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Editor

Editor

Seeking 1-2 Volunteers to Fill Vacant Positions

Editor + Layout Planner

SPAG Magazine is seeking 1-2 people to take on two new volunteer positions currently filled by our Editor, Vicki Nunn, as she is looking to retire.

Do you have editorial and writing skills and a passion for a ministry in Christian publishing?

We’re seeking either one person who can undertake the majority of the role as volunteer Editor and Layout Planner, or a person for each position.

Editor:

The Editor is responsible for sourcing articles; working with our regular contributors for articles; editing as well as writing articles; and contributing to the development of SPAG Magazine and its team.

A high level of writing and editing skills and experience are a necessity. Some social media experience would be helpful.

Layout Planner:

The Layout Planner puts the magazine together, sources and creates suitable images for articles, posters, adding links and more.

The position of Layout Planner involves laying out the magazine pages with articles and images in a professional manner. You can see examples of what is needed in our current issue (see our front webpage for the link)

A high level of experience with MS Word or compatible program are vital, plus experience in a graphics program is highly desirable.

Selection Criteria:

Please submit your application and include your responses to the following selection criteria:

Position: Editor
  1. Tell us a little about your Christian walk? Do you believe in the Bible and trust the Word implicitly? How important is prayer to you?
  2. What makes you interested in joining the small team at SPAG Magazine?
  3. How would you motivate the team?
  4. Please share some information about your experience in writing and editing;
  5. What would you like to achieve in this position in say 5 or 10 years and in which way would you like to grow SPAG Magazine?
  6. Can you please provide at least one sample of your writing and/or editing experience
  7. Do you have any references who can verify your experience? If so, please provide their contact details, along with their name, position and organisation;
  8. How do you feel about taking on this volunteer experience, knowing it may be a number of years before SPAG Magazine begins to pay its way, before even paying its team?
  9. Please provide information about your social media experience if you have any.
  10. If  you have limitations in some of your skills, would you be interested in growing your skills such as undertaking a relevant course, even if the costs cannot be met by SPAG Magazine?
Position: Layout Planner
  1. Tell us a little about your Christian walk? Do you believe in the Bible and trust the Word implicitly? How important is prayer to you?
  2. What makes you interested in joining the small team at SPAG Magazine?
  3. Please provide information about your experience with MS Word or a compatible advanced word processing program, including  the inclusion/addition of images and links within documents;
  4. What would you like to achieve in this position in say 5 or 10 years and how do you see yourself contributing to the growth of SPAG Magazine?
  5. Can you please provide at least one sample of your skills that you created yourself, for example in creating posters, brochures, images or pdf documents, specifically showing some level of advanced skills in this area;
  6. Please provide information about your social media experience if you have any, as you may be required to assist the Editor or take on the social media person in full.
  7. How do you feel about taking on this volunteer experience, knowing it may be a number of years before SPAG Magazine begins to pay its way, before even paying its team?
  8. Please provide information about your social media experience if you have any.
  9. If  you have limitations in some of your skills, would you be interested in growing your skills such as undertaking a relevant course, even if the costs cannot be met by SPAG Magazine.?

Contact our Editor, Vicki Nunn via email for further details or if you have any questions email:  spagmag1@gmail.com

 

 

News Snippets from Around the World

News Snippets from Around the World
News Snippets

Keeping you up to date on what’s happening around the world. Topics include items connected to Christianity and that impact on practising our faith, news on ethical issues, also news on countries who persecute Christians, and topics that affect our culture, additionally ones that impact upon Israel and Jewish people, and those which may possibly be a reflection of end times and associated prophecies.

Note: we endeavour to keep the news snippets updated weekly, but due to time restraints, it may not always be possible to do so.

FEBRUARY 2021

17th: Covid-19 pandemic ebbs globally: Infections down 16% last week, deaths drop 10%: New cases decline for past five weeks, with a decrease of 50% since first week of January as outbreak subsides in most world regions, World Health Organization says. (The Times of Israel) [link]

15th: 46 residents in Spanish nursing home die after receiving Covid-19 vaccine: Health authorities have reportedly halted the administering of the second shot of Pfizer’s vaccine. (LifeSite) [link 1] [link 2]

14th: McConnell, after voting to acquit: Trump ‘morally responsible’ for Capitol riot: In stunning rebuke minutes after acquittal, Republican Senate minority leader says former president still subject to criminal and civil law: ‘He didn’t get away with anything yet.’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

13th: Woman punches Holocaust survivor and rabbi son on London bus: ‘I hate you Jews:’ Witnesses say assailant also told victims: ‘It’s not your place. You took our money’; passengers intervened and asked driver to take attacker to police station but he declined. (The Times of Israel) [link]

13th: Senate delays impeachment vote, seeks witnesses after shock report on Trump call: Following reveal of shouting match between ex-president, GOP’s McCarthy on day of Capitol attack, Senate extends trial to look at evidence; earlier McConnell said he’d acquit. (The Times of Israel) [link]

13th: US Senate acquits Donald Trump of inciting insurrection in Capitol assault: After days of deliberations and last-minute drama that almost saw trial extended to call in witnesses, chamber votes 57-43 to convict, short of two-thirds majority needed (The Times of Israel) [link]

12th: Hospital Staff Encouraged to Use ‘Chestfeeding’ over ‘Breastfeeding’ to Push Inclusivity: Several hospitals in Great Britain are telling their staff to incorporate gender-inclusive language over gender-specific language in an effort to include transgender and non-binary patients. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

12th: Worldwide coronavirus case count plunges by almost half in last month: New infections now at lowest level since October; epidemic is picking up speed in Iraq; US still has highest number of new cases and new deaths (The Times of Israel) [link]

12th: Hallmark Channel Promises More LGBT Characters: ‘This Is Who We Are,’ CEO Says: The head of the Hallmark Channel’s parent company said this week the network remains committed to including LGBT characters in storylines and that fans will see “more of that” in the future. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

12th: Survey: More Than a Quarter of White Evangelicals Believe Core QAnon Conspiracy Theory: A new survey reports more than a quarter of white evangelical Protestants believe a QAnon conspiracy theory that purports former President Donald Trump is secretly battling a cabal of pedophile Democrats, and roughly half express support for the debunked claim that Antifa was responsible for the recent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

12th: Accounts of spiritual abuse, sexting and rape in investigation of Ravi Zacharias: An investigation into alleged sexual misconduct of the late Ravi Zacharias has found significant evidence of sexual misconduct (Eternity news) [link 1] [link 2]

11th: Planned Parenthood worker warns kids claiming trans identity are being used as ‘cash cows:’ A Planned Parenthood employee is speaking out against the organization’s practices of dispensing cross-sex hormones to trans-identifying teenagers, particularly distressed girls. (The Christian Post) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

11th: ‘Great News’: 6 of 8 Leading COVID-19 Vaccines Were Not Produced Using Abortion Cells: A majority of COVID-19 vaccine candidates did not use cell lines from abortions in their development or production, although the four most high-profile vaccines are split on the issue, according to an analysis by the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

