Saturday 31 December 2022

A new day, a new year

Expect great things from God always
The scripture tells us in 1 Samuel 7:12 "then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called it's name Ebenezer, saying thus far the Lord has helped us".

As we see the end of 2022 and look back, what do we see? Monuments to failure/desperate time? Wasted opportunities?

When it comes to our failures, God says in Isaiah 43:25 "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins"

When it comes to our wasted opportunities, God says in Joel 2:25 "I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts has eaten." there are never wasted times with the Lord, He uses it for His purpose.

A wise man said "If we do not learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it, it's okay to look back and learn, but if we drive and keep looking in the rear view mirror all the time, you'll end up in a ditch. Whether good or bad, don't get stuck in the past."
In Isaiah 43:18-19 "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old, behold I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth, shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert"

Isaiah 43:2-3 "When you pass through the waters I will be with you and through the rivers they shall not overflow you, when you go through the fire you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you, for I am the Lord your God.

Ecclesiastes 7:10 "Do not say why were the former days better than these?"  

Hebrews 13:8 says "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" and "God's promises are yes and amen".

As we see changes and uncertainty and challenges in the world and the church today, it is the time when we should let God the father and God the son and the Holy Spirit lead us and have our eyes fixed on Jesus. One of the dangers of growing old is that you become more excited about the past than you are about the future.

In Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope then you will call upon me and go and pray to me and I will listen to you and you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.

God has a plan for us in this new year, so hats off for the past year and coats on to the future new year. So let us put our trust and hope in God our father maker and redeemer, who has a plan for us all and so we can wait in expectation for great miracles from Him.

Wishing all a very blessed, joyful, peaceful and prosperous new year. 


 Author: Herbert Jean

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Saturday 24 December 2022

Christmas Secret

It’s not restricted to the first one winning the prize; He is the Saviour for all people who believe
Do you know a secret? Last year on my birthday, a whisper in my ear heralded good news! I couldn’t share it with others straight away, but happily a new grandchild has safely joined the family, thanks be to God. 

Today we celebrate the fulfilment of a promise given to God’s people over 2700 years ago through the prophet Isaiah, it is written in chapter 9: ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. And the government shall be on his shoulders.’ In Luke’s gospel we read of its fulfilment as an angel appears to shepherds out in the fields at night: ‘… Do not be afraid. I bring you news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord, this will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger… they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the manger.’

In ‘The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe’, C.S. Lewis conveys the moment of hearing a spiritual secret over a meal in a secluded place. The children hear the beaver whisper: “they say that Aslan is on the move..”. The individuals at the meal experienced varying levels of thrill or fear, even though they did not understand the full implications. They were roused for action by hearing this news.
Some of you who have celebrated or attended an enactment of a Passover (seder) meal, may have heard about the ‘afikomen’. This is a piece of the unleavened bread which is wrapped in a cloth and put to one side. Sometimes, it is hidden for the children to find and then after the main meal it is unwrapped and eaten. There isn’t universal agreement about the significance of ‘afikomen’, but many commentators say that it comes from a Greek word meaning ‘he is coming’. They also say that it would have been part of the meal when Jesus celebrated it with his disciples. 

So we reflect on the ‘afikomen’; being wrapped in a cloth, hidden away, found by children and then shared among those gathered. We read in John’s gospel chapter 20:

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strip of linen lying there as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

But, it’s not restricted to the first one winning the prize; He is the Saviour for all people who believe. 

Unto us a child is born!
Unto us a son is given,
He shall reign in all the earth,
He will be called Emmanuel.

 Author: Mandy Windridge

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Saturday 17 December 2022

Know Something

“We don’t have to know everything; we just need to know something!” The thing is that, that “thing” has to be the right “thing”
As many know, I like Christmas films. They fascinate me for a number of reasons and its rare that you have to turn one off because the language is foul or the content is just awful. (Some would say that the content of all of them is just “awful” and mock me for that reason; but I mean “awful” in the sense of being amoral or too violent or too dark etc.) Last night I settled down to see the first of my 2022 “Christmas quota” and there was a film that I had seen before which told the story of a number of people caught in a power cut on Christmas eve. One of the scenarios was of four people in a hospital caught in a lift.

