Saturday 24 September 2022

A Light in the Darkness

Let us not hide Jesus' light in us but put it on a stand and let it be seen by all
May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son. (Colossians 1:11-13 GNB)

When we hand over the throne of our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that His death on the cross pays our debt for every sin we have committed, Paul teaches us that we are rescued from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of Light.

What a move!!! Light has an outstanding effect on all of creation, and profoundly affects our spiritual life, illuminating all that we are, shining into all the hidden dark corners of our soul. 

“I am the light of the world,” he said. “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.” (John 8:12 GNB)

Jesus is the Light of the world. And when we are transported from the kingdom of darkness into His Kingdom of light, He tells us that we too are light to the world.
“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16 GNB)

We can't manufacture light, but we can reflect the light of Jesus. When Christ lives in us by His Holy Spirit, His light shines through us. The Lord keeps us shining, turning our darkness into light, and as He does that, His light in us can transform the darkness around us because darkness cannot overpower light but light dispels darkness.

Let us not hide Jesus' light in us but put it on a stand and let it be seen by all. Let His light reach every part of our lives and fill every day. Then this light can change the world.

In the words of the song:
"I am a city on a hill. I am a light in the darkness.
Jesus living in me can change the world.
Let my light shine... Let your light shine...  Let it shine.

Author: Betty Plumb

May God bless and enrich your life

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Saturday 17 September 2022

A new beginning

God's desire is that not one person should perish but because of the way the human race has drifted away from God, He felt that he had no alternative but to promise a salvation that mankind could never achieve
Many of you will know our dear friends Roy and Sue Westwood, who were members of the Coleshill fellowship for many years. A few years ago, they moved to Lincoln to be nearer family and after a number of years ministering in Lincoln itself, have become active in a vibrant and growing fellowship in the village of Waddington.

Sue has a Prophetic ministry and Roy is an anointed speaker who’s preaching style is “Short and to the Point” and we have been blessed many times by the word he has brought.

On 28th August Roy was asked to preach to his fellowship and God gave him a word which, although relevant to the Waddington people, had something to say to others and he shared his notes with me.

I believe the word has a significance for us, as Christians, faced as we are, with a time of massive change, not only within our country but also within MCF as we develop the work based on Victory Hall, Church at the Farm and our return to Coleshill Town Hall on 2nd October.

These are Roy’s notes which I’ve re-printed, with his agreement, slightly edited to widen the context beyond the Waddington fellowship?

“There are at least 44 fulfilled prophecies about Jesus in the Bible. Today I would like you to use your imagination:

Lets say we are in Jerusalem the days following the crucifixion. The newspaper’s have reported about this strange man Jesus. The Hebrew Herald, the Jerusalem Journal, and The Galilee Gazette are ALL reporting the same thing. I’m reading the report in the Bethlehem Bugle:

Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem 
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities; he punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
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 was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter  and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgement, he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people, he was punished. 
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.

Of course, that report wasn’t printed in any newspaper. It was in fact written in the Hebrew Bible well over 750 years BEFORE Jesus was even born. It was from the book of Isaiah chapter 53 God gave Isaiah prophetic words for Israel, and this is an incredible detailed account of the life, death and resurrection of the yet to be born Jesus.

Now let’s fast forward 700 years: Matthew 27:12-14

When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
Matthew 27:24-31: When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Matthew 27:33-50: They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews. Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

God's desire is that not one person should perish but because of the way the human race has drifted away from God, He felt that he had no alternative but to promise a salvation that mankind could never achieve. 

So, He made Jesus a scapegoat. In Leviticus 16 the priest would lay hands on a goat’s head and prayerfully place all the sins of the Israelites symbolically on the goat, like a burden of pain and suffering. I imagine that that was represented by the crown of thorns on the head of Jesus. It wasn’t placed gently on Jesus it was probably rammed down to make sure it stayed in place.

Remember that after it was placed on his head the soldiers repeatedly struck him on his head, which would have knocked the thorns deeper into his flesh creating even more pain and suffering, which he suffered for you and me. Do you realise that if you have not yet received Jesus as your personal saviour He is STILL symbolically hanging on that cross. Today I invite you to gently lift him down and let Him take control of your life so that, as he promised in John 10:10 “I come that you may have life in ALL its fullness“. Perhaps you already know the risen saviour Jesus but how is your walk going? Is it filled with uncertainties, perhaps the daily pressures seem at times overwhelming.

I started my talk by asking you to use your imagination. Let me ask you Two questions: 

Is your Christian walk with God like being in a revolving door constantly going in and out of the spirit?. 
And where will you spend eternity? 

