Sunday 29 September 2019


“Don’t be afraid I am here” I can’t think of more reassuring words from the Lord than these.

Our lives are a journey of highs and lows, of spectacular sunsets and dreary rainy days, of times of plenty or times of famine.  We often forget in the good times that in only a breath of time everything can change and we can find ourselves scratching around for things to make us feel good, to lift our spirits, to get us through each day. When we are experiencing good times its wonderful, every day feels lighter, smiles come easily and we treat others so much better because we ourselves are “in a good place”.  We find it easy to give thanks, easy to pray, easy to be generous towards God and towards others.  

It’s easy to look at someone who displays these qualities and say “what a wonderful Christian, always so thankful and prayerful and so wonderful to everyone, I wish I was more like them”. But you would not gain a true picture of a person unless you also observe them in hard times and see their reactions then.  Its how we act in these times that defines our lives, and displays the truth we have within us.

The disciples were such a group of people; and so very like us. They heard the words of Jesus and set their hearts and lives to follow him, and as they travelled with Jesus, they experienced all the different emotions and experiences we all do in seeking to follow the Lord. We can learn such a lot from looking at their reactions if we are wise enough to learn from them.

In John chapter 6 we join the disciples on the far side of the Sea of Galilee surrounded by a huge crowd of people, all come to hear Jesus and to be healed, or to witness healings. Jesus then turns to Philip and asks him where they can get enough food for all these people. Shocked Philip explains that even if they worked for a month, they would not have enough money to buy food for all these people.  Well we all know the story.  A child donates their lunch and Jesus performs a spectacular miracle and over 5000 people are fed.  Not only that but there is a whole load of food left over!  

I don’t know about you but I have never witnessed a miracle like that, but I feel that if ever I should I would never doubt or fear ever again. What an amazing high, to see so many people fed with so little, to see Jesus demonstrate His power to such an extent, and to watch His love and concern for those who had come to hear Him that He saw they needed food, and miraculously provided it. Surely such a miracle would result in immovable faith in the Lord. 

But later that same evening we again see the disciples together. This time they are down by the shore waiting for Jesus to join them (he had gone into the hills to be by Himself). They wait for a while and slowly the sun sets and it starts to get dark and a bit colder. I can imagine they sit and discuss what might be keeping Him, what they should do, wondering why He is away so long, doesn’t He realise they are waiting, doesn’t He realise it`s getting dark and cold?  What could be keeping Him? Has He left and gone somewhere else, why didn’t He let them know He would be gone ages?  Honest what are they supposed to do!?  So they did what they thought best, what they usually did when they didn’t know what else to do they got into a boat and headed out across the sea.
This got me thinking. How often when I  have been really blessed seeing the Lord do amazing things or heard brilliant teaching, or sat in exciting meetings where the Spirit of God seems so near I felt I could touch Him, I have expected this experience with the Lord to last forever, to be my `norm` from now on. I expected that I would never again doubt or fear or feel directionless.  But in the story, we see how oh so quickly the disciples stopped waiting for the Lord, made their own decision and reverted to their usual solutions. They got into a boat. I have got into my boat more times than I care to say!  I have come from these wonderful times with the Lord and when the feelings of closeness are not quite the same, or when difficulties cross my path or when prayers seem not to be answered I have not waited for the Lord, I have not sat quietly for His voice, for his direction, for his gentle guidance instead I have gotten into my boat and set out to sea. 

We can learn such a lot from the next part of the story. There were the disciples rowing across and now gale swept lake over sea that was now rough heading towards Capernaum.  They had been rowing for a few miles, plenty of time to reflect on the wisdom of the journey, plenty of time for blaming themselves, or each other for their predicament and plenty of time to doubt and question why the Lord had not come, why He had left them so long and why He had not been concerned for them! The Bible tells us at this point (John ch 6 v 19) that suddenly they saw Jesus walking towards them on the water and they were terrified.  Why were they terrified?  Did they not recognise Him, did they think He had been killed and they were seeing His ghost!?  Maybe they thought He would be angry with them for setting off without Him or would chide or reject them for getting themselves into such a mess by not waiting for Him. All thoughts I've had during times of heading off on my own. But Jesus called out to them “Don’t be afraid I am here!”  The bible says `then they were eager to let him into the boat and immediately they reached their destination.`

“Don’t be afraid I am here” I can’t think of more reassuring words from the Lord than these. No rebuke no questioning of behaviour no `well you didn’t wait for me so why should I help you!?` but the gentle words of love from a caring and loving friend and Saviour. Again, words I've often heard, words that have brought me to tears. Why is the Lord so gracious to us, why does He rescue us time and time again I don’t know I just know He does, because He loves us with an everlasting love not a love dependant on our whims or short fallings. 