11th: It works: 0 deaths, only 4 severe cases among 523,000 fully vaccinated Israelis: HMO data a week after 2nd dose shows 93% effectiveness, ‘unequivocally’ proving vaccine’s success and leaving ‘no doubt’ it’s saved many Israeli lives, says Maccabi official (The Times of Israel) [link]

11th: Flyers in tram blame Jews for pandemic, Germany: Leaflet in Cologne falsely says leading German politicians are Jewish, attacks ‘Jews in politics and media.’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

11th: French nun, Europe’s oldest person, turns 117 after surviving Covid-19: Sister Andre says one of her fondest memories was the return of two of her brothers at the end of World War I. (The Times of Israel) [link]

11th: Common asthma drug can reduce COVID hospitalizations by 90% – study: Oxford University researchers say steroid budesonide, inhaled as a treatment for respiratory disorders, effective when administered to patients within a week of first symptoms. (The Times of Israel) [link]

11th: ADF Appeals to European Court after Missionary Is Permanently Banned from Entering Turkey: In January, Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADF) submitted an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights contesting a permanent re-entry ban enacted on evangelist David Byle by authorities in Turkey. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

10th: AOC, House Democrats Urge Biden Administration to Legalize ‘Abortion by Mail,’ US: A coalition of House Democrats is urging the Biden administration to overturn a two-decades-old rule that requires pills for medical abortions be obtained in-person. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

10th: New Senate Bill Would Prohibit Boys in Girls’ Sports: ‘We Are Not All the Same:’ A bill introduced this month in Congress would prohibit biological males from participating in girls’ and women’s sports by clarifying that the language on athletics in Title IX refers to biological sex, not gender identity. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

10th: Australian court upholds continued imprisonment of extremists at end of sentence: 2017 law aimed at ‘high-risk’ offenders was challenged by Abdul Benbrika, convicted of leading Melbourne terror cell and still behind bars though his term ended in November. (The Times of Israel) [link]

10th: South Dakota Rep. Proposes Bill That Would Exempt State from Biden’s Executive Orders: Newly elected Republican Rep. Aaron Aylward of South Dakota has introduced a bill that, if passed, would allow the state’s attorney general to reject President Joe Biden’s executive orders if they are deemed unconstitutional. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

9th: Professor Says Creationism ‘Bears All the Hallmarks of a Conspiracy Theory’: The fact-checking website Snopes recently published an article deeming creationism, the doctrine that states that God created the world, a “conspiracy theory”. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

9th: Biden Is ‘Pushing Children into Transgenderism,’ Mississippi Governor Says: Mississippi’s governor is criticizing the Biden administration’s new policy on gender identity and sports, saying the new president is “pushing transgenderism” on the nation’s children. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

9th: Poland awaits verdict in libel case that could muzzle Holocaust research: Historians say lawsuit is attempt to discredit their findings and discourage other researchers from investigating the truth about Polish involvement in mass murder of Jews. (The Times of Israel) [link]

9th: WHO: Unlikely coronavirus leaked from China lab, most likely jumped from species: International health body announces findings by mission dogged by fears of whitewash, with US demanding ‘robust’ probe and Beijing warning against ‘politicizing’ investigation. (The Times of Israel) [link]

9th: Over 20,000 Sign One Million Moms Petition over American Girl Doll with Same-Sex Storyline: More than 20,000 have signed an online petition with the Christian group One Million Moms asking for Mattel to abandon plans for a story about an American Girl doll and her same-sex married great aunts. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

8th: New virus variants raise concern over COVID-19 reinfections: How long immunity lasts from natural infection is one of the big questions of the pandemic. Recent global developments have scientists worried that the calculation is changing. (The Times of Israel) [link]

9th: Iran may pursue nuclear weapons, its intelligence minister warns: In rare comments admitting Tehran is considering developing nukes, official claims it would be the West’s fault for making moves to ‘corner’ his country. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: South Africa halts use of AstraZeneca vaccine as worries grow over effectiveness: Preliminary study shows shot may not prevent transmission of South African strain, or stop mild and moderate cases — though it might curb serious cases and deaths. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: Breaking with Catholic tradition, pope appoints first woman to senior post: Frenchwoman Nathalie Becquart named one of two new undersecretaries to synod of bishops, body that studies major questions of doctrine. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: HBO Host Compares Christians to QAnon Conspiracists, Says Capitol Riot was a ‘Faith-Based Initiative:’ On Friday, HBO host Bill Maher criticized Christians for the U.S. Capitol Riot Attack while likening their faith to those who hold to QAnon conspiracy theories, The Daily Wire reports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

8th: Teen neo-Nazi who talked about ‘gassing’ Jews is UK’s youngest terror convict: Boy, now 16, avoids prison sentence, is sent to youth rehab center for 2 years after pleading guilty to 10 counts of possessing terrorist material, 2 of disseminating terror docs. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: Some Republicans Say There Is ‘Zero Chance’ Trump Is Convicted in Impeachment Trial: Some lawmakers say an impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump is unconstitutional and a conviction is “very unlikely.” (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

8th: Over 32,000 Sign ACLU Petition in Support of Trans Student Athletes: Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union, a secular human rights advocacy group, made the case for transgender males in women’s sports by saying that they do not have any advantages over biological females. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

7th: Egypt frees Al-Jazeera journalist detained since 2016: Mahmoud Hussein’s release comes month after Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain end dispute with Qatar, where the news agency is based, over Gulf nation’s close ties to Iran. (The Times of Israel) [link]

6th: Holding Iran talks, US, UK, France, Germany agree to ‘revive transatlantic ties:’ London says countries hold ‘shared concerns’ over Tehran; Biden convenes NSC; top diplomats also discuss China, Russia, Myanmar, climate change, pandemic. (The Times of Israel) [link]

6th: Paris becomes 1st capital outside Israel to adopt IHRA anti-Semitism definition: City officially adopts definition that is source of debate, with some activists saying it stifles free speech. (The Times of Israel) [link]

6th: Biden says Trump shouldn’t get intelligence briefings due to ‘erratic behaviour:’ US president says he sees no value in his predecessor receiving classified information, adding that ‘he might slip and say something.’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

6th: Reframing Mideast, Biden seems to signal new distance from allies Israel, Saudis: New administration intimates ‘it’s not business as usual’ with the way Trump ran regional ties; in key speech, Biden didn’t mention Israel when saying he was revitalizing alliances. (The Times of Israel) [link]

6th: Faith stronger in the US thanks to Covid-19, but less so elsewhere: Nearly three-in-ten Americans say their religious faith was strengthened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic last year, but the virus caused little change in the faith of the majority of people worldwide. (Eternity News) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

6th: Loose ends left after Victoria’s change and suppression prohibition bill passes, Australia: there are unresolved issues with the Bill that need to be address. (Eternity News) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

5th: ‘Chilling’: Senate Democrats Defeat Measure Protecting Babies Who Survive Abortion: Senate Democrats on Thursday defeated an amendment that would have allowed for criminal and civil penalties for doctors who fail to provide health care for a baby who survives an abortion. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

5th: Biden Orders Agencies to Promote LGBT Rights Worldwide: The ‘U.S. Belongs at the Forefront:’ President Biden said in a memorandum Thursday that his administration will “advance the human rights” of LGBTQ individuals around the world by building on principles established in 2011 under the Obama administration. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