The group was made up of what I imagine were 2 medical students, a senior surgeon and a senior nurse. There was a patient on a gurney who was under anaesthetic. The patient was a young woman who was a Christian but was a hopeless case from a medical point of view, having an inoperable tumour. It turns out that the patient had asked the surgeon to pray with her before the surgery but he could not, because he didn’t believe in God because he was a “scientist”. The situation prompted a discussion about belief between the nurse (who was a believer) and the surgeon including a short exchange about the origin of the universe.

The nurse shared about an experience that she had, had. The result of the experience was that since the age of 10 she had been convinced that God knew who she was. She concluded by saying that “we don’t have to know everything; we just need to know something”. She was saying that she couldn’t explain how the universe came into being and she couldn’t explain why a young believer had been struck down with a terminal disease, but she could share what had happened to her and knew that it was real and life-changing.

I have also been fascinated to recently listen to some YouTube clips about the universe and what we know about it. The scale is mind boggling! It’s so big that we have to measure distances in “light years”. This is the distance that light will travel in a year. Bearing in mind that light travels 186,000 miles in a second, the distance that light travels in a year is more or less 6 trillion miles. The universe that scientists can “see” from where we are is 93 billion light years across. Light from the sun takes 4 hours to reach Neptune (the most distant of our planets) and 1.5 years to reach the field of comets that mark the outer edge of our solar system. Nevertheless, you could fit 4,550 solar systems between our solar system and the next nearest star! Space is big! (For more fascinating stuff about this try this link:

What am I getting at? What’s the point of this blog? Well coming up to Christmas 2022 I came across this verse in Acts 13:41: ‘Look, you scoffers! Be astonished and die! For what I am doing today is something that you will not believe, even when someone explains it to you!’” This is Saul speaking in Antioch in Pisidia quoting Habakkuk to “Fellow Israelites and all Gentiles here who worship God”. Saul is quoting God’s answer to Habakkuk which was about God’s coming judgement on injustice. Saul quotes this to his listeners as a warning for them to heed news that the world’s saviour and salvation has come. He is quoting Habakkuk saying that it is vital that they believe the message, but there is a chance that like Habakkuk’s hearers, they will not listen nor believe the account that they are given.
Even so today - God’s message rings out true and clear in every nativity play “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). The message is unheard and unbelieved. With the coming of Jesus, the message changed Acts 17:40 says: “God has overlooked the times when people did not know him, but now he commands all of them everywhere to turn away from their evil ways”. Jesus himself starts His famous prayer chapter in John 17:3 with: “… eternal life means to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, whom you sent”. To Martha, the person always serving and working, when she complained that Mary was not helping but listening at Jesus’ feet Jesus said: “You are worried and troubled over so many things, but just one is needed. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42).

“We don’t have to know everything; we just need to know something!” The thing is that, that “thing” has to be the right “thing”. Knowing about the universe is fascinating and for those involved, trying to work out what happened at the moment of “creation” is an amazing problem to try and solve – but is it the “right” thing? What do we need God to tell us? When we were talking to some men at a prison the other week, we talked about the need to hear what God is saying to us, who so desperately need His guidance to eternal life. This is what John Wesley said:

“I am a spirit come from God and returning to God; just hovering over the great gulf, till a few moments hence I am no more seen – I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing, the way to heaven – how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way: for this very end he came from heaven. He has written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the Book of God”!

Yes! That has been God’s answer – He has written what we need to know – the something that is the “right thing” down in a book! At the moment some of us are fortunate enough to have free access to what God has determined should be written – in Adrian Plass’ words – “A love letter saying “Dear (my name and your name) – the Bible! – Love God”. The word that brings life to all who truly believe. The message of Christmas is a message about a baby in a feeding trough. It is about the God who created a 93 billion light year-wide universe being constrained into a vulnerable human body. It is about the one who created this universe coming, and being subject to human abuse, and unbelievable cruelty, spite and provocation to show us the way to His Father and eternal life. This is THE STORY – there is no other – it’s the something – the right thing that above all else we need to know. God knows who I am – how amazing is that! He cares about me!