If your answer to the first is ‘YES ‘: Well today that can change because God wants His church to be the body of Christ in the nation and to be a spirit filled group of Christians filled with and focused by the Holy Spirit, Alive and on fire for God.

If your second answer is ‘I’m not sure ‘ then in John 8:36 promises “if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed"                  

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ In His great mercy He is giving us new birth into a living hope through the Crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, And into an inheritance that can never perish spoil or fade, and this inheritance is kept for you in heaven.

Let us ask Jesus for an anointing of His Holy Spirit on ALL who read this, that they may embrace the gifts and promises you have given us.

Author: Roy Westwood and Alan Cameron

May God bless and enrich your life

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Saturday 10 September 2022

Those who live in the shelter of the most high

Knowing we are under His protection, under His provision and under His great spreading love for us we can enter His rest, drop our shoulders and relax
There are many seasons of our lives and only in looking back can you truly see them. While you are travelling through them, they are just where you are at that time, and you react to whatever is happening to you or around you. But they are seasons, and just as the seasons of the year effect what we do, what we wear and how we feel, the seasons of life do the same. We were staying at friends recently and visited the amazing National Trust property at Dunham Massey, Cheshire. The house was closed so we walked around the gardens and parkland. It was truly spectacular, one of the best we have visited. But I did notice that as the 4 of us are now advancing in years a little and have a variety of parts of us that are not as fluid as they used to be, in addition for looking out for all the wonderful plants and scenery, we were also looking out for benches upon which to sit and catch our breath or rest our legs. All of us were reflecting upon how these days our bodies seemed to hold us back from things we used to do or wanted to do, and there was an element of sadness around that. However, at one point had we not been sitting down taking a breather, we would not have seen the lovely green Parrots that had taken up residence recently at the park. They flew around us squawking and swooping and was a lovely sight to be seen, and we felt privileged that we had been able to see them. But we would have missed them if we had been walking quickly and not observing the things around us from a stationary position.  

This thought got me thinking about another stationary position I had been in recently. I spent many hours sitting by the bed of my dear mom, and during those times I would like to read her some verses of Hymns and psalms from a little book she had. One of our Favourites was Psalm 91. “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Verse 1 NLT) This always brings to mind the Lord being like a massive spreading oak tree under who`s shade I am resting, safe from the sun and from rain showers with my back tucked up against his massive trunk so that nothing can sneak up on me from behind. A place where I might relax and maybe doze in the shadow of the tree. We have been thinking about entering into the rest of the Lord, and its under the shadow of the Almighty we can enter into that rest. Knowing we are under His protection, under His provision and under His great spreading love for us we can enter His rest, drop our shoulders and relax because “He alone is my refuge, my place of safety he is my God and I trust Him” (verse 2 NLT)  Safe in the knowledge that He will cover me with His feathers and shelter me with His wings and that “His faithful promises are your armour and protection” (verse 3 NLT).

Sometimes when we are brought to a place of being stationary in the Lord because of situation, circumstances, illness or a thousand other reasons, it can be an uncomfortable place, a place where we think nothing is happening and we can be frustrated because we want answers, action, resolution!  But it is in this place the Lord often has time to remind us of what He has done and said over the years. As I sat with Mom reading these words, I often would reflect on all the promises the Lord had fulfilled in my life and her life, He would remind me of all the prayers I had prayed (and often forgot I had prayed) that He had answered to the last little point.  Had I not been resting under His shelter I would not have been reminded of these.  Some of the promises He reminded me of, encouraged me to stand on promises He had given me for other circumstances in my life other things I was relying on Him for. The Lord often takes the resting time to prepare us for action, for battle, for thanksgiving, by focussing our thoughts of His provision rather that racing ahead in our own strength.
There is another place where we are stationary, when we are asleep at night. When I was young, I used to think that the verse “Do not be afraid of the terrors of night, nor the arrow that flies in the day” (verse 5 NLT) related to actual dangers and physical arrows, and I`m sure to the psalmist they were, as he was living in a time when people were attacked during the night or shot at during the day. But honestly that has not been my experience. But I face equal dangers in the thought world. These terrors of night can be equally dangerous. The thoughts that assail you in the dark of the night, the fears, the doubts, the worries and concerns that swirl around your head when you cannot sleep and everything seems big and out of control. The fear that can grip your heart during these times can be as real as any marauding enemy with clubs and spears. And the arrow that flies by day is often the guilt we feel in the calming light of day when everything returns to normal and fears diminish with the dawn. The arrow of guilt that we allowed ourselves to be so overcome with panic and fear often makes us feel ashamed before the Lord, and shame always brings a sense of separation and isolation. But look what the Lord says “If you make the Most High your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near you home. For He will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.“ (verses 9-11 NLT). The Lord does not even want us to have a spiritual stubbed toe. His desire for us is to be strong and unafraid in Him no matter what is assailing us because He is our protection, He is our sufficiency, He is our safe place. He is the one who will enable us to “trample upon lions and cobras, and crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet” (Verse 13 NLT). So at times when we are assailed by the terrors and arrows that stop us in our tracks, lets take time to again come under the shelter of the Almighty, to make Him our refuge and shelter, acknowledging His protection and to rest in the knowledge of the promises of His word.