5th: Striken by Covid, church of England shrinks by 20%: The damage inflicted on the Church of England by the pandemic is revealed in a leaked internal document. (Eternity News) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

5th: Trump refuses to testify in impeachment, calls trial ‘unconstitutional’: Ex-president’s lawyer says request to have him answer questions over storming of Capitol is a ‘public relations stunt’; prosecutors say refusal could be seen as admission of guilt (The Times of Israel) [link]

4th: Biden’s Education Secretary Pick Defends Placing Boys in Girls’ Sports: ‘That’s Their Right:’ President Biden’s choice for education secretary told senators Wednesday he believes biological boys who identify as girls have the legal right to compete on girls’ teams and that if confirmed, he will ensure schools are following that interpretation of the law. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

4th: Post-Election Survey Finds Waning Interest in Socialism among American Adults: According to new research from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, U.S. adults have shown declining support for socialism as opposed to a few years ago. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

4th: Germany reports new jump in far-right crime, nearing 20-year record: Provisional figures for last year are highest since 2016; final figures could end up at highest level since records began in 2001 (The Times of Israel) [link]

4th: Churches recruited as mass vaccination sites, but not in Australia: churches in Australia have not been approached by government health authorities. (Eternity news) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

3rd: Louisiana Church Raises $125,000 to Help Families in Need Pay off Their Electricity Bills: Household of Faith Family Worship Church International in New Orleans, Louisiana, raised a combined total of $125,000 to help local residents pay their electricity bills. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

3rd: Texas Pregnancy Center Celebrates Saving 90,000 Babies from Abortion: Prestonwood Pregnancy Center in Dallas, Texas is celebrating saving 90,000 babies from abortion. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

3rd: Wycliffe Associates Produces Record High Number of Bible Translations in 2020 despite Pandemic: Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that translates Bibles into multiple languages worldwide, set a new record after producing more Bible translations in 2020 than in any given year. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

3rd: Boko Haram abductees rescued, including Chibok schoolgirls: Hundreds of people abducted by Islamist militant group Boko Haram are reportedly free this week, including at least two of the 112 still-missing Nigerian school girls kidnapped in April, 2014. (Eternity News) [link 1] [link 2]

3rd: Survey: White Evangelicals Most Likely to Say They’ve Been Harassed Online for Their Faith, US: 4 in 10 U.S. adults say they have been harassed online, according to a Pew Research Center study released Tuesday (Feb. 2). Though people responding to the Pew survey in September cite a number of reasons for why they have been targeted, one-fifth of those who have been harassed believe it was because of their religion. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

2nd: Kansas Lawmakers Vote to Approve Ballot Proposal That Suggests There Is No Right to an Abortion, US: Kansas lawmakers voted last week to approve a ballot proposal that will amend the state constitution to clarify that there is no right to an abortion. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

2nd: We will have to live with COVID-19 for a long time, says Israeli expert: new strains mean herd immunity impossible unless kids are vaccinated, leading epidemiologist says; ministry warns against reopening schools, recommends vaccine throughout pregnancy. (The Times of Israel) [link]

2nd: Theater Fired Christian Actress for Facebook Post Citing Bible Verses on Homosexuality, Suit Says, US: a British actress is alleging religious discrimination after she was fired by a theater company when an old Facebook post citing Bible verses became public. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

2nd: Martina Navratilova, Others Oppose Biden’s Transgender Sports Plan: It’s Not ‘Fair’ or ‘Science-Based:’ a coalition of high-profile activists within the LGBT and women’s sports communities is urging the Biden administration to limit the participation of transgender girls and women in women’s sports, arguing it’s necessary to protect the future of women’s sports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

2nd: Indian court orders abortion on teen girl: ‘The fetus wouldn’t wish to be born:’ the teenager was ordered by a court to abort her baby. (Live Action News) [link 1] [link 2]

2nd: Fiction sold as fact to kids: Buzzfeed has joined the chorus of those indoctrinating children into the science-denying, reality bending world of make-believe genders. (Binary) [link 1] [link 2]

1st: Victorian Liberal Democrats oppose conversion therapy bill, Australia: Victorian Liberal Democrats David Limbrick and Tim Quilty have issued a statement declaring they will not support the radical ‘conversion’ therapy bill. (Binary) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

1st: Belgian prime minister’s home daubed with swastikas: Vandalism comes as Alexander De Croo faces series of criticisms, including from hardline Flemish Nationalists, over allegedly undemocratic nature of anti-COVID restrictions. (The Times of Israel) [link]

1st: French lawmakers debate bill to root out country’s radical Islam: interior minister says legislation protecting secularism and setting up oversight of religious institutions aims to stop ‘an Islamist hostile takeover targeting Muslims.’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

1st: Texas High School Starts Student-Run Grocery Store That Offers Free Food, Clothing to Families in Need, US: a student-run grocery store stocked with free food and clothing was started in the North Texas area of Sanger after a school official noticed the Coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns caused many in the community to fall below the poverty line. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

1st: half of US pastors report that consipiracy theories are circulating in their churches, US: This result from a survey of 1007 senior or sole pastors of Protestant churches indicate that conspiracy theories are widespread across American churches. (Eternity News) [link 1] [link 2]

1st: free back to school supplies for families doing it tough, Australia: St Vincent de Paul Society is partnering with Amazon Australia to provide more than 1000 Australian students with back-to-school necessities. (Eternity News) [link 1]

1st: Open Doors partners detained, Central Asia: Local authorities arrested and detained several Open Doors partners last week for “illegal religious activity with children. (Open Doors) [link 1]

1st: Lithuania MP who blamed Jews for Holocaust quits parliament memorial commission: In speech on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Valdas Rakutis said, ‘There was no shortage of Holocaust perpetrators among the Jews themselves.’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

1st: 27 Scottish Church Leaders Sue Government for Criminalizing Public Worship: 27 church leaders in Scotland are suing the Scottish government and asking that the courts review pandemic lockdown orders that have closed churches. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

1st: American Girl Releases Its 1st Doll with LGBT Storyline: It Reflects ‘the Realities of the Times,’ Company Says: The newest American Girl doll, 10-year-old Kira Bailey, is not unlike many other dolls in the popular series: She has long hair. She wears cute clothes. She sports unique accessories. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

JANUARY 2021

31st: Israeli who recovered from COVID-19 reinfected with South African strain: 57-year-old man had recently returned from visit to Turkey, was largely asymptomatic. (The Times of Israel) [link]

29th: President Biden Signs Executive Order to Expand Obamacare: Biden signed a new Executive Order expanding the policy of Obamacare to new heights, Fox News reports. “For these reasons, it is the policy of my Administration to protect and strengthen Medicaid and the ACA and to make high-quality health care accessible and affordable for every American,” the Executive Order reads. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

29th: Kirk Cameron Announces Personal 100-Day Plan for America: Actor Kirk Cameron says he is launching his own 100-day plan for America in response to President Joe Biden’s plans for his first 100 days in office. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

29th: Christian Professor Suspended from Facebook for Post about Transgender Policy: A Christian professor was temporarily suspended on Facebook this week for expressing disagreement on President Joe Biden’s new policy on allowing transgender people to serve in the military. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

