Saturday 23 April 2022


We can only use our time constructively if we learn what life is all about
Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. The Good News Bible is one of the few versions that translates the following passage using the definite article, putting the emphasis on 'the' time rather than just any time.

He sets the time for birth and the time for death,
the time for planting and the time for pulling up,
the time for killing and the time for healing,
the time for tearing down and the time for building.
He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy,
the time for mourning and the time for dancing,
the time for making love and the time for not making love,
the time for kissing and the time for not kissing.
He sets the time for finding and the time for losing,
the time for saving and the time for throwing away,
the time for tearing and the time for mending,
the time for silence and the time for talk.
He sets the time for love and the time for hate,
the time for war and the time for peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (GNB)

We all have time no matter how old we are or to which social circle we belong.  We all have hours and days to spend and what we do with our time determines the kind of people we become and the type of future we have. What we do with our time decides where we spend eternity.  

We may think that we can decide what to do with our time. Conversely we may have a fatalist view that our time is set and that there's nothing we can do about it.  The truth embraces both of those two extremes. Our response to the tides of time should be how to make something beautiful of every season that God has determined for our lives.  

To be intentional in our use of time we need to ask ourselves some questions as the writer of Ecclesiastes did. Is life worth living? What's the point of living? We can only use our time constructively if we learn what life is all about. If we respond to the seasons of both joy and sorrow, remembering our Creator at each stage in life, allowing Him to shape us into His likeness we will live life to the full as He intends us to live. It is God who sets the time, yet what we do with the times that God sets is going to determine whether our life is meaningful or not. That's our responsibility.  With God is always relationship, always teamwork.
He came closer to the city, and when he saw it, he wept over it, saying, “If you only knew today what is needed for peace! But now you cannot see it! The time will come when your enemies will surround you with barricades, blockade you, and close in on you from every side. They will completely destroy you and the people within your walls; not a single stone will they leave in its place, because you did not recognise the time when God came to save you!” Luke 19:41-44

When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?” Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:6-9

We live in uncertain times, just like the people in the times of Jesus on earth but if we acknowledge that God sets the times and we follow Him, allowing Him to lead us by His Spirit, we will make our time count for eternity. He will lead us into all truth and we will be able to share His good news with the people around us who haven't yet found the answer to the meaning and purpose of our lives on earth.  

Author: Betty Plumb

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Saturday 16 April 2022

Have mercy on our nation

As a nation we urgently require to have our sinfulness and inadequacy and our desperate need of God’s mercy revealed
A few weeks ago, the Lord gave me a poem about our nation, so I decided to use it as the subject of a blog. I begin each section of the blog with a verse or verses of the poem.

1.Father Lord of all creation
  Have mercy on our broken nation
  We, who once your love would share
  Have fallen into disrepair.

In Proverbs 14:34, it says: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

In Psalm 33:12, it says: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

Our forefathers knew what it was like to believe in God. They weren’t perfect but they did acknowledge that God was the supreme ruler over man and over government. Nowadays things have changed dramatically.

Alex Phillips from CBN News Channel in Britain said that the number of Britons describing themselves as Christian has now dropped below 50% with the vast majority of them identifying as having no religion at all. Interestingly he points out that statistics reinforce that, children brought up in the Christian faith are less likely to take drugs, get divorced or get into trouble with the law. He also says that even though Christianity is forced into decline, more and more are eager to have what it provides. For example, parents fight to get their children into church schools. In other words, we want the trappings of Christianity without committing to the faith itself.

I read somewhere that ‘When Christianity retreats, evil steps in to fill the gap!’. That is just what is happening in our nation today. Many churches have become worldly and false religions increase all around us. We need to heed God’s wake up call to become a Christian nation again.

Donald Scott summed it up in this poem, which he wrote when his daughter was a victim of a massacre carried out by 2 teenage boys. Admittedly this took place in America but is relevant to our nation too.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms
And our precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere
And you ask the question why.
You regulate restrictive laws
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand
That God is what we need.

Lord, have mercy on our nation and forgive us for our waywardness we pray.

2.Father Lord of revelation
   Reveal to this our fallen nation
  The truth that’s written in your word
  Our only hope is Christ the Lord

3.Father Lord of restoration
   Restore the hearts of this dear nation
   May we turn away from pride
   And in your perfect will abide

In Isaiah 65:1 it says: I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’

In Psalm 85: 4 the psalmist’s cry from the heart is: “Restore us again, O God our Saviour”

In I Kings 18:37 Elijah prayed: O LORD, answer me, so that these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.

We desperately need to see God’s glory fall on our nation today as it often fell on Israel in the Old Testament and on the Church in the New Testament to reveal Himself and restore them back to their right relationship with Him. As a nation we urgently require to have our sinfulness and inadequacy and our desperate need of God’s mercy revealed. We know that God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing. There is nothing that God can’t handle. He is sovereign. He is omnipotent and omnipresent. 

