A warm welcome to the first issue of Believer’s Magazine in its new format. The introduction last month of a digital version of the BM required a fresh look suitable for both paper and electronic display, and here it is! We had elderly saints as well as younger ones in mind when we launched the digital version, and we want technology to help bring the Magazine into more hands and homes. The first time I saw an iPad being used, it was in the hands of a dear sister who was in her early nineties. She was delighted to be able to read easily again, as she could enlarge text with a simple hand movement on the screen. There are also many believers across the world who are now able to download the BM onto their phones, iPads and computers, so the potential reach is truly global.
Do I detect the odd sardonic smile out there, as some folk I have spoken to lately think that recent issues of the BM suggested a technophobic stance on our part? No such thing! The purpose of the articles on modern technology was to warn against its misuse, not to condemn its use. The line that is drawn between the two will move up and down according to the perception, preference and experience of individuals, families and assemblies. We should keep in mind the principle “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Cor 10.23). Differences of opinion on this subject, as with any other, are fertile ground in which the Adversary will be swift to sow the seeds of discord. As believers we will go into 2017, God willing, facing enough external foes. Our solemn resolve should be that “ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4.1-3).
That prospect of definite attack, especially when the enemy is unseen, and the direction of threat unknown, might seem daunting but, as we enter 2017, we need not do so with a sense of foreboding. The experience of the southern kingdom of Judah, under the leadership of Jehoshaphat, should encourage us. On receiving a report that “There cometh a great multitude against thee”, the king “feared, and set himself to seek the Lord” (2 Chr 20.2-3). Unitedly, all Judah prayed, claiming the promises of God, and acknowledging their total dependence upon Him. Could we not borrow their words as we enter another year? “O our God … we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee” (v 12).
Even as the people united in prayer, so the Spirit came upon a Levite, Jahaziel, whose message from the Lord is as much for us today as it was for Judah then: “Fear not, nor be dismayed … the Lord will be with you … Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper” (vv 17, 20). The effect of the Word of God on a praying company was immediate: “all Judah … fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord” (v 18). The powerful combination of prayer, prophecy and worship not only swelled their hearts, but it swelled their voices also. Spontaneous praise erupted from the Levites (v 19) and, as the emboldened army went out to face the foe, Jehoshaphat ordered singers to go before them. They were singing a song of victory before the battle had even commenced! They praised “the beauty of holiness”, and sang “Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever” (v 21). The outcome was united joy; “for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies” (v 27).
Whether you are reading this issue of Believer’s Magazine on paper or on a screen, engage in prayer, believe His prophets, and lift your heart in praise: “so shall ye prosper.” May the Lord bless you richly in 2017.