28th: Biden Overturns Pro-Life Rule, Letting Foreign Groups Promote Abortion with U.S. Funds: President Biden on Thursday signed a memorandum rescinding the pro-life Mexico City Policy, thereby allowing U.S. money to be used by international organizations to promote abortion. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

28th: Hillsong Church Leadership Accused of Spending Tithe Money on Luxuries: Former congregants of Hillsong Church are speaking out against its leadership for living lavishly off of the church’s tithes. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

28th: Army Investigating Chaplain after He Criticized Biden Transgender Policy: An Army chaplain is under investigation after criticizing the new Biden administration policy on transgender personnel and saying in a social media post they are “rejecting reality” and are “mentally unfit.” (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

28th: Professor Asserts That Heterosexual Relationships Are ‘Tragic:’ A professor from University of California-Riverside asserted that heterosexuality is a tragedy due to toxic masculinity, misogyny and bad opposite-sex relationships, The Blaze reports (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

28th: Vaccine found 92% effective in Israel, in first controlled result outside trials: Only 31 out of 163,000 fully vaccinated Maccabi members caught virus, indicating Pfizer shots living up to expectations; expert: Results ‘well within expected standard deviation.’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

27th: Christian Population in China Could Reach 300 Million by 2030, Despite Persecution: Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMillan, director of Strategic Research of Open Doors recently predicted a surge in Christianity in China as the population of believers may increase to 300 million by the year 2030, The Christian Post reports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

27th: US issues national terrorism alert over anti-government extremists: Homeland Security says attackers emboldened by storming of Capitol could target elected officials and government facilities. (The Times of Israel) [link 1]

27th: Pastor John MacArthur Warns Biden to ‘Be Careful When You Put Your Hand on the Word of God:’ Pastor-teacher John MacArthur of Grace Community Church offered a stern warning to President Joe Biden following last week’s inauguration. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

26th: ‘Unborn Lives Matter’: N.C.’s 1st Black Lt. Gov. Compares Abortion to Slavery: The first black lieutenant governor in North Carolina’s history urged pro-lifers during a rally this month to continue speaking out for the unborn, saying their activism is similar to the abolitionists’ fight against slavery in the 1700s and 1800s. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

26th: FBI Investigating Bombing at Church That Promotes ‘Hateful Messaging against LGBT Community:’ A protester threw a bomb into the First Works Baptist Church in El Monte, California that was the center of protests by those who felt the church had an “extremist, hateful messaging against the LGBT community,” as reported by Worthy News reports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

25th: Bible distributor on trial, China: Lai Jinqiang, a Christian businessman, appeared before a court in Shenzhen for allegedly selling illegal audio Bibles which are very popular in China. (Open Doors) [link 1]

17th: On 1st day in office, Biden to cancel Muslim travel ban, rejoin climate accord: Incoming US president to roll back some of Trump’s most controversial actions, take steps to expand virus testing and mask mandate. (The Times of Israel) [link]

16th: Report: Biden team already holding talks with Iran on US return to nuclear deal: Channel 12 says officials in the incoming administration have updated Israel on the deliberations, as wary Jerusalem pushes for a broader accord. (The Times of Israel) [link]

16th: ‘A terrible amount of death’: Global virus toll passes 2 million: Numbing figure reached 1 year after first cases detected in Wuhan; some wealthy countries see path out with vaccine campaigns, while poorer nations remain behind. (The Times of Israel) [link]

15th: Trump won’t resign, rages at comparison to Nixon, last president who did: report: Impeached president plans to depart White House on morning of Biden’s inauguration, CNN reports. (The Times of Israel) [link]

15th: Washington locked down as police warn of ‘major security threat’ from extremists: 20,000 troops mobilized to protect US capital ahead of Biden inauguration; city officials tell public to stay away from downtown; some lawmakers fear for safety, buy body armor. (The Times of Israel) [link]

14th: France convicts delivery man for refusing kosher food orders, will deport him: Interior minister says Algerian man, who was in the country illegally and was caught over scandal, will be expelled after completing prison term for anti-Semitic discrimination. (The Times of Israel) [link]

14th: How well does the vaccine work? Israel’s real-world stats can be globe’s guide: The international community will be watching Israel, where vital data is starting to emerge from the breakneck-paced mass inoculation campaign. (The Times of Israel) [link]

14th: ‘It pierces the heart’: Jewish leaders alarmed over anti-Semitism in Capitol mob: US community heads say riot was not so much a ‘tipping point’ for Jew hatred, but rather ‘the latest explicit example of how it animates the narratives of extremists’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

13th: World Watch List has been Released: 1 in 8 Christians persecuted for their faith. (Open Doors) [link 1] [link 2]

13th: New York City to terminate all contracts with Trump following Capitol attack: Mayor Bill de Blasio says move will stand up to legal challenges since ‘inciting an insurrection against the United States government clearly constitutes criminal activity.’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

26th: Int’l Holocaust Remembrance Day to focus on 1.5 million children killed by Nazis: Global commemoration that marks Auschwitz-Birkenau’s liberation by Soviet forces on January 27, 1945, increasingly important as Holocaust denial rises. (The Times of Israel) [link]

26th: Senate Receives Trump Impeachment Articles from House Democrats: the articles of impeachment against former president Donald Trump to the U.S Senate in order to begin the impeachment trial, CBN News reports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

25th: Biden Says He’s ‘Deeply Committed’ to Legalized Abortion, Wants Pro-Roe Federal Law: his administration will work to codify Roe v. Wade in federal law and will nominate judges who respect that landmark decision, President Biden said Friday in a statement on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

24th: Israel predicts rise in anti-Semitism, as virus-related hate is spread online: Annual Diaspora Ministry assessment finds Jews and Israel are being blamed for pandemic, laying the path for continued animosity even after crisis abates. (The Times of Israel) [link]

22nd: House Rep. Files Articles of Impeachment against President Biden: A freshman member of Congress introduced articles of impeachment Thursday against President Biden, saying he had abused the power of his office while serving as vice president under former President Barack Obama. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

22nd: Biden’s Policies on Abortion and Family ‘Advance Moral Evils,’ Catholic Bishops Head Says: The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this week said he is praying for President Biden and looks forward to working with the new administration but remains concerned that the new president supports policies that “advance moral evils.” (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

21st: ‘Forever Grateful’: Pro-Life Leaders Celebrate Trump’s Pro-Life Accomplishments, US: On Tuesday, several leaders of pro-life organizations expressed praise and gratitude for the Trump-Pence administration in their efforts to protect the sanctity of human life in the past four years. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

21st: Christian Leaders Respond to the Inauguration of President Joe Biden, US: Christian leaders across the nation voiced their congratulations and prayers for peace Wednesday as President Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

21st: Biden Signs Transgender Rights Order Forcing Schools to Allow Boys in Girls’ Sports, US: An executive order signed by President Biden on Wednesday will force schools to allow biological boys who identify as girls to compete in girls’ sports, critics of the order say. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

21st: With 15 strokes of a pen, Biden reverses Trump on climate, virus and immigration, US: Taking to Oval Office, new US president signs series of executive orders ending Muslim travel ban, halting construction of border wall, sending US back to Paris climate agreement. (The Times of Israel) [link]