This reading has spoken to me over the last few days in a number of ways.
It’s great to feel close to the Lord, to experience His favour on our lives and we should be very grateful for these times, but it is important to realise that the Lord is the same Lord in good and hard times. Like the disciples, it’s easy to stop waiting when it feels like the Lord is far away, when it feels like He is not answering your prayers, when you feel deserted.  Its tempting to resort to your own way, your own thoughts, your own solutions but they often do not lead you to the destination the Lord has for you, and they can be fraught with storms and problems. And the biggest danger is often after a time of blessing and plenty, we get complacent and forget how to wait on the Lord or how to stand by faith not by sight.  We need to ever keep our eyes on Him, wait for Him and guard ourselves from becoming dissatisfied or dismayed and getting into our own boat and setting off in our own direction.
Thank You, Lord that you always watch over us and draw near to us when we might have strayed away.  That Your words to us are always don’t be afraid I am here and thank you Lord when we invite you into our boat You lead us to our destination You have for us. 

Author: Jan Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life

Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and others.

Sunday 22 September 2019

Redemptive Gift

Whatever talents and abilities we may have, God uses them to give us a platform to give Him ALL the Praise.

We all have a gift that God has given to each one of us, and each are different, so we should use them for the glory of God. God has given us certain gifts in relationships, skills, experiences and attributes that He enables us to use, to fulfil His purpose in our lives.

He used a beauty pageant to position Esther as Queen of Persia and stop the genocide of the Jews. He used Nehemiah’s diligence as a cupbearer to the king to position him for royal favour that would result in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. He used David’s musical ability to give him access to the king of Israel. He used Joseph’s imprisonment and gift to be able to interpret dreams to save nations from famine. He used the zeal of someone who persecuted the church of God, known as Saul of Tarsus, and after his conversion known as the apostle Paul, to spread the gospel to the gentiles through his missionary journeys while writing half of the New Testament.

If God can use all these people, He can surely use us. If we are willing to be obedient to Him. Yes God wants to use us, there are no exceptions. How does that quote go about ‘God  not always calling the qualified, but aways qualifying the called.’ In fact, He’s cultivating talents within us that will serve His Kingdom purposes in ways we are unaware of right now. It may be our God given athletic abilities, or our musical talents, or it may be our creative genius, it may be our idiosyncrasies, or it could just be our good old fashioned work ethic. Whatever talents and abilities we may have, God uses them to give us a platform to give Him ALL the Praise. No matter what it is, it’s a gift from God that is to be used for His Glory.

Success is doing what we can with what we have, when we can, where we are. It’s not based on circumstances, wealth, power or platform potential, it’s stewarding every opportunity in every way, every day.

So today, let’s use what God has given us.

Author: Herbert Jean

May God bless and enrich your life

Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and others.

Sunday 15 September 2019


But Jesus, our kinsman redeemer, has looked on us with favour.  We have been brought near because of his sacrifice, receiving his ‘shalom’ (peace) even though we were far off.

Living in a rich nation with an over-abundance of food provision, supermarket shelves stacked high, obesity, and an appalling quantity of perfectly edible produce thrown away, it is likely that we fail to understand the true meaning of gleaning. 
Through the centuries the poor have been collecting the leftovers after the harvesters have taken all that is commercially viable from the crop.
Right up to the 18th century it was the legal right of English ‘cottagers’ to glean harvested fields, and of course in many impoverished parts of the world it is still survival for many.
The Hebrew book of the Law commanded farmers not to reap a field right to the edge, nor to gather gleanings (Leviticus 23:22 “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.”) nor to return for a forgotten sheaf but to leave them for the sojourner, the orphan and the widow. (Deuteronomy 24:19 “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.)
Ruth, in the book entitled by her name, arrived with her mother-in-law in Israel just as the barley harvest was beginning.  Both were widows, and knowing their desperate poverty she asks Naomi if she may go to the fields to pick up the leftovers of the barley harvest, and barley was of less value than wheat, so back-breaking work for a tiny return.  But she finds favour in the field of Boaz who becomes her ‘kinsman redeemer’ and subsequently her husband.
Ruth had everything against her.  As a woman already subservient, as a widow ignored, as a sojourner dependent on charity, as a foreigner outside of the promises of God, and worse still of the Moabite nation which was prohibited entry to the assembly down to the tenth generation (Deuteronomy 23:2 No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD).  This delightful story tells how she received mercy, grace, acceptance and inclusion, becoming the great grandmother of the great king David, and therefore part of the genealogy of the official human line of Jesus.
We are all spiritually gleaners.  Naturally we are sinners and deserve nothing from God; separated from Christ, alienated from Israel’s heritage, strangers to his promises, without hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2). No rights, no status, before God we are all beggars and gleaners.
But Jesus, our kinsman redeemer, has looked on us with favour.  We have been brought near because of his sacrifice, receiving his ‘shalom’ (peace) even though we were far off.  Jesus has broken down every dividing wall of hostility and given us access to Father God.  In drawing close to Him we are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and have become members of God’s household – part of His family.

