to all of the controversy about the girl from Whitley Bay who failed to get into Oxford Medical School; it wasn’t her academic ability that failed her it was the questions they asked her at the interview – they knew she had the head knowledge – but it wasn’t really in her heart. The man who chaired the selection panel said that their questioning of candidates centres upon trying to determine if they have a genuine burden in their hearts to be a doctor. This girl had already been offered a place at Newcastle Medical School and Edinburgh. But she declined them to take a scholarship at Harvard in the USA – which doesn’t have a medical school. She is going to study biochemistry. You see if being a doctor was everything to her – if that is what was on her heart. She would have taken one of the other places offered to her. I think Oxford actually were right to reject her application, they had deduced that her motivation and heart were not in it.

The Bible tells us that you and I will one day come to a cross roads in our life. And it is how we respond to the questions that we will be asked, that will determine whether or not we will be allowed to proceed to the destination of our choice or to another place. Whilst we hear these challenges on our various journeys around the world, what about the next, what questions will I be asked on the day that I pass from this life into the next?

Perhaps the first question will be when were you born–again? We can all say, that we were born – I was born at 1:15 am on Wednesday 8th November 1944 in Halton, Leeds, but ‘born-again’, well for most that’s something else. Even the learned theologian Nicodemus struggled with that question, even though he should have known all about it! We are all born first of mankind. But the Bible tells us that if we want to see the kingdom of heaven, we must be born again. That is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that he, the Son of God, who died for our sin and also rose again from the dead. And the moment we believe with all of our heart, we are born again, old things are passed away EVERYTHING becomes new. The Bible puts it this way, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT) When that question is asked of me, I can say yes I was born again 38 years ago– for the life of me I cannot remember the actual date, It was at a Tent Crusade in Leeds – and it was nearly too late. You see the new birth is necessary, our nature demands it, we are born as children of the first Adam and he was separated from God, because of his sin. God commands that all men everywhere should repent. The exact nature of the new birth defies human understanding, but just as the wind blows through and around us, we sense it but cannot see, so it is with the new birth, you cannot see it, but you sure know that it has happened and you know that it is real. I remember telling my Dad about my conversation years ago, he said never mind son, like all things it’ll where off in time. Sadly, he will now know the truth of the new birth, he died 20 years ago. You might not believe it; you might think that we have got it all wrong. I know that I have not got it wrong, I have seen so many things happen in my life and the life of my family, to know that its not just a game and, my heart tells me that it is so. Further, if you doubt – what if I am right and you are wrong! The amazing love of God makes all of this possible. I have no doubt what so ever, that if I am asked the question are you born again I will respond with a very clear yes! Can you?

Maybe the second question will be; what are you taking with you, have you anything to declare? Well if I have answered the first question correctly, then I can suggest that there are three items that I can openly declare:

  • Victory over my sin, this is the free gift of God when we place our trust and faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”( Rom 8:37 NLT)
  • Love for one another, Love is the greatest gift that God gives us and it’s a natural reaction just to share it with everybody. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5 :8 NLT)
  • Confidence in God. Confidence is a powerful word, but it’s just great to know that when this world gets just a bit too warm for us, it is God who has His hand upon the thermostat – it will never get too hot, because he is in total control. So we can say with confidence, "The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?" (Heb 13:6 NLT)

Finally; where am I travelling to? I am going heaven to be with God for ever, “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself and not by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1NLT) Just as the brier root turns into a rose,Just as the caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly and the tiny acorn into a magnificent oak, so I in the twinkling of an eye, I shall be changed, I don’t know what it will be like, but the Bible assures me that it will be better than the finest moment on earth, and there have been quite a few fine moments on earth. Dear friend do make certain for yourselves that when the time comes you will have the right answers.

Brian Allenby

(NLT = The Holy Bible, New Living Translation used by permission Tyndale House Publishers Inc. © 1996, 2004)

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story | by Dr. Radut