During August Roy and the team are taking a break. We wish you a happy summer and will be back in September.
Have you ever been in that place where everything in life seems to go wrong? When things pile up, one on top of another, and you feel as though you were drowning in a storm of disaster? Maybe you have looked at other people who are in a place of distress and wondered how on earth they have coped, without a living faith in Jesus Christ. You, though, do have a faith and a testimony, but now when everything is going wrong you don’t know how to cope either. You find yourself engulfed by the outer storm of circumstances and an inner storm of worry, shame and fear.
What I have just described is true to life – we have all been there. So, how can we survive?
Fear of being overcome and desperation for life filled the minds of the disciples when they found themselves in a similar place. A windstorm had come upon them, stirring the sea, and the boat was taking in water. As experienced fishermen who were used to the sea, they knew an impending disaster when they saw one. Although Jesus was actually with them in the stern of the boat, just when they most needed him – he slept!
Have you ever wondered where Jesus is just when you need him most? It can feel as though he’s gone to sleep at our most desperate, critical, life-or-death moment.
I wonder how the disciples awakened him. Did they quietly touch his toes? Gently shake his shoulder? Whisper in his ear? Death by drowning was only moments away. No, I bet they seized hold of him while they yelled at the top of their voices: “Help! Help”! And I imagine Jesus looked at them, felt their fear, saw the waves breaking into the boat, heard the roaring of the wind, and asked them what on earth was disturbing them! You see, the disciples were looking at the storm, while Jesus was looking at his Father’s purpose, secure in his Father’s love. He firmly rebuked the wind and the waves, and they instantly obeyed him. (Significant Note: in Greek he rebuked the storm in the same way he rebuked demonic spirits.)
Who was in charge of their journey? The raging elements? Or was it Jesus, even though he seemed to be asleep, and ignorant of their circumstances?
You see, Jesus had given the word; “we are going to the other side’”. That was business settled. There was nothing a massive, perhaps demonically inspired, physical, noisy, threatening storm could do about it. That is why he was saddened by the disciple’s lack of faith. That was why they could have overcome the storm themselves. When Jesus had said it, that had settled it. They were going to the other side.
What help do we have today in our own crisis, then? Here are a few tablets to take as a prescription to encourage you.
Firstly, whatever your storm looks like, however threatening and overwhelming, he will be in the boat with us.
“He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”Deuteronomy 31:8
“God is for you, so who can be against you?”Romans 8:35
“The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”Deuteronomy 33:27
“The LORD will fulfil his purpose for you; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.”Psalm 138:8
Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace.”Daniel 3:17
Jesus said that:
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”Romans 8: 35-37
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28
It doesn’t mean that God caused your crisis, your storm. Rather, he is able to take those circumstances and use them to deliver you into a new and appointed place, just as he did with the disciples in their storm. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Heb 13:8
We have a future destination to hold onto. However fierce the storm, we have a secure promise: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev 21:4
Heavenly Father, help me to take my eyes off the storm so that I can fix my eyes on you instead. Please strengthen me and fill me with faith to trust your Presence and your Promises. I rebuke the raging circumstances in Jesus’ name. Lord, you alone are my strength and my shield, my defender, my hiding place until the storm is passed. Amen
Hi, welcome to this virtual meeting place.
There is a statement found in Genesis which goes like this:
We have just lost three of those Giants
Ravi Zacharias was an amazing Christian apologist. Born in India, Ravi immigrated to Canada, in his own words, having been a dunce, he suddenly developed into being exceptionally intellectually bright. Doctor Ravi Zacharias became a famous Christian apologist who crisscrossed the world for around 50 years, speaking in particular to University students and defending and explaining with intellectual rigor the basics of the Christian faith. He will be sorely missed. His clarity of expression, logical explanations and sheer Christlikeness shone like a light in the darkness. He was Ravi, a Giant, and we mourn his passing.
David Pawson was a man who came from famous early Methodist stock. While training for the Methodist ministry he roomed with Donald English, who went on to become the Methodist President on several occasions, and John Bedford, who became a Baptist Minister and won many to the Lord and who delivered the address at our wedding! All Giants. David Pawson also switched to the Baptist denomination, becoming very well known as the pioneering pastor of the Millmead Centre in Guildford, and then as a significant International Bible Teacher and author. I first met him 50 years ago when a young student, and he also came to visit me perhaps three or four years ago. I count it a privilege to have known him; he was David, a Giant whose passing we mourn.
Roger Every also passed on to his reward. You may not have heard of him, but he was a Giant. Married to Tisha, together they were our friends, serving on our team for some years and blessing countless numbers of people. Roger was an engineer at heart, skillful at repairs and replacements of all manner of things. He was wonderful with people, a joy to have around, interested in classic cars (hurray!) and everyone loved him. Although we cried out to God for his healing, he has gone to his reward, where he is absolutely and totally made whole forever. He might not have won the international recognition that Ravi or David had, but in God’s eyes – and ours – he was Roger, a Giant, whose passing we mourn.
These three Giants who have recently gone home to their reward, and there is joy in heaven. You might have some names you would like to add.
But where are the Giants of tomorrow? Where will we find them?
We are invited, called, chosen, loved, children of God himself, co-heirs with Christ of all things and blessed in him with every spiritual blessing. You and I are invited to walk as Giants in our own way, carrying the presence of Jesus wherever we go, stretching out hands of mercy and grace, helping, listening, lifting up the poor and needy by practical means, speaking the Name, demonstrating that in God’s kingdom authority is exercised with humility.