Author: John Plumb

May God bless and enrich your life

Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and others.

Sunday 8 September 2019

“We are not made to fit in. We are born to stand out”

As if drawn like a moth to the flame, avoiding offence, we Christians allow more and more without challenge until we can’t tell where the world ends and the church begins.

In an interview with Dave Cooper in 2010 ( Jim Caviezel (the actor who played Jesus in “The passion of the Christ”) said, “Set yourselves apart from this corrupt generation my brothers and sisters. We are not made to fit in. We are born to stand out”. His comment was adapted from a quote attributed to various people. He used it to encourage Christians not to compromise by trying to fit into the world’s system of values and beliefs, rather to stand out as people with a different way of being, thinking and acting.

Jesus had some things to say about our relationships with the rest of the world that closely align to the point that Caviezel was making. John 15:19 records: 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you”. Jesus was saying to His disciples – because you follow Me you will be different, because you are different people will notice the challenge that you make to their life style and life choices and hate you. Furthermore, the previous verse says: ''18 If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you”. In other words, because the world hates Jesus and what He stands for the World will hate us because we are like Jesus.

Jesus is so clear about this expectation that in Luke 6:26 He says plainly: 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets”. In other words, if “the World” has no quarrel with us, we should be concerned because it was fully Jesus’s expectation that this is exactly what would happen. Matthew 10:16-17 says 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues”.

A significant proportion of the church today knows only too well what it means to be under direct persecution. Many of our brothers and sisters overseas face the possibility and/or probability of death every day or other sanctions in their daily life – threats, abuse, and violence. For them the pressure to “fit in” must be sometimes overwhelming, especially where close family members are threatened. So, what are we to think in the West about all of our attempts to show that we are modern, up-to-date members of society getting on well with everyone and giving no cause for offence?

2 Timothy 3:1-5 says: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away”! Paul says there will arise a form of Godliness not based upon the Word of God but upon worldly values which will sneak into our churches in apparently harmless ways. It will appear Godly, but will give no offence to the world and its values, and have no power. As if drawn like a moth to the flame, avoiding offence, we Christians allow more and more without challenge until we can’t tell where the world ends and the church begins. In other words, we have allowed society and cultural norms to determine what our faith is, and forgotten the price that Jesus, the Lord of all Creation, paid that we should be transformed. In our efforts to be “sinner friendly” we have become indistinguishable from “sinners”.

Here is the judgement of Jesus on the state of affairs where the church has replaced reliance on the Word of God with the traditions of men: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” (Matthew 15:8-9). It is distressing to observe traits at work in the western church where success can be counted in terms of numbers, offerings, buildings, published programmes, coffee and cake instead of Holy Spirit conviction, and leaders armed with education and theory, rather than the calling and equipping of the Holy Spirit. When Lester Sumrall met Smith Wigglesworth ( he recounts that Smith greeted him at the door and asked him what was under his arm. When Lester said the daily paper, Smith told him in no uncertain terms not to bring it into his house saying that his house was a house of truth and he wouldn’t have lies brought into it. Then he proceeded to alternately read the bible and pray with Lester for about two and a half hours before giving him lunch and telling him to come again. Lester records that he at first wondered what on earth he had come to, but as he left a few yards down the street he realised that God had changed him through the encounter. Consider what our response might be today? Have you read this book or here’s a few good ideas that you might try or there’s a programme by XXX church that is very helpful… etc – but praying and reading the bible over a stranger for two and a half hours – doubtful?

