I will help you

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I will help you,” says the Lord of Hosts

A survey of top cyclists discovered that those who say to themselves ‘you can do it’ fare much better than those who seek to stimulate them purely by saying ‘I can do it.’

For many, perhaps, this may be a means of tapping in to the words of authority that parents, teachers and coaches have directed their ways and instilled within them; wither way it has been  to work much better than merely saying’ I can do it.’ Continue reading

Heightened tension in the Middle East

Praying for the Middle East

I woke this morning praying for people on oil tankers and warships in the Gulf who are likely to be feeling decidedly jittery as tensions continue to escalate in the region. It is a good time to explore more of the background to the situation regarding Iran and the Middle East. To aid our prayers, we are releasing a really powerful song that was originally Armenian but sung here in Farsi by Linda Entwistle: Azim ast name to Isa – Jesus Your name is great. It is stunning! Continue reading

Tributes to Dad

We have received many really lovely cards and tributes to Dad, which have been a real blessing. Ros shared a few of these at the funeral, and we are delighted to pass on to you now . . .

The first is from Terry and Carol Charlton, from Jersey, who are the founders of the hugely fruitful ministry known as Mission Africa, who wrote to Dad while he was still alive,

“You were so precious to ourselves and countless other you have made such an impact on – Here are four such precious memories: Continue reading

The story of Dad’s homecoming

As you will remember from the last edition, Dad was taken to hospital at the end of April with a badly fractured femur, and what turned out to be major secondary renal cancer. We are taking up the story from the morning of May 26th when Ros and Dad were waiting for the transport to bring Dad back home from Worcester hospital.

He was given a lovely send off by a whole line of nurses, plus one of the chaplains, all of whose lives had been touched by his witness during the month he had been in the Trauma and Orthopaedic ward. Continue reading

The Scent of Water

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I wrote in the last edition that I had long wanted to write a song based on the verses from Job 14:7-9 about how the Lord loves to revive and restore the roots of a tree that has suffered loss, whether from God’s specific pruning or from some other form of setback.

The Lord gave me the ‘flourish’ theme that recurs in this piece many years ago immediately after my Granny, full of the Holy Spirit, passed into Heaven as she neared her ninetieth year. And now she has been joined by her son, John!

It was a great joy to incorporate that theme in this song. May the Scent of Water speak life into your heart, whatever you are going through.

The musicians you will hear in this recording are Harmony Greenwood, Nicola Gerrard, Thomas Herzog and Natalie Halliday, with Sally Prittie on piano.

Scent of Water (Job 14:7-9)

For a tree that’s been cut down, there is always hope,
at the scent of water, new shoots will soon spring up
and those shoots will never fail.
You have dreamed of doing great things, bringing God great glory:
best to leave those dreams before His throne.
He will show you what He wants for you;
He is thinking far ahead!
What you sow must fall into the ground,
it must even die – you must let it die.

If you have been laid low there is always hope.
Make the Lord your tower of refuge –
new shoots will grow
and these shoots will never fail.

Fall upon your bed and seek His face –
He will renew your mind.
Make a cell within your heart and turn to Him,
He will help you clear the air and put matters right;
He is seeking your very best.
Lift your eyes to Heaven now, let your spirit soar,
God has planned all your days in Him.

Marvel not at all He’s doing as you reach out to Him.
For He loves to bless the humble
He will refresh your heart,
His Spirit leads you onward.
May Yeshua bless you now, lift your spirit high,
Your new shoots will never fail.

Robert Weston 2018

High King of Heaven have mercy on our land

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There is no hope
Unless You provide it,

There is no grace
Until You intervene.

There is no glory
Until Your Spirit comes.

Come Spirit of Hope
Pour out Your Mercy on us.

Come Spirit of Grace
Bid condemnation flee away.

Come Spirit of Glory
Anoint Your people now.

Fountain of Favour
Renew the hearts of Your people

Fountain of Worship
Restore the hearts of Your people

Wellspring of Joy
Renew and Restore the hearts of Your people

In the name of the One who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

‘Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy, According to Your unfailing love have mercy, According to your unfailing riches in Christ, O Lord hear our prayer.’

May your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy.