And don’t say that you are not clever enough, skillful enough, to be a Ravi Zacharias Apologist, David Pawson Bible teacher, or Roger Every, a quiet gentle man. You are not supposed to be a copy of anyone else; it’s the real ‘you’ that the world is waiting for. You can learn to be a uniquely ‘you-shaped’ Giant in a way that no-one else will ever be able to copy in all eternity. So why settle for anything less?
Then, one unexpected day, you too will leave this earth to go to your reward: that glorious day when you will see Jesus face to face, finding rest in that place he has gone ahead to prepare for you. That is the reality of the believer’s life. And will he complain about your small spiritual stature compared to the Ravis, Davids, and Rogers we hear of? No, hear His voice: “well done, you good and faithful servant; enter into your master’s joy”. And then, like the prodigal, we will try to explain how unworthy we are, how we have sinned and failed in so many ways, what a mess we have made of so much of our lives, the people we have hurt on the way, our own disappointment in ourselves, while he sweeps it all away in the Father-embrace we have longed for since birth; welcoming us home, clothing us with the robe of a new body, filling us with the joy of salvation complete. The Giant a son in the Kingdom of God, to shine forever.
As we say goodbye to the Giants who have gone before us, let us recommit ourselves to becoming the Giants we were created to be in our own way, in our worship, our personal life and world.
Father, so teach me to number my days that I may get a heart of wisdom.
Lord, I often feel so small, insignificant, lonely and unworthy. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit, replacing my fear with power, and give me a mind that aligns itself with your Word. Amen.
I bless you in the name of Jesus Christ, that the blessings of God Almighty might come as a summer shower to soak you, warming you, healing you, forgiving you and restoring you.
I bless you in Jesus name that the failures of the past and the power of words, curses and Satan may be broken over your life, setting you free right now, this moment. I rebuke shame in Jesus’ name. I bless you in his name that you may arise once more into the fullness of who you are, comfortable in your own skin and taking your rightful place in the purposes of God. Be loosened in Jesus name. Restored by his grace. AmenRoy Godwin
Certainty and hope in an uncertain and fearful world
On Friday 8th May we will celebrate 75 years since the ending of World War 2 in Europe. The horrors had ended, and peace had returned to our shores, and life would never be the same after such death and destruction had ravaged families, towns and cities. It would be a long climb upwards from there into a new and nationally prosperous future. The ration books would remain for quite a few years.
Today there is a new war. The enemy? Covid 19. It’s a killer, and every human being in the world is at risk, especially the poor, as 3.5 million are infected and 250,000 die. A new global challenge has been issued: let’s work together towards the destruction of this threat.
Meanwhile, in the waiting world of lockdown, everyone is straining forward to reach for the future. Will the world quickly return to how it was? Not for the bereaved. A phrase increasingly used is “the new normal’. What will that look like? At this stage nobody knows, so any confident statements about what that will mean are at best conjecture, and at worst, fantasy. One thing we do know is that so many old certainties we took for granted were pretenders all along; they were never certain at all.
A Christian holds certainty about the future while living in the reality of the uncertain world we live in. We experience the stress and pain, the same as everyone else. Yet, in the midst of today’s uncertainty, we are the ones who carry extraordinary hope and eternal certainties. And this hope has stood firm for 2,000 years. OK, it requires revelation, faith and trust, but it has nothing to do with pipe dreams or fantasies. It is guaranteed. How? By the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the fulfilment of the promise at Pentecost.
We celebrated Easter in April. Here in May we remember the ascension (21st) and the day of Pentecost (31st). Here’s the narrative.
In Jerusalem. The disciples met with Jesus on what became the day of Ascension and asked whether this was the time that the kingdom would be restored to Israel. He answered that it was not for them to know the times and seasons that the Father had fixed. What they actually needed was to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit had come upon them. Once that happened, they would be his witnesses to the whole world.
Suddenly, as they were looking at him, the most amazing thing happened. He was lifted up, and then a cloud took him out of their sight!
In Heaven. Suddenly one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven and they brought him to the Ancient of Days. And dominion and glory were given Him, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages, should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.)
Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, two shining angels spoke to the disciples, saying ‘don’t stand looking into the heavens. Jesus will return in the same way that you have seen him leave’.
The disciples, around 120 of them, remained in Jerusalem, prayed and waited. Suddenly a sound was heard as if a mighty wind was there and- wow! Heaven broke out upon them and within them. Fire came! The Holy Spirit had come, just as Jesus promised, and these very normal people became normal but supernatural, filled with gifts and boldness. Peter announced ‘God raised Jesus up, and there are 120 witnesses right here. Being exalted to the highest place and having received the promise (of the Holy Spirit) from the Father, it is the risen Jesus who has poured all this out upon us. 3,000 men committed their lives to Jesus there and then. The promise of the Holy Spirit, heaven invading earth, Peter reminded them, was for them, their children, their grandchildren and to all future generations. That includes you and me. A new way of living broke out, with Jesus at the centre. And so it continues…Acts 1:6-11. Dan 7:13-14. Acts 2: 1- 47 (My narrative and translation)
Jesus is indeed the light of the world who has rescued us out of darkness. Death has been killed. The fear of death is no longer a terror for us. We have certainty because Jesus is alive. He is risen! He has gone to prepare a place for us where we shall be welcomed and see him face to face. Let’s lift up our heads and hold fast to our confession; speak it into our own hearts and minds; welcome joy again; be bold yet wise in sharing the good news: Jesus is alive! Because he rose, we too will rise and be with him forever.
May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord cause his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.Num 6:24-26
For a wonderful national blessing
Joel News at joelnews.org Follow their link for a free download of the e-book ‘How The Early Church Handled Two Devastating Epidemics’.
© Roy Godwin 2020