21st: AI-based software scours literature to help physicians get to a diagnosis faster: Kahun, backed by Waze co-founder Uri Levine, says platform can go through text and point doctors to a recommended course of action based on medical sources. (The Times of Israel) [link]

20th: Trump wishes new administration luck, highlights Mideast deals in farewell video: President says ‘pray’ for Biden without mentioning his name on last day in office, talks up normalization agreements, as he prepares to issue pardons in near-empty White House. (The Times of Israel) [link]

20th: President Biden Quotes Bible as He Urges Unity: ‘We Must End This Uncivil War:’ President Biden quoted Scripture, led the nation in a silent prayer, and called on members of both parties to come together, saying he will be a “president for all Americans.” (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

20th: ‘Acknowledge Sin’ and ‘Make Friends of our Enemies,’ Pastor Prays at Inauguration: A Delaware pastor and a friend of President Biden asked God to help unite the country and for Americans to make “friends” of their “enemies” during the closing benediction of Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

20th: Christian Organization Calls for Firing of Franklin Graham from Samaritan’s Purse, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, US: Faithful America, a Christian organization, created a petition calling for the firing or resignation of Evangelist Franklin Graham from his roles as President and CEO of both humanitarian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

20th: ‘Christ born of Mary’: 1st proof of early Christianity found in Galilee village: Greek inscription provides evidence of a hitherto-unknown 5th century Byzantine-era church; the find ‘closes a circle’ on Christian settlement in small Jezreel Valley village Taibe. (The Times of Israel) [link]

20th: Trump Considers Launching 3rd Party, the ‘Patriot Party’: ‘We Will Be Back in Some Form,’ US: President Trump has discussed with associates the idea of forming a third party that would be called the “Patriot Party,” according to a report Tuesday that said the idea was floated amidst criticism of Trump from politicians in his own party. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

19th: US says China committing genocide against Uighur Muslims: in parting move, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ramps up pressure on Beijing with new sanctions over persecution of ethnic group. (The Times of Israel) [link]

19th: In Trump’s final hours, US crosses 400,000 virus deaths, nearly its WWII toll, US: We grieve every single life lost to this pandemic,’ says outgoing administration, while hailing president’s ‘leadership’ for advancing vaccine development in record time. (The Times of Israel) [link]

19th: Ahead of Senate impeachment trial, McConnell says Trump ‘provoked’ Capitol mob: Outgoing Senate Republican majority leader accuses US president of feeding the rioters ‘lies’ about the election and encouraging them to storm the seat of American democracy. (The Times of Israel) [link]

19th: Christian Photographer Challenges Virginia Law That Could Force Him to Photograph Same-Sex Weddings, US: Bob Updegrove, a photographer from Virginia, has filed a lawsuit challenging a new state law that would force him to photograph same-sex weddings despite his Christian beliefs on marriage. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

19th: Joe Biden to Reverse Many of Trump’s Pro-Life Policies, Abortion Restrictions, US: As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office, his administration is already planning to reverse some of Trump’s pro-life policies within the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

FREE: earlier issues of SPAG Magazine, a Puzzle Book and More – for a limited time only

FREE: earlier issues of SPAG Magazine, a Puzzle Book and More – for a limited time only

Coronavirus: FREE issues of SPAG Magazine (until 30 June 2020)

As many of us have to remain indoors due to the coronavirus for some time, we’re now providing issues 9 to 20 to you for FREE!!!  See below for links to the current and earlier issues. Check out the other booklets etc that we’re sharing with you for free as well, further down the page. (Please contact us if you’d like to subscribe.)
The latest issue is available: June to August 2020 – our fifth birthday celebration MEGA-issue: 
Our feature article is:”Fancy flying from advanced aeronautics,” and many more!
You can read it online in a ‘flippable’ format on the following link. (Note that this is on a third party website, so there may be some advertising.)
You can download a pdf (not flippable) copy on this link.
Along with our latest issue, we’re sharing two bonus booklets with you:
1. the best of the “Letters to Lou:”
2. humorous articles:

LINKS TO THE FREE ISSUES HERE:

Issue 19 (Dec 2019-Feb 2020):

pdf downloadable copy: LINK

online flippable copy (not downloadable): LINK 

Issue 18 (Sep-Nov 2019):

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OTHER FREE ITEMS:

We’ve put together a puzzle book taken from all of our 20 issues. It also includes a few other interesting pages which I think you will enjoy. Following is a link to the downloadable pdf copy: LINK and here’s the link to the online ‘flippable’ version of the puzzle book: LINK

We also created a booklet of verses of encouragement which we hope you find helpful during this stressful time. Each verse comes with a photo of beautiful scenery. Here’s the link to the downloadable pdf copy: LINK and here’s the link to the online ‘flippable’ version of the verses of encouragement: LINK

If you’d like to check out some fascinating things online, we’ve put together a document in pdf format with links to lots of different internet pages including music, Christian comedy and more as a way to encourage you to retain your sanity: LINK

You might also like to check out news snippets about the coronavirus, Christian related news items and more: LINK At the moment we’re trying to update this every couple of days or so, though in normal times we tend to update it only every week or two.

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If you have a business or organisation, an upcoming event, product etc that you would like to promote in our free international, inter-denominational, quarterly electronic magazine, please read the following details before submitting your enquiry, as we have some restrictions on what is permitted for inclusion in SPAG Magazine due to the nature and size of our publication.

General Information

1. SPAG Magazine is a Christian magazine, that is its focus, and its audience is likely to be Christian. While a business or organisation wishing to promote itself, a product or an event, does not have to be Christian-based, our policy when it comes to advertising, articles, promotions and other similar items is that any organisation or person who submits a request to sponsor or promote a business, organisation or event etc in SPAG Magazine or submits an article, photo or anything else for consideration, does so on the understanding and agreement that neither their business, their products, article or any type of promotion will conflict with our Bible-based Christian ethics and personal convictions nor shall it cause offence to Christians or their beliefs.

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*Welcome to SPAG Magazine

*Welcome to SPAG Magazine

Welcome in wood Thanks for dropping by! 

Are you a Christian? Do you love God? Do you want to be encouraged, challenged or inspired in your Christian walk? Then you’ve come to the right place.

SPAG Magazine is a FREE quarterly, electronic magazine for Christian adults. While we have a focus on singles, our articles are suitable for all Christian adults. We’re an international, inter-denominational publication, and we aim to honour and exalt God. We believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word.

The updated issue 13 is now available!

The June/August 2018 issue of SPAG Magazine is finally here and what a great selection of articles there are in this issue.

Initially, we had a problem with our “Letters to Lou” pages, but they’re now all updated and uploaded to the online issues.

Our 13th issue of SPAG Magazine coincides with our 3rd birthday! We have a great bunch of fascinating articles which I’m sure will get your thinking, and hopefully bring you closer to God.

The articles in the issue include:
– Hate like Jesus;
– Domestic violence and the church (Part 2);
– God’s gift of life: NO to euthanasia;
– Road to Damascus;
– Open Doors: from muslim sheikh to secret believer;
– Josie and the gift of singleness;
– Creation Ministries: Cuttlefish colour changes inspire new TV screen design;
– Condemned to celibacy?
and lots more!