Forgive us Lord that we are the generation that believes in our disbelief. There is no limit to the depravity that we have embraced, Lord, or to the cynicism we have embraced.

Are You not right when You decree your judgement against a land that has enthroned ways contrary to Your laws? Yet just as we have experienced Your mercy in our own lives, so we dare to pray that You will yet look with favour on our land.

Hear the longing of Your people for righteousness to prevail and for Your glory to visit our land.

Be not a passing stranger or an unwelcome guest, but come as the Bright Morning Star, as the ruler and leader of Your people, and the Saviour of the Land.

High King of Heaven
Remember not what we have done,

Nor all we deserve,
But for Your own name’s sake

Renew and restore Your people.
Send a fresh wave of Your Spirit,

And raise up Your co-workers to rebuild Your church
And win this nation for Christ.

We ask in the name of Jesus and for Your glory Lord,

High King of Heaven, as nations rage in turmoil,
We proclaim the coming King
Who has promised to return
And who is standing at the door.

Break open the doors that are closed to You,
That those far away may be drawn to You,
And those at odds with each other find each other again in You.

Even though we live surrounded by people who love us, Lord, there come times when we feel utterly isolated, when only You can know the sorrow in our heart. Perhaps You have designed it like this, Lord, so that when the trials feel too heavy for us to bear on our own, we have to hand them over to You.

Help us not to doubt You in the darkness, nor to hold back from following You. And though it sometimes seems as though the hour of opportunity has passed us by and darkness has tolled its bell, yet we praise You that You never change; You are always the same.

Water now the roots of our hearts, that our spirits may not wither. At the scent of water, let them spring back to life again.

From the book of Isaiah the Lord God speaks:
‘Do not be afraid,
I have come to save you.
You are special to me,
and I know your name,
When the deep dark waters of trouble
swirl around you,
I am with you.

Grant us courage to attempt what You have put within our hearts to do. For it is as we set out to do things that Your blessing comes.

Help us to light a candle rather than to bemoan the darkness.

Iran

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You can hardly fail to be aware of the rising tensions between America and Iran, with Europe caught rather uncomfortably in the middle.

Top European figures are wary of the hawkishness of the American administration, but are caught between a number of rocks and hard places, and would certainly not deny the realities of the things the Revolutionary Guard have been doing in the region. At the same time the spectre of war is an appalling thought and one to pray actively against. Type into Google   ‘The risk of war US Iran’ and you will find many links. . .e.g. this one:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/05/14/conflict-with-iran-would-not-be-like-iraq-war-itd-be-worse/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b50298626d28

See these articles in the New York times concerning Iran’s attempts to develop ballistic missiles, and what America is doing about it.

US revives secret plan to sabotage Iranian missiles and rockets and

US sanctions cut deep but Iran seems unlikely to budge

But while America is piling up pressure for ever increasing sanctions on the people of Iran (as if of themselves such things could help the Iranian people!) it continues to offer support to Saudi Arabia, which has launched a truly brutal war against the Yemenese people, and continues to clamp down ruthlessly on its own people.

Above all let’s pray for the people of Iran themselves, that many may come to know Christ, and be blessed. After suffering from a decades-long drought, Iran has seen unprecedented rainfall since 19th March. The Red Crescent tweeted that one province received 70% of its annual rainfall in one day with truly devastating consequences.

These videos of the widespread devastation – especailly the one concerning Shriaz – would make a powerful foundation for praying not only for all immediately affected by them but for Iran generally.

You might indeed like to have the songs I have included at the end of this edition playing in the background (Victor’s Crown and Jesus at the Centre) to help you absorb these images of destruction and to pray.

Elam Ministries report that

  • Floods have hit 26 of Iran’s 31 provinces.
  • Flood-related deaths have been reported in 11 provinces
  • Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, with many being housed in emergency shelters; others have been left without shelter.
  • 141 rivers burst their banks and around 400 landslides were reported.
  • Nearly 7,500 miles (12,000km) of roads are damaged – 36% of the road network.
  • Agricultural losses are estimated at $180 million (USD).

Nearby Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria have also been suffering with severe floods. In Afghanistan nearly 13,000 houses have been either partially or completely destroyed.