Pride is a big problem in our nation. The Bible warns us that God hates the sin of pride and will discipline the proud!
In Proverbs 26:12 it says: Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

In Romans 12:3 Paul says: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 

It is a very strong message in the Bible that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Pride considers what’s best for me, pride looks down on others, pride ignores the Lord’s counsel, pride promotes self, pride rebels against authority, pride is quick to speak and slow to listen. This is so often our culture today and is something that needs to change.

Lord, reveal yourself to our nation and restore us, we pray.

4.Lord of every generation
  We believers in this nation
  To our shame ignored the sin
  Thereby letting Satan in 

We live in a culture that normalizes sin and the church is not innocent in this matter too. For a Christian to speak clearly about what the Bible calls sin is sometimes considered to be ‘hate speech’. There can be pressure from society to ignore that which God forbids but if we do ignore it, we are not doing what God requires. We are just putting people at more risk of being ‘left to their sinful desires’. Eli, in the Bible ignored the sins of his sons. Eli grieved over the sins but did nothing to correct them. God was not pleased and he punished the house of Eli and appointed a faithful priest from another family to serve the people. So when we speak out against sin we have to use scripture. It is God’s word that is doing the judging. We are simply the messenger wanting to help people to find the right path. I read somewhere recently that the fear of pointing out sin is Satan’s plan of sending more people to hell.

Lord, forgive us when we have ignored sin and let Satan in, we pray.

5.Lord of reconciliation
   Forgive the Christians of this nation
  Through your Spirit help us stand
  Against injustice in our land

In Micah 6:8 it says: He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

The Hebrew word for justice is “Mishpat” which means giving people what they are due or deserve, whether bad or good. 

In the Bible, this instruction to do justice was especially given in regards to the vulnerable, those who were being persecuted or taken advantage of stronger groups. Christians like John Newton and others considered it their Christian duty to fight for the injustice of slavery. To do justice in our fallen world today, is to stand up for those who are denied their human rights. Jesus is committed to justice so we must be too. We can’t give the Good News of Jesus to the people around us if we ignore the injustice to the marginalised in our society.

Lord, forgive us for allowing injustice and not standing up for the marginalised, we pray.

6.Jesus Lord of our salvation
   You say there is no condemnation,
   If we love you, so let’s go
   Tell the lost. They need to know!

In Romans 1:16 it says: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

If we claim to be a man or woman of God we must act on that faith. We can’t sit on the fence or ‘be ashamed’ of the Gospel. We know that bringing someone to Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit but when we live our lives as Jesus would want us to do, when we show the love of Jesus to someone or when we share the Gospel with someone, we partner with the Holy Spirit in that work. 

Lord, help us to bring your Good News to the lost, we pray.

Author: Thelma Cameron

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Saturday 9 April 2022

God delights

How often do we actually sense that the Lord delights in us, in who we are and what we do
The covid pandemic has bought about many changes for all of us. One of the things that it has changed for me is where I sit! For my morning quiet time with the Lord, I used to sit in an armchair in the corner of the room, which gave me a lovely view of the lounge. Then during the first lockdown I moved to a different chair, which gave me a wonderful view of the garden. I think during lockdown I just wanted to see something different than four walls! But what it also gave me was a window on to the early morning activities of the garden and with it a new appreciation for the wonder of watching the various animals and birds that visit our garden on a daily basis. The squirrel that does his morning acrobatic mission impossible style visit to the bird table to see what tit bits he can gobble up; so of course, we now put extra fat balls out just for him. The little tits that dot about so quickly and need a different type of feeder away from the bird table and therefore the dominance of the bigger birds. The Blackbirds who do their wonderful little run across the lawn, so busy and so purposeful, and of course, the great lumbering fat pigeons who make such a mess and who we moan about, but we feed them non the less. But the one I love most is the tiny mouse that pops up from under the decking to dash around at supersonic speed gathering whatever food is lying around, for his family. This has resulted in us putting a special supply of food just for the mouse under a little wire cage so the birds don’t eat it first. I know people might think we are mad for encouraging mice into the garden, but honestly, I cannot tell you the delight I get from watching his antics, which always bring a smile, and a sense of delight. I was watching him again the other day, after I had placed some marmite covered corn snacks down for him (only the very best for our mouse!) when the thought struck me that if I get so much pleasure from watching a little mouse and take time to provide for him and his family, how much more does my Father take delight in me and my family. 

It’s a simple thought, but how often do we actually sense that the Lord delights in us, in who we are and what we do. I am so conscious of my shortcomings and failures that I often come apologetically before the Lord, trying to put it all right, and seeking how I might please Him. Trying hard to follow His word or do what He asks me to do, usually failing miserably. But we have been reminded so often during the past 2 years of how the Lord delights in us. We have been exhorted to realise that the Lord welcomes us into His presence, openly and lovingly so that we should not creep into His presence afraid of His disapproval, but we should come comfortably before Him as being welcomed by a loving Father who wants to talk with us and share His heart with us, and for us to share our heart with Him.  