Jesus told me not to worry because I am worth a lot to Him… Not just me all of us. His love is the same no matter how many experience it. His salvation is just as powerful no matter how many accept it. His Holy Spirit – the promise to all who believe - is undiluted no matter how many receive Him. His words will last forever. We do not know these things because we understand how the universe was created. When we meet our saviour / creator we learn that there are far more important things to know. “We don’t have to know everything; we just need to know something”. Knowing Jesus is just the start of knowing important things – what does the Lord want to show us next?

Author: Chris Pearson

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Saturday 10 December 2022

Familiarity breeds Contempt

At this time of the year the story of Jesus' birth becomes distorted and magical when in truth it is powerfully supernatural
As a congregation we are asking the Lord to teach us to pray. I was led to Matthew 8 and the story of the centurion which made me think that it has a warning for this  time of the year when we remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus.

The centurion was part of the backbone of the invading Roman army in Israel;  ruthless men of strength and character.

A most unusual trait of the centurion was his sensitivity towards his slave whom he valued highly, when we consider they used to let the old slaves die, shut in with no food or left out in the open air. They were treated as mere utensils and discarded when worn out.

This centurion had built a synagogue out of love for the nation of Israel. He sent some Jews to Jesus to ask Him to come and heal his servant. They pleaded earnestly with the Lord to do it as the centurion was so deserving.
He showed unusual humility as when the Lord wasn't far from his house, the centurion sent his servants to tell Him not to trouble Himself for he didn't deserve to have Him come under his roof.  And that was the reason he hadn't considered himself worthy to come to Him in person - just Jesus' word would be sufficient for his servant to be healed. Because the centurion was a man under authority he understood Jesus was under the authority of God the Father so he believed without hesitation that Jesus' word would heal his highly valued servant.

We say 'familiarity breeds contempt'. And at this time of the year the story of Jesus' birth becomes distorted and magical when in truth it is powerfully supernatural. A true historic account of God the Father sending His one and only Son to save us from our lack of understanding of authority.

Our individualistic ways have led us away from the Creator of heaven and earth and all mankind. Away from His wonderful plan of us being created for His pleasure, for communion and intimacy, for love and beauty and joy. We have ruined our lives and the beautiful surroundings that God created to give us an environment conducive to praise, worship, fellowship, creativity and well being.

And the coming of the Lord Jesus, righting our wrongs and offering the opportunity of new birth provides a new start.

Let us come afresh to the true historic account of the Lord's birth. The wonder of Heaven and Earth connecting in such a supernatural way for an encounter with Father, Son and Holy Spirit which is real and life giving.

Let's see the story developing and engaging in our daily living seeing baby Jesus becoming the Saviour of the world, having died for the sins of the whole world, resurrected and sitting at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the Father's command to return and reign and rule on earth fulfilling all His promises to Israel and the whole of creation. He is interceding for each one of us because He doesn't want anybody to be lost but everyone to accept His gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

Let us make room to go back to the historical accounts in Scripture from the Old Testament to the New Testament and be transformed by them. Let us be filled with the hope of eternal life in a perfect world where a God of love reigns and rules and we surrender willingly to Him.

Author: Betty Plumb

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Saturday 3 December 2022


No matter what our circumstances, our age, our health, our finances, the Lord can and will still use us to fulfil the plans He has for our lives
We live in a society where youth is revered, where products marketed to make us look, feel, and act, younger are all over the shelves. Social Media makes celebrities out of teenagers who have millions of ‘followers’ and who make fortunes out of product endorsements to people of a similar age.

We celebrate having “the youngest ever Prime Minister” (who, to be fair didn’t last long) and pay huge sums to young men and women in their late teens and twenties for developing a skill with a bag of wind on a muddy field. Young people whose careers are deemed over in their mid-thirties.