Many Christians in Iran are doing what they can to help amid the turmoil and distress. They need our prayers as they seek to provide for people’s basic needs. Pray for strength and compassion, and that they would shine the light and hope of Christ in this painful situation.

Please also join us in praying:

  • For all those affected by this disaster, including those grieving the loss of loved ones, homes, livelihoods and communities.
  • For wisdom, integrity and effectiveness for the authorities and relief agencies who are responding.

Inside Venezuela – cry out for this country

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Out of sight is so easily out of mind – and those presiding over humanitarian disasters often prefer that intense suffering should be kept out of sight. Praise God for the courage, skill and persistence of journalists like Alex Crawford and Stuart Ramsey who have done outstanding work for Sky Television in lifting the lid on people’s suffering and bringing their plight to the attention of the world.

This link to their video, Inside Venezuela provides a really insightful and graphic glimpse inside Venezuela – a country which was given its name by Spanish sailors (as a diminutive of Venecia – Little Venice). The waters have risen very high here: this beautiful country so needs the power of God to break through.

Do watch, and let the Lord expand your heart in prayer for the people of this country.

Something like four million citizens have made the heart-breaking decision to leave their nation and find a way to make a life for themselves as best they can in a neighbouring country.

For many who have not been able to leave their plight is still worse who are left behind.

This is a nation where inflation is expected to reach a mind boggling 10,000,000% next year. What does that look like in practice? By the time someone has taken an item off the shelves at the back of a supermarket and made their way to the checkouts, it has tripled in price. A few rolls of toilet paper cost so much, it can be cheaper to use paper money instead.

This is what was witnessed over three months ago: ‘Lines of more than a 100 people were formed in front of bank machines. The Venezuelan government limits cash withdrawals to 3,000 bolivars, the equivalent of one US dollar, at a time.

A local resident told me that due to hyperinflation, there are never enough banknotes in circulation, no matter how much money the government prints. 3,000 bolivars get you three rides on the public bus system. People have no choice but to line up regularly at bank machines.

There was a crowd in front of a bakery, too. Purchases are limited to two loaves of bread per person each day, and one loaf costs about 3,000 bolivars, compared to 30 bolivars a few years ago. Prices have risen 100-fold over several years. Public servants earn an average of 18,000 bolivars a month, so they can only afford six loaves of bread a month. People are surviving on very small rations of commodities like wheat.’

From: NHK World

‘Messianic’ hopes

Venezuela is suffering one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our times: people are scavenging through dustbins and drinking from sewers in order to avoid starving to death, medicines are non-existent, and the homicide rate is terrifyingly high (73 Venezuelans died a violent death for every day of 2017.) In the face of such challenges,

It is normal for people in despair to look for a Messiah-like figure and, having found one, to invest great hope in them. We all know the hopes that people have invested in Juan Guaido in their hope that he will take over from President Maduro, and that the sheer number of people protesting will turn things round. Inside Venezuela includes images of him in church with his wife, and a brief interview with him.

Juan Guaido himself is well aware of the need for help from the international community. Endorsements for him personally have come from far and wide. The attempt to bring in aid from overseas however failed lamentably. Only the Lord knows what will come of the hopes they have invested in Juan Guaido, elected leader but not permitted to take office.

Venezuelans appear to be a very proud people, who truly long for their nation to be strong and united. In the face of immense desperation, many are showing remarkable resilience.

There are many, of course, who continue to support President Maduro, sincere in their desire to continue Hugo Chavez’s policies.

Cuba is continuing to provide extensive support for President Maduro, and Russia to a lesser extent. Maduro’s armed ‘enforcers’ are above the law and highly dangerous. As to the much-mooted question of whether American military intervention would help, see this article in USA Today concerning the advisability or NOT of America trying to enforce regime change.

We are fortunate enough to be able to watch this video of the sufferings of the Venezuelan people and then resume our normal lives. For the millions of those who have left the country, their plight is extremely difficult, and this comes across well in this video.

Prayer

Jesus, we lift the future of Venezuela to You now. Come close now to all who are suffering, all who have lost loved ones due to lack of food, medicines or through acts of violence.