The psalmist really grasps this and writes:

Psalm 18:19 He led me to a place of safety, he rescues me because he delights in me (NLT)  

Psalm 37:23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives (NLT)

Psalm 147:11 No the Lords delights is in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love (NLT)

Psalm 149:4 For the Lord delights in his people: he crowns the humble with victory (NLT)
It’s a total wonder to me why the Lord would take delight in me, when there are so many times I fail and frankly I don’t take delight in myself. You know, if he could, Satan would keep us in that place of defeat and mistaken identity, because it brings us into a sense of separation and alienation from God, when the truth is the very opposite. We find lots of references in the Bible that remind us how the Lord sees us and His will and desire for us.  Isaiah says “and you will be given a new name by the Lords own mouth.  The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see, a splendid crown in the hand of God. Never again will you be called the forsaken city or the desolate land.  Your new name will be the city of God’s delight and the bride of God, for the Lord delights in you" Isaiah 62:2-4 (NLT). Although this is a reference to Jerusalem, we also know Isaiah spoke these prophetic words over those that become part of the Kingdom of God; us!

A friend rang me recently to encourage me that they had received a real sense of the intense pleasure of the Lord towards the work we were involved with as a group, and that He was pleased with this work, and that the Lord wanted us to know this. It blows my mind to think that the Lord would take time to encourage us that way, but the truth is He is always encouraging us, we often just don’t choose to receive it, or believed that He feels about us like that.

There are lots of occasions in the gospels where Jesus reveals to us how much the father loves and delights in us. “For God loved the World so much that he gave his one and only son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NLT) But even that amazing truth often does not convince us that He delights in us. Delights to watch over us to commune with us. Jesus really expresses the relationship the Father wants with us in his prayer in John 17:23 (NLT) “I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me”. I could go on and on explaining from God’s word just how much He delights in us, enjoys being in our company and longs for us to just be in His presence and share in His love for us. 

So as I sit in my chair enjoying watching the daily marvel of life in my garden, delighting in watching them eat the food we put out for them, knowing it will feed and sustain them, watching them live their lives and provide for their families, looking out for predatory cats who would love to just pick them off, throwing myself wildly at the patio windows like a mad woman should any cat appear, enjoying the characteristics and personalities of each and every little creature; I am so thankful!  So thankful that my life is loved, sustained, watched over and was ultimately sacrificed for, by my creator, my God, my Father, my saviour and my protector.

Eventually, however I get tired and have to go to sleep, frankly I cannot watch over the garden all day, I am only human. But the Bible assures us that the God who loves us, delights in us and gave all for us, never slumbers or sleeps, never gets distracted, never ceases in His care for us He is God, all powerful, all present and all loving. I can have confidence in knowing that I am secure because he delights in me. Thank you, Lord.

Author: Jan Pearson

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Saturday 2 April 2022

A wonderful inheritance

David had a confidence in the Lord that He would do what He had said, indeed, this confidence is the backbone of any long-term relationship
In an earlier blog of December 2021, I wrote enthusiastically about our short trip to see our welsh family who farm near Aberystwyth. I tried to describe the beauty and thrill of travelling over the welsh hills; checking the sheep and surveying the significant progress that the family have achieved across the farm. Handing on such farm to the next generation who value it and want to continue with improvements is a pleasure to both generations. Of course, realities are never quite so clear cut, but the general principle is clear. A farm is not the only example of a  treasured inheritance. There are many family businesses where an older generation have invested their life, and the younger ones have joined bringing fresh ideas and vigour. And so, having proved themselves to be capable managers, the older generation are then delighted to transfer the business over either in their lifetime or at death in their will.

The words of the psalmist come to mind: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Now we are told that this is a psalm of David, who was the 8th son of his father Jesse. Normally, a father’s inheritance was shared between the sons, with the first born taking the prime. So he may have had a small inheritance from Jesse, but David developed a wonderful relationship with the Lord, the God of Israel. This relationship was already strong when he was a young shepherd. He testified: "The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”
We can read about David’s story in the books of Samuel and Kings, how his life was developed and tested so that he would be a faithful king over God’s people. It is a remarkable story, complete with triumph and disappointment, victory and defeat, yet full of redemption. But David had a confidence in the Lord that He would do what He had said, indeed, this confidence is the backbone of any long-term relationship. And when David was firmly established as king, he brought peace to all the borders of Israel so that the nation occupied the fullest extent of the promised land. The Lord worked with David to bring about the fulfilment of the promises made to his ancestor Abraham some 1000 years earlier: "The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

David working with the Lord, inherited the promises and was able to pass on an inheritance, However, his chief delight was not the land or the wealth or security of the people but the Lord. I want to end this brief blog with Psalm 16:

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful b one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Author: Richard Windridge

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