“I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer, I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honour them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation. (Verse 14-16 NLT)

So long life, what does that mean. I have often wondered about this because as we know some people live to be very old like my mom who lived to 96 but some Christians don’t, does that mean the Lord has not rewarded them. Of course not. I think, and like Paul says often these are my thoughts, long life comes in many forms. The thief on the cross had only hours or minutes to live once the Lord had given him the gift of salvation. Not a long life you would say, but a long life in eternity with God. But also, a long life in this world as his testimony of salvation and reaching out to Jesus has endured 2000+ years, and been used in many gospel messages. So I believe when believers die they live a long eternal life with the Lord, but they also leave a long lived testimony with those left here. I’m sure we can all think of things that those who have passed have said to us, or modelled by their life or have written down in books etc. that have lived long in our hearts or in the world as a testimony of the life they have lived because Jesus rescued them and they trusted Him. This is a blessing to us that remain and a reward to them that have passed before. 

So, Lord my prayer today is that you will enable me to be aware that the stationary times in my life are as valuable as the active and battling times. That your promises are true and enduring in all circumstances and that your desire is that I remain spiritually strong and protected by sheltering under your mighty refuge. And even if I have times of fear your desire is for me to focus on you in every situation so that I won’t even spiritually stub my toe. Lord thank you for your word which is so precious to us and such an encouragement.

Author: Jan Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday 4 September 2022

Bereitet den Weg des Herrn

We all have a unique calling of God, let us be found every day in fulfilling that call
In 2019 I began to learn German, initially so that I could be of some encouragement (perhaps amusement) for my grandson. After a time of learning together, the time came at his school to choose GCSE options and he dropped German! However, grandpa was enjoying his German lessons and has continued to try the patience of his proficient teacher. Some of you will know enough German to read and understand the opening statement, but the English translation is found in Mark’s Gospel chapter 1 verse 3. Of course, you can copy and paste it into google translator where it will read it aloud as well as translate – very useful for homework!

The German language has not changed significantly over the 500 years since Luther worked on his translation, here is the same statement, courtesy of, from the 1545 Luther Bibel: ‘Bereitet den Weg des HERRN.’ The use of the capital letters: HERRN, reminds us that the gospel writer is quoting a passage from Isaiah chapter 40 where the word LORD is in capitals, signifying that this is the Hebrew word often transliterated as Yahweh. The Lord God himself was coming! A bible commentary (NIV) on this Isaiah passage reads: ‘the language has in view the ancient Near-Eastern custom of sending representatives ahead to prepare the way for the visit of a monarch. The picture is that of preparing a processional highway for the Lord’s coming to Jerusalem.’
The voice crying out these words: ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’ was that of John the Baptist. We read in Luke’s gospel, chapter 1, about the close relationship between the mothers of John and of Jesus. In particular, I want to remind you of that remarkable greeting between these two pregnant ladies, Elizabeth and Mary. We read that baby John jumped in his mother’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice. Surely, the Spirit of the Lord was on baby John. He grew up and was educated in the house of a humble, righteous priest. We will not speculate about any further interactions with Jesus as they grew up. However by the time he was 30 and would normally have been accepted as a working priest at the temple, he was carrying out his unique ministry in the desert region by the river Jordan. 

All the gospels record that John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Many people both from the countryside and the city of Jerusalem went out to him. Those who were genuine about confessing their sin and determined to lead a more righteous life, he would publically baptise in the Jordan. The Jewish people knew about baptism, but it had only been for gentiles who wanted to become Jewish converts. This was new teaching to them. John continued to warn and prepare the people, this is his message in Mark 1: ‘After me will come one more powerful than I, the throngs of whose sandals I am not further to stoop down and untie. I baptise you with water but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’ 

So, let us who know the living Lord Jesus, continue to live our lives being led by the Holy Spirit. We all have a unique calling of God, let us be found every day in fulfilling that call. And let our prayer be that of the early church who spoke in Aramaic: ‘Marana tha’ or ‘Come O Lord’ or ‘Unser Herr kommt’

Author: Richard Windridge

May God bless and enrich your life

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