Following are the links to the current issue:

We’re celebrating our third birthday with a whopping 60% off all of our previous issues (until the end of August 2018) so you can catch up on all of our earlier great articles, and it’s an easy way you can also help support this important ministry. (Link to our store)

Time is running out for this offer: we’re offering 50% all promotions in our September/November 2018 issue. Find out more in our promotions/advertising page here. 

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Let us know if you would like to subscribe for your very own quarterly issue. Email us: 

Warm regards

From Vicki Nunn, Editor and the staff of SPAG Magazine

——————————

Calling all singles!

 How Do You Respond to Those Dumb Comments?

How do you respond when other people make silly, annoying, rude or repetitive comments to you about being a single person? What kinds of things do they say? We had an article in the March/May issue of SPAG Magazine, sharing things that people have said to other Christian singles about their state of ‘unwedded bliss.’

If you’d like to share some of the comments said to you, please fill out the form on this page, or email us:

How do you like this humorous idea?

I’ll be doing a series of these images based around singleness, spinsterhood and bachelorhood to go into my personal shops, sometime in the near future.

I’ll put them on cups, shirts, cushions and other items.
If you like the idea, please let me know and I’ll redirect you to the shops where they’re located, once I upload them in my personal online stores.

Vicki Nunn
Editor

———————————————–

 

Becci and Robbo from the Rise and Show program on Vision FM interviewed me on 24 March about my near death experience, which I shared in an earlier issue of SPAG Magazine. Here’s a link to a copy of that interview:

Bridget Brenton from Christian Today wrote a fantastic review about an earlier issue of SPAG Magazine. You can find the review here.

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We hope this book will bring you into a closer relationship with God through praise, prayer and worship.

Here’s the link to the downloadable pdf  (link here)

OR view the online ‘flippable version:

Praise To God Devotional Booklet No. 1

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Or send along your friends to our shop.

You can also help us by submitting the following for our consideration:

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One of the items available in our store is the gorgeous “Reflections” e-book which contains over 120 pages of beautiful photos and includes inspiring quotes and Bible verses to lift your spirits as well as to challenge you in your walk. Here’s the link to buy this lovely e-book through our shop. (At present it’s only available in flippable format to view on a third party website.)

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One of the most important things you can do for SPAG Magazine is pray for us. We need prayer to not only increase our readership, but to enable God to reach out to Christians and Christian leaders across the world, with articles which will encourage, inspire and challenge them.

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Can 73¢ a day really help SPAG Magazine?

While we’ve recently overhauled some expenses to reduce costs, there are still lots of costs we need to cover to ensure we keep SPAG Magazine available and to provide it to you for free. Presently all outstanding costs are met by our Editor, Vicki Nunn who has a limited income on a disability pension. Yep, it’s almost like she pays you to read it.

Our total operating costs per quarter are around AU$662. If ten people could contribute just 73¢ a day for a year, all of our operating costs would be met. Would you consider being one of those ten people? (Perhaps you could ask nine people from your church or singles group to make up the remainder.)

73¢/day x 10 people/year = all operating costs*

Other costs:

There are also a couple of other costs as well including the Glasbergen cartoon and costs for promoting SPAG Magazine, which total around AU$100 per quarter. If ten people could contribute just 11¢ a day for a year, our remaining costs would be met.

11¢/day x 10 people/year = remaining costs*

Your generous contribution can make a big difference! You can also help by purchasing items from our online store: www.spagmag. com/shop.

Here are those 2 costs again:

73¢/day x 10 people/year = all operating costs*

11¢/day x 10 people/year = remaining costs*

Consider also that in the past 18 months or so we’ve spent $2,000 on a new computer and monitor as our old computer had been making strange noises for two years.

Would you make a commitment to help SPAG Magazine in its mission?

Our mission is to inspire, challenge and encourage Christian adults in their walk, and to honour and exalt God.

Email: 

* (NB: Wages for staff have not been included.)

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Warm regards

Vicki Nunn
Editor
SPAG Magazine


[Voice] The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.


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Believers Who Suffered Depression

Believers Who Suffered Depression

by Vicki Nunn (1 December 2016)

“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear (that results) from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.”

Stephan Hoeller

Introduction

Some Christians and churches claim that depression comes from demonic possession, or from sin, perhaps a curse, or because God is punishing us for a wrong-doing. As we discussed in the article “Can Christians Have a Mental Illness,” while on some occasions it may be the result of an ongoing sin, for most believers, depression doesn’t usually arise from these things.

We’ve looked at possible physical causes of depression as well as circumstances which may cause it. It can be the result of drug and alcohol abuse, physical injury or as part of an illness, as a side effect of certain medications, or as a consequence of physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse.

Seeking help for depression is not sinful, nor is taking anti-depressants. Getting over depression isn’t about “having more faith,” or “looking on the bright side,” or “just getting over it.” There is no pithy quote, Bible verse or inspirational saying that will snap us out of it. In fact, there are quite a number of Bible verses that speak about depression, and Bible characters who struggled with it.

Depression is not a new thing – it’s been around almost since day one!

One of the more important things we learned in that earlier article is that a good proportion of the population will experience depress-ion at some time in their life, and therefore it’s likely that many Christians will also go through it.

Being a Christian doesn’t automatically make us immune. Depression doesn’t mean that a person is lacking in spirituality or immature in their Christian walk. Do you need reassurance on that? Then hopefully this article will provide enough evidence to demonstrate that some of the strongest, most faithful believers have suffered depression – and God still loved them.

Depression

Normally in each issue of SPAG Magazine we endeavour to provide an article on one inspirational person. In conjunction with issue 7’s focus on depression and mental illness, we’re sharing a little about the lives of inspirational believers who suffered depression  – from the Bible, from history and also from the present day. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I encourage you to find out more.

If you’ve ever suffered depression, it may ease your burden to know that profound Christian thinkers, passionate champions of the persecuted and down-trodden, God-inspired prophets, and those who reached great pinnacles of wisdom and strength in their Christian walk, have shared the trials and torments of depression with us.

If those with such resounding faith, profound knowledge and deep compassion can experience the same depths of sorrow, anguish, and moments of doubt; times when God seemed silent to their urgent, tortured pleas for help or for answers; then we, the more common, ordinary Christians are not alone – we aren’t wrong or broken or in need of deliverance. For some of us, it is part of the demanding journey of what it means to be a Christian.

It’s almost freeing to know that these exceptional Christians share such a bond with us. Perhaps it is those who have never known depression and those dark, tormented nights of the soul, who miss out on this distinctive experience. Perhaps we who have known depression, are the chosen ones who God deems worthy of undergoing such an ordeal. Perhaps our journey will be all the better for it.

As bizarre and unreasonable as it sounds, perhaps there’ll come a day when we’ll be able to look back and say “Thank you Lord.”

Whatever the circumstances, depression is very real, and can have a profound and long-lasting impact on us. Those who have never suffered depression cannot understand the terrible pain and suffering it causes.

Biblical Believers Who Suffered Depression

(a) Adam and Eve

While there is no Biblical evidence to confirm it, I imagine that both Adam and Eve suffered depression after they sinned and were cast out of the garden of Eden.