So we are seeing the Western church apparently fitting in better and better to our current culture but being less and less able to give people an answer from the Lord for their lives, or demonstrate the power that is supposed to follow those who believe: Mark 16:15-18 says, 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” What a way to stand out!

Well why is this happening we might ask? Well a good chunk of Paul’s letters are devoted to warnings to the churches about those who had entered the fellowships without being born again and then proceeding to seek places of prominence. The impact was twofold. These people brought division to the fellowships and then corrupted the church families with erroneous doctrines. The impact was conflict and loss of freedom amongst the believers. For example in relation to religious Jews Paul writes in Galatians 1:6-7 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ”.

If warnings about allowing the gospel to be diluted and modified by people with their own agenda was one of Paul’s themes then another was to warn us about sin’s deceitfulness. This is a whole subject in itself but suffice to say that Paul reflected in 1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified”. The indication is that to stand out in spiritual terms we need to be awake, alert and watchful. We need to fight for the faith every day both individually and corporately and not be seduced by allowing into our lives seeds from the world’s values and mindsets which rob us of our power and freedom in Christ?

It is fashionable to follow the latest trends in church communicators and leaders, and worship leaders and worship songs. But I think that we can occupy ourselves with 1000 great sermons and the very “best” bible teachers, and know all of the latest songs and “fit in” very well with the world and not “stand out” one bit. Unless we do simply what God has told us to do and spend time with Him all of the rest will do us no good at all. We will not discern the seduction and we will not have the power to “stand out” – or maybe stand at all when our time for persecution arrives.

Author: Chris Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life

Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and others

Sunday 1 September 2019

I Stand Amazed is love, vaster than the ocean. In the garden that night He demonstrated the greatest love. Knowing that we would not always love Him back, and many would choose never to love Him at all....

I wanted to share a few scriptures and thoughts that link to a hymn I have been looking at recently. The hymn is 'I Stand Amazed in the Presence' by Charles H Gabriel, who was born in 1856 on a farm in Iowa, USA. Charles taught himself to play the family's reed organ and later went on to become a well known teacher and composer, and this hymn is one of his more recognisable ones.

For a while now I have been reflecting on the unfathomable mystery of God's love, that He chose to sacrifice himself for me, a sinful man, from whom He could receive no useful thing. The hymn begins; 'I stand amazed in the presence Of Jesus the Nazarene; And wonder how He could love me; A sinner, condemned, unclean' This makes me think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane shortly before He was arrested;

Matthew 26:36-39 'Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray'.  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me'. Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will'.

Matthew 26:42 'He went away a second time and prayed, 'My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done'.

Matthew 26:44 'So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing'

In the stillness of the garden that night, Jesus, full of anguish and sorrow, faced the prospect of drinking from the cup of God's terrible wrath against sin, and a violent and brutal death by crucifixion. He would no doubt have been tempted, as any man would have been, to flee from the horror of those trials ahead...  But here is love, vaster than the ocean. In the garden that night He demonstrated the greatest love. Knowing that we would not always love Him back, and many would choose never to love Him at all, instead cursing His name. Despite the knowledge of all of our sin and disobedience towards Him, for you, and.... (the hymn continues) 'For me it was in the garden; He prayed: "Not My will, but Thine."; He had no tears for His own griefs; But sweat drops of blood for mine'.

Luke 22:43 'An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him'.  'In pity angels beheld Him; And came from the world of light; To comfort Him in the sorrows; He bore for my soul that night'

Isaiah 53:6 'We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all'. 'He took my sins and my sorrows; He made them His very own; He bore the burden to Calvary; And suffered and died alone'.

John 3:16 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life'. 'When with the ransomed in glory; His face I at last shall see; 'Twill be my joy through the ages; To sing of His love for me'.

Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to drink of the cup of God's wrath against sin so we didn't have to. Romans 5:9 talks about this wrath, where it says: 'Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!'

And finally, Revelation 14:19-20 provides us with an agricultural representation of the end time, where God's mercy is cut off forever from those who have chosen to love sin over God, and His wrath is poured out upon them. 'The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia'. What is marvellous, and what is wonderful, is that when Jesus, by Himself, purged our sins at Calvary, He made a way for us to avoid this wrath.

'O how marvellous! O how wonderful!; And my song shall ever be: O how marvellous! O how wonderful!; Is my Saviour's love for me!'

Author: Mark Watson 

May God bless and enrich your life

Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and others