For those of us of a certain age and in my case older, we could be forgiven for thinking that we no longer have anything to offer, as age, health issues and simple physical deterioration take their toll.

Well, I’ve got news for you. The Kingdom doesn’t work that way. In God’s plan, age is valued. The biblical requirements to respect elders still stand:

“You shall stand up before the grey head and honour the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32)

Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. (Proverbs 16:31)

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days (Job 12:12)

I received an e-mail some time ago from a dear, godly, lady, who joined our church in Tamworth when she and her husband retired from the mission field after, I believe 40 years serving among the tribes in Northern Thailand. Her name is Emma and despite all those years abroad and being married to a lovely man from the Kingdom of Fife, still speaks with a Geordie accent!

She has been a widow for many years now but, despite having serious health issues remains a staunch prayer warrior and brings the fragrance of Jesus to all who meet her. She writes:

“Hi Allan, your scripture works even now 2022. Last week I gave a large bag of beautiful Thai rice to a needy family down the road from me. Then had two visitors bringing me a big bag of Thai rice from wing yip and a beautiful punnet of strawberries. Week before gave away to the Romanians last two little cardigans I'd knitted and on Sunday June came with a huge bag of beautiful new baby wool double knitting. How good is our God same yesterday today and Forever. Bless you real good."

The email was in response to the daily scripture I had sent out:
One person gives freely, yet gains even more, another withholds unduly and comes to poverty. (Proverbs 11:24)

Emma must be in her late 80’s if not her 90’s now and could be forgiven for “taking it easy”. Not a bit of it. She still has the Lord’s work to do and people to bless and will do so until He calls her home.

Another ex-missionary friend of ours, Peter, served with his wife Thelma in Senegal for many years. Again, on retirement they joined our church in Tamworth where they were active in a number of areas. Peter continued to make himself available, as needed even after he became a widower and even as his health deteriorated. His many visits to hospital as an in patient in his later years were always seen by him as an opportunity to share the Gospel with staff and fellow patients. One love of his life was the translation of the Gospel into the tribal language of the area he worked in for many years a work which was completed just prior to his translation to glory.

I use these two lovely people as an example but you don’t have to be an ex-missionary to do the Lord’s work at any age. Whilst I was pondering this blog I read the following in the daily devotional “Every Day in His Presence” by Charles F. Stanley:

Your Full Potential

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” Jeremiah 1:5

Many people wonder, God, can You really use me? Can You really make something of my life?

Yes friend – He can! No matter how old (my underlining) or young you are, the father has wonderful plans for you and is -even at this moment-training you by His Spirit.

How can you know this for sure? Because in Christ, you are God’s beloved child. You have been given the spiritually miraculous opportunity to have a personal relationship with the God of the universe. And because of that – not your strengths, intelligence, or talents; rather your relationship with Him – He can work through you in astounding ways that will thrill your soul.

You may not understand why the Lord directs you on a certain path, but if you are willing to obey Him and learn His ways, you will gain insight into His heart. Then His Spirit will enable you to carry out all the good works He planned for you to accomplish even before you were born. (Daily Reflection 21/8/22)

I felt really encouraged by this. I don’t mind admitting that there have been times during the last few years when frustration at my mobility and health problems has made me doubt whether I still have anything to offer.

But then, the example of Emma and Peter and this word of encouragement has really blessed me. No matter what our circumstances, our age, our health, our finances, the Lord can and will still use us to fulfil the plans He has for our lives. Housebound? We can still pray: “the prayer of a righteous man has great power as it is working” Physically restricted? We can still offer support and encouragement and the benefit of experience. Lock down has opened up whole new areas of what we call “church” to those who find physical access challenging through “Zoom” and “Whypay” even the dreaded Social Media can have a positive part to play in allowing those who were previously excluded to participate more fully.

So, brothers and sisters of the “Grey Brigade” be encouraged and look for ways that you can continue to make a valuable contribution to the Lord’s people.

Keep on Keeping On

Author: Alan Cameron

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