Having previously been so intimate with God, it must have been devastating for them to lose that close and loving relationship. No longer did they know that kindred closeness of spirit, soul and purpose. Adam and Eve knew without a doubt that they were no longer Holy – that purity of their holy relationship with God had ceased to exist.

I’ve heard hell described as the absolute and complete awareness of our aloneness and separation from God. Perhaps in a way, it was similar to how Adam and Eve felt.

Their daily lives of toil to grow food and to survive would have been a constant reminder of the repercussions of their sin, and their unending loss.

The consequences of their sin were later brought home to them, when their own son Cain killed his brother Abel.

(b) King David

There are more than three dozen examples of David’s experiences with depression which he shared in the Psalms. In Psalm 6:2-7 we read words that sound similar to what we might say when experiencing deep depression. Along with the anguish, his words seem to be touched with frustration and even anger:

“Show me grace, Eternal God. I am completely undone. Bring me back together, Eternal One. Mend my shattered bones. My soul is drowning in darkness. How long can You, the Eternal, let things go on like this?

Come back, Eternal One, and lead me to Your saving light. Rescue me because I know You are truly compassionate.

I’m alive for a reason – I can’t worship You if I’m dead. If I’m six feet under, how can I thank You?

I’m exhausted. I cannot even speak, my voice fading as sighs. Every day ends in the same place – lying in bed, covered in tears, my pillow wet with sorrow. My eyes burn, devoured with grief; they grow weak as I constantly watch for my enemies.” [Voice]

(c) Job

We can understand why Job would have suffered depression, after he lost all he had including his children and his wealth. While he must have grieved for his children, he was able to accept that loss was part of life – he’d come into the world with nothing, and would leave the world with nothing.

When Satan was allowed to afflict Job with a terrible illness that not only caused him awful physical pain, he also lost the affections and closeness of his wife, the comforts of his home, contact with friends and loved ones in his community, and was cast out of his home town because of his disease.

Here was a different sort of trauma to the losses he’d suffered earlier. This next step meant that he’d lost everything else including his dignity, his health, and his position within society – he was even mocked by low-life people because of how far he’d fallen from God’s grace.

Additionally, he was constantly in pain which would have affected every physical movement and would likely have plagued his sleep. Lack of sleep and relentless pain alone can cause depression, but the added losses and indignities would have piled up upon his already low spirits.

He’d lived a good life and had tried to be obedient to God. When he was suffering so terribly, he questioned God, demanding a response from Him about what he’d done to deserve such harsh treatment. Doesn’t that sound a lot like what most of us would probably do in Job’s situation?

We can almost hear the anger and perhaps even a little touch of rebuke in his voice in Job 6:8-10:

“If only my one request were answered, if only God would grant me the fulfilment of my only hope: That God would be willing to crush me, to kill me, that God would release His hand and cut me off.


At least then I would have a crumb of consolation, one source of joy in the midst of this relentless agony: I never denied the words of the Holy One in my pain.”
[Voice]

We can hardly blame or judge Job for feeling angry with God. In fact, that kind of a reaction has been around since the time of Cain and Abel, when Cain became angry upon God asking where his brother was.

We can still love God and feel angry and upset with Him. In fact, it really isn’t a surprising response when we’re obedient and go through difficulties and pain and don’t understand why we’re suffering.

Eventually God healed Job and restored his blessings including more children and wealth, and a long, healthy life.

For most of us though, restoration of good health, the return of our wealth, or a child or a partner to replace one we’ve lost, don’t usually happen, and our pain and suffering may remain with us.

(d) Elijah

Elijah was one of several people in the Bible who suffered depression. Here was a man that saw some incredible miracles including ravens sent by God to feed him when he was hungry; provision of food for himself, a widow and her son during a famine; and then Elijah raised the woman’s son from the dead after he passed away.

On another occasion he prayed to God to send fire down from heaven to burn up his sacrifice, to show His power to Baal’s prophets and to the Israelite people. The Israelites saw God’s power and were filled with fear, awe and wonder.

In the same chapter we read that he was able to supernaturally run faster than Ahab who’d left earlier in his chariot!

Despite all of those amazing miracles, he knew and trusted God, and yet Elijah sunk into a terrible depression, even seeking to die.

In 1 Kings 19:4 we read:

“He journeyed into the desert for one day and then decided to rest beneath the limbs of a broom tree. There he prayed that his life would be over quickly and that he would die there beneath the tree.

Elijah: I’m finished, Eternal One. Please end my life here and now, even though I have failed, and I am no better than my ancestors.” [Voice]

After he overcame his depression, Elijah continued in his work for God, and took on Elisha as his apprentice. Later, as his time on earth drew to a close we read in 2 Kings 2:11b:

“A blazing chariot pulled by blazing horses stormed down from the heavens and came between Elijah and Elisha. Then Elijah was swept up into heaven by the fiery storm.” [Voice]

God favoured Elijah so highly, that he took him straight up to heaven! Surely then we must consider that depression is no hindrance to being close to God, or for God to accept each of us completely, or for us to be able to do His work.

(e) Other Bible People

You may like to read about other Bible people who suffered depression, such as: Jeremiah; Hannah; Jonah; and Jesus.

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus spent time in prayer, His spirit in distress. While not necessarily depression, He was in extreme anguish so great, that he sweated drops of blood.)

Christians in History Who Suffered Depression

(a) C.S. Lewis

Most of us know Lewis’ work from his beloved Narnia series. Lewis, was a great Christian thinker who also wrote books on theology, and yet for such an intellectual who understood God so well, he suffered depression.

After his wife died of cancer, just three years after they married, he wrote of his experience, when he desired an answer or some kind of sign from God:

“…But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.” (“A Grief Observed.”)

Lewis struggled to connect with God during his difficult days, to focus his heart and mind on God, just as many of us do. In his book, “A Grief Observed,” he said of his suffering:

“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”

And when it seemed to him that God wasn’t responding:

“’Knock and it shall be opened.’ But does knocking mean hammering and kicking the door like a maniac?”

(b)  Mother Teresa

The compassionate and caring nun, Mother Teresa is often presented to the world as an iconic image of supreme Christian service, of one who was content in her work, faithful in her service and unwavering in her devotion to God.

There was also the Mother Teresa that few of us know, who suffered depression and struggled to find God, especially during periods of dark despair, but her soul hungered for Him even when she didn’t sense His presence.

In her book “Come Be My Light,” (edited by Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC) she said:

“I want to smile even at Jesus and so hide if possible the pain and the darkness of my soul even from Him.”

And later she wrote:

“With regard to the feeling of loneliness, of abandonment, of not being wanted, of darkness of the soul, it is a state well known by spiritual writers and directors of conscience. This is willed by God in order to attach us to Him alone, an antidote to our external activities, and also, like temptation, a way of keeping us humble in the midst of applauses, publicity, praises, appreciation, etc. and success.”

(c)  Other Christians in History Who Suffered Depression

Other well-known Christians who suffered depression included: Charles Dickens; Martin Luther; John Calvin; John Wesley; Handel; Emily Dickinson; Sir Isaac Newton; Charles Spurgeon; Pope Francis; Florence Nightingale; and many more.

Well-known Christians of Modern Times Who Suffered Depression

(a) Barbara Bush

The former first lady of the USA suffered terrible depression in the 1970s. According to a New York Times article, she sometimes had to stop her car on shoulders of the highway because she feared that:

“…she might deliberately crash the vehicle into a tree or an oncoming auto.”

(b) Joyce Meyer

Joyce was abused as a child which impacted on her emotional and mental development enormously, and led to her depression. In her article “Is it Really Possible to Beat Depression?”she said:

“I know what it’s like to be depressed. For many years I was unstable emotionally because of abuse that I experienced during most of my childhood. It caused me to be negative, critical, and easily discouraged. I used to believe that it was better not to expect anything good to happen to me because if nothing good happened, I wouldn’t be disappointed. But I was still miserable and had no peace.”

Joyce believes that we can allow depression to take hold of us, and that there are ways to stop it. She said:

“Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement.”

(c) Other Well-known Christians of Modern Times Who Have Suffered Depression

Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of Christ” has suffered depression.

Others in this group include: John James (Newsboys); Sheila Walsh (singer and talk-show host); Tina Campbell (Mary Mary); Richard Smallwood (gospel music artist); Buzz Aldrin (astronaut); Lecrae (hip hop artist, record producer and actor); Kevin Sorbo (actor); Mel Gibson (actor, director and producer); and Ashley Judd (actor).

Conclusion

For each of us who suffer depression or other mental illnesses, our journey and our experiences may be different, but we are bonded together in a unified Christian experience.

We aren’t alone in our suffering. The similarities of our anguish, the deep depths of our depressions, the struggles of our condition, the unanswered, perplexing questions and even at times, silence from God show us by their similarity that God has found a way to stretch us and shape us, even sometime agonisingly, but purposefully into something more than we were before.

We may not see that we’ve changed for the better, or understand that the suffering that we bore began a transformation within us.

While in the midst of our struggles, sometimes we feel torn, broken, battered and weak with trembling, God isn’t unaware of the battle we are waging, He is not absent from us though His silence may make it seem that He is.

These troubling experiences and depression are another part of our journey. Perhaps we undergo this pain and suffering because there was something deep in us which God needed to change or to remove from us, which required such a forceful and intense experience.

When we take those final steps at the end of our human journey and find ourselves standing before God, instead of asking Him “Why?” our minds, hearts and soul will grasp it at last and we will say, “I understand.” [End]

 

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“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.”

Elizabeth Wurtzel

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eye-with-tears-and-makeupsm

 

alone-sad-depressed-mansm

 

After Adam and Eve sinned, there were cast out of the garden of Eden, and realised their separation from God.

After Adam and Eve sinned, there were cast out of the garden of Eden, and realised their separation from God.

King David in prayer

King David in prayer

Job and his friends

Job and his friends

Elijah destroyed the messengers of Ahaziah by fire

Elijah calling down fire from God

Jeremiah in the ruins of Jerusalem

Jeremiah in the ruins of Jerusalem

Jesus and the crown of thorns

Jesus and the crown of thorns

Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

John Calvin

John Calvin

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton

Handel

Handel

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Bibliography:

[Voice] The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
Ekstrand, Dr DW, no date, The Transformed Soul “Dealing with Anger Toward God,” available: http://www.thetransformedsoul.com/additional-studies/spiritual-life-studies/dealing -with-anger-toward-god – accessed 04/11/16.
McDaniel, Debbie, 4 May 2016, Crosswalk.com “7 Bible Figures Who Struggled with Depression,” available: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/7-bible-figures-who-struggled-with-depression.html – accessed 04/11/16
No author, no date, A Christian Faith “Psalm 42 – Spiritual depression,” available: http://www. christianfaith.com/resources/psalm-42-spiritual-depression – accessed 04/11/16
No author, no date, Wikipedia, available: www.wikipedia.org – accessed 04/11/16
Borchard, Therese J, no date, Beyond Blue – A Spiritual Journey into Mental Health: “Mother Teresa: My Saint of Darkness and Hope,” available: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/beyondblue/2007/08/mother-teresa-my-saint-of-dark.html – accessed 04/11/16
Justice, Jessilyn, 21/08/15, Charisma News: “When Famous Christians Suffer Public Depression,” available: http://www.charismanews.com/culture/51159-when-famous-christians-suffer-public-depression, accessed 04/11/16
Carey, Jesse, 9/12/14, Relevant: God – “7 Prominent Christian Thinkers Who Wrestled With Doubt,” available: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/7-prominent-christian-thinkers-who-wrestled-doubt”- accessed 04/11/16
Meyer, Joyce, 20/12/10, CP Living: “Is It Really Possible to Beat Depression?” available: http://www.christianpost.com/news/is-it-really-possible-to-beat-depression-48134/ accessed 04/11/16.
Skinner, Michael, no date, “Famous People With a Mental Health Concern/Illness,” available: http://www.mskinnermusic.com/home/advocacy-2/famous-people-mental-health-concern-illness/ accessed 04/11/16.
James, John, 2016, Full Gospel Businessmen’s Training: “John James,” available: http://www.fgbt.org/Testimonies/john-james.html accessed 04/11/16.
Heitzig, Skip, no date, Christianity Today “Journey Through Spiritual Depression,” available: http://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2001/february-online-only/cln10214.html accessed 08/11/16
Kolodiejchuk, Brian, 4 September 2007 by Doubleday Religion “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta”
Wines, Michael, September 8 1994, The New York Times: “In Memoir, Barbara Bush Recalls Private Trials of a Political Life,” available: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/09/08/us/in-memoir-barbara-bush-recalls-private-trials-of-a-political-life.html accessed 10/11/16
Lewis, C.S., Published April 21st 2015 by Harper San Francisco, “A Grief Observed,” accessed 09/11/16

Having Struggles?

Having Struggles?

Here are some articles which you may find helpful if you are going through struggles. We will continue adding to these as we share them in issues of SPAG Magazine. If you have an issue or a topic that you’d like us to cover in an upcoming issue, please let us know. You can complete the form at the end of this page, or email us at: 

Can Christians Have a Mental Illness?

Five Key Ways to Support a Friend (or Stranger) With a Chronic or Invisible Illness

Good Grief: Coping with Chronic Illness

Happiness Habits – Articles on Learning How to be Happy:

  1. Keep a happiness journal;

  2. Forgiveness and friendship;

  3. Difficult decisions;

  4. Friendship;

  5. Understanding yourself;

  6. Putting off procrastination;

  7. Derailing Depression (parts 1-3)

Believers Who Suffered Depression;

Let’s Talk About Sex;

  1. Introduction

  2. Purity (or the world is not enough);

  3. Masturbation and celibacy;

Where is the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Why Do I have Trouble Making Friends?

Tell us what topic or article you would like us to share in a future issue of SPAG Magazine:

General Articles

General Articles

 Please contact us if you have any queries.

Humorous Articles

Humorous Articles

Being a single person can have it’s challenges, and sometimes the way we are treated or even ignored, can be very discouraging. With that in mind, we occasionally share a humorous article in SPAG Magazine. Here are the links:

Tell us what topic or article you would like us to share in a future issue of SPAG Magazine: