Atmospheres and Boundaries – Soaking our homes in prayer

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Praise God for the exceptional atmosphere that millions around the world were blessed by the royal wedding in Windsor last week. It was a delightful redemptive contrast from the Queen’s annus horribliis (horrible year) of 1992, not to mention for Harry himself after all the grief of his his mother’s premature death. And millions upon millions hearing the gospel who would never normally hear it . . . I found myself deep in prayer throughout the day that the Lord would convert the deep feelings and emotions that people would be experiencing on that day into seeds of faith that would outlive the immediate occasion that engendered them, and soften and change heart attitudes to make room for the Lord to come in.

There is nothing so healing as a loving atmosphere. When Ros and I were part of a student-based community in Oxford, the Lord’s presence was layers deep in the substantial flat that four of us shared. Sometimes when we were too tired to minister any more we used to say, “Four walls take over and minister” – and because the Lord was there in such a special way He went on touching people deeply as a result of His presence there.

One of the ‘starter’ words the Lord gave for our ministry at that time was to encourage people to ‘sanctify’ their homes. When we think of the amount of time people spend choosing items for decorating their houses or for television viewing or holidays or other things they enjoy, it is surely honouring to take time to dedicate the place we live in to the Lord. Whether you are a home owner, lodger or tenant you will find a wide raft of starter prayers to strengthen and reinforce you as you do that. Just as many couples rededicate themselves to each other at a certain stage in their life and declare their vows a second time, why shouldn’t we do something along similar lines when it comes to the matter of our homes?

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Kerry’s Kolumn – Dragons, Horn-nets and the Kalm Kontemplative Life

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Hello I thort I’d send you an up-day-te from the Hills. Its been a bisy time this end. Only a few nites ago we had a dragon belching 4th fire in the sky. Onestlee!

When I looked out of the Wyn-doe there was a great balloon say-ling past. Kelsey and I had never seen anything like it and we barked and barked at it in case it tried to get into the house. We found it most disconserting when it started sending great jets of woof-sh into the sky! Continue reading

Darts of Love – Renewing the Mind and Reclaiming the Mind field

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Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12:2)

St Paul would not have heard about neurological linguistic programming (NLP) but he certainly knew how easily our thoughts run along particular lines. The fact that our regular thoughts shape and form neural channels in our brains that condition our thinking and define our actions is a powerful reminder of just how much our minds need renewing in the power of the Holy Spirit in order to adopt new thoughts and practices in those areas where we have got stuck in unhelpful ways of thinking and reacting.

Lord, You know where the pathways of our brain are up to, just as You know how our arteries are faring in terms of their cholesterol levels. Thank You that You understand when they are clogged or stunned, and when our ability to think clearly is impaired for whatever reason. We commit them to You, as we do the whole our being, and ask that we may think clearly, remember well and pray and act in the power and freedom of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let the word of God dwell in you richly (Col. 3:16)

It is a comfort to think that our brain contains far more channels than we actually get round to using – and what a joy to receive a word from the Lord that gives us more of His perspective concerning some issue.On one occasion recently the Lord spoke very clearly to give me a message for someone who had invested years of diligent care into a particular project, and who had been wondering if it had really been of any effect or lasting worth, or whether they had been wasted years. And here was the Lord saying with great clarity and tenderness that he had cared and stewarded this project extremely well, and that the Lord was pleased with him.

For lack of such clarity it is no wonder he had been pray to many doubts and questions. Peter was speaking from considerable first-hand experience when he wrote that ‘our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’ (1 Pet. 5:8) Like it or not, we are all caught up in a great theatre of war in which our adversary, diabolos – to unpick the Greek – literally hurls repeated suggestions and accusations at us in a bid to penetrate our defences and overwhelm our mind and spirit, knowing the effect that this will have in undermining our confidence in the calling that God has given.

Wiles, Roads, methods and counterattacks: winning the battle of the mind field

Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (strategies or wiles). (Eph. 6:11)

The phrase that has often been translated the ‘wiles’ of the devil in Ephesians 6:11 is methodos. The word is a combination of meta, with and odos, road – rather an apt word in the light of the literal road the Iran ians are currently building through northern Iraq to be able to swiftly supply quantities of rockets and other weapons to Lebanon, which potentially threaten the very existence of Israel.

Again and again we need to remind ourselves of what satan’s methods are if we are to resist them successfully. How important it is to put on the full armour God provides us with so that we are able to take our stand against the devil. (Eph. 6:11)

I had never thought much about the simple phrase ‘are able’ until I discovered that the word derives from dunamis – dynamic – or even explosive – strength, power and ability.*  Isn’t it a wonderful thought that our ability to do worthwhile things stems from this explosive dynamic power of God as we take whatever stand it is that He has called us to take.

The picture Paul paints is of a soldier standing strong and unbowed in the face of his adversaries, rather like a boxer eyeing up his opponent, but with complete confidence of victory over an enemy who is bent only on destroying. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

If we have received a calling from God, it is inevitable Satan will sooner or later come calling with a view to opposing, minimising, undermining and even destroying it. The battle extends to every part of life. Whatever we are setting out to achieve he sets out to thwart and intimidate. If we enjoy good and fruitful relationships, sooner or later he sets out to snag and snare them.

Whilst some situations come as sudden ‘surprise’ attacks, many others stem from persistent and repeated strategies, rather as Goliath repeatedly taunted Israel morning and evening for forty days. (1 Sam. 17:16, 23-24).

The more the attack is relentless, the more resolute must be our defence.

Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and He hears my voice.
 He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me. (Ps. 55:17-18)

Many of us have been pierced repeatedly by strong and repeated attacks from diabolos, who hurls with an intent to pierce and penetrate – but in the Lord we can take our stand and fight back with the word of God and the many kinds of prayer’ that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6:18.

Is there some area of your life where satan is taunting and undermining you, effectively encouraging you to expect the least and to believe the worst? Rather as Hezekiah and Isaiah worked in tandem to defeat the repeated taunts of Sennacherib, we will often need the assistance of praying and prophetic friends and mentors who will help us by taking matters to the Lord and laying them out before Him. It is so often after doing this that we gain the specific words and wisdom we need to take our stand.

One important key armament the Roman soldier carried with him which Paul does not mention in his list in Ephesians 6 is the lance or javelin. He certainly speaks of defensive weapons such as the shield of faith to use against the fiery darts (or burning arrows as they are sometimes translated) but the shield and the lance go hand in hand: the shield to protect and the lance to thrust forward and to help us win battles at a greater distance, as opposed to the shorter stabbing sword. We need both in our spiritual armament!

The Dart of Love
Throwing the javelin may or may not have rated as one of your favourite events on school sports day, but in ancient times, of course, it was a deadly weapon of war. If we find ourselves somewhat pinned down on the back foot as a result of enemy suggestions and activity, let’s remember that the Lord has many ‘javelins’ for us to throw, too, as we apply the word of God to specific situations?

We overcome by harnessing and ‘unleashing’ the word of God, which is the most powerful weapon of all – directing it into situations yes both external situations and into our own hurts too. Is this not what it means to overcome by means of the word? (cf Rev. 12:11)

Well-chosen Scriptures are like love darts that rob the enemy of power and defeat his purposes, greatly strengthening any ‘arrow’ prayers we may also be praying with regard to them. May the Lord grant us both the determination and the discernment to know how to apply the word God wisely. The more we immerse ourselves in it, more readily this will happen. Listen again to Anne Laure Jackson’s lovely song with this in mind: Hide Your Word in my heart.

The idea of a dart of love being a deadly weapon of war sounds a complete paradox, but it is because our intentions are born of love that we must be quick to use them fierce in the cause of truth and goodness. Jesus declared that ‘the forceful are advancing the kingdom of God’, (Matt. 11:12) – albeit that many times we will see people operating with a fair mixture of presumption and impetuousness.

Nevertheless if the underlying intention is to do everything in the name of Jesus and for His glory He will still own it – and all the more so if this is done in the spirit of Jesus, who was constantly moved with compassion and tenderness when it came to ministering to those who were hurting.

As a life-long table tennis player, well used to spirited rallies, I often myself caught up in the equivalent of a sort of spiritual ping-pong rally. “I’m useless!” the rally begins. “Jesus!” I respond, “It can’t be done!” the enemy suggests. “You’ll never make it!” “Praise You, Lord, You can do it!”

So when the temptation to despair seeks to wrap its tentacles around us – and that particular temptation really can be the most insidious of them all – and we feel as though we are ‘labouring in vain and spending our strength for nothing,’ (Isaiah 49:4) this is precisely the time when we must counter these gloomy thoughts – for example by taking the second part of that verse: ‘Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.’

Scripture has a power of its own, but we can also use our own phrases if they are in line with biblical thought. So if we feel a great desire to cry out to go to our eternal home in order to avoid life’s hassles, but are not actually being called home by the Lord, we can counter this by praying something along these lines: ‘Fulfil all You still have to do in and through my life Lord Jesus!’

You and the Lord can work out the wording together; the important thing is to remember to do so. Otherwise, believing wrong things about ourselves or situations can only be a staging post to deception: euphoria, if we believe we are aiming at greater things than in truth we have been, or to unbelief concerning the challenges that we face.

The danger is always that we permit fear to induce us to believe the whole package, leaving the door wide open for a panicky rather than a faith-filled response to develop.

Imagine a soldier on the battlefield on with the latest weapon standing stock-still, in the grip of fear that the enemy was too strong for him. Such soldiers would be liabilities to themselves and their unit. May we not be hesitant but courageous and clear-minded in standing for what the truth says about itself.

So when the devil attacks your Achilles heel, affirm and appropriate the victory Jesus has won for us, and cry out to the Lord for Him to break through.

Sometimes even in the midst of a false suggestion of the enemy there may be element that we can extract and turn them round and put them to good use. As I wrote in Ravens and the Prophet**

When I am aware of the first stirrings of shock and anxiety rising in my heart, I try to convert their strongly negative power into a fervent prayer that affirms the opposite of whatever it is that is being suggested. The secret is to catch the thoughts, rather like a surfer, who needs to ride just ahead of the crest of the wave. If the surfer gets the timing wrong, the waves will roll over and submerge him, just as these emotions threaten to swamp us. But if we ride the waves, we can harness their power in prayer to accomplish more than if they had never come our way.

So when the thought comes ‘You’ll never finish this!” call to mind times when you have completed projects successfully and turn the whole matter over to the Lord for Him to to bring it – whatever ‘it’ is – to a good conclusion.

The “mind field” really is at the heart of his spiritual warfare. Given that the enemy understands the power of prayer so much better than we do and does all he can to oppose it, Alex Buchanan once told me that one of his favourite weapons is a magnifying glass. He goes to great lengths to blow issues up out of all proportion, so much so that it is hard for all concerned to think of anything else.

It is vital that we recognise what is happening. By saying No to the enemy’s distortion of things, we are thrusting a metaphorical brick through this magnifying glass that would otherwise set fire to the tinder dry grass. The sun’s rays, which were designed by God to bless and sustain us, would thus be harnessed for utterly dangerous purposes – a picture of how Satan tries to turn good things against us.

May our heart and mind be rather a furnace of love for the Lord and a place of inspiration – like a garden where Jesus Himself will feel comfortable walking.

* See Dressed to Kill pp. 181-224, Harrison House, a very worthwhile book on spiritual warfare by Rick Renner, the remarkable American Bible scholar and missionary pastor to Russia.
** Ravens and the Prophet – Shock and Shame

Looking Wider to the Middle East

No one today can be unaware of the gathering tension and accompanying uncertainties that are ramping up in the Middle East, whose ripple effects are being felt right across the world – of which the thoroughly unpleasant scenes in Tehran of crowds of inflamed people burning flags and chanting death to America is a potent symbol. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the nuclear deal with Iran, may the Lord protect against the power of this sustained cursing.

When I returned home a couple of nights ago from my retreat (after a lot of lovely catching up with Ros) I watched a remarkable extended report on Sky news concerning the huge influence that Iran is now exercising inside Iraq, primarily on the Shia majority. It was extremely eye opening. In this news report I learnt that Iran, with the help of the Iraqi military, has established an entirely new land route to be able to transport arms swiftly from Tehran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.*

Iran has long been stoking and stirring hostilities in the Middle East by supplying Hezbollah with vast quantities of advanced weaponry, effectively making Iran proxy for action against Israel. By some counts, Hezbollah possesses a staggering 150,000 rockets. As you will have seen, Israel has already begun launching multiple attacks on airfields in Syria and on depots through which Iran supplies Hezbollah. Prayer warriors in Israel at the moment are optimistic that although there are obvious risks that this could escalate into to a far more deadly and more wide-scale conflict than the month long war of 2006 that was centred on Lebanon, the likelihood of an all-out war with Iran is still not that high. The Israelis are hailing their multiple attacks against the Iranian military presence in Syria as a complete success. See this report from the Jerusalem Post.

Pray for all who are involved in this on going situation: diplomats, military and political leaders, and, of course, all those civilians who are affected and who have to take regularly to their bomb shelters with all the emotional and physical upset that this causes.

Let’s not for one minute forget how precious the Iranian people are to God. Again and again we hear reports of God touching people in that land in quite remarkable ways. E.g. Testimonies of Iranian converts.

See also elam.com/article/tv-and-internet and 222ministries.org/internet

The Lord so much wants to reach the tens of thousands of displaced Syrians in Lebanon and the camps in Turkey and Jordan too. (See this account of some friend’s visit to Jordan)

It was delightful when a large family of Syrians came to the farm where I was staying. It was a joy to see the children running round and playing with great smiles on their faces. During their first full year in Britain this was the first time they had been invited to come to a family home for a meal, as opposed to having occasional events laid on for them.

* That article in late 2016, in The Guardian, began to explain the process; this one from Reuters brings matters more up to date.

Kerry’s kolumn

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Retrieve your inner STILL NESS with the help of a retriever

Hello, I was a bit worried that you might have forgotton about me, so I wanted to right and let you no that I am doing okay despite the highly unpreDogtable whether we had earlier this win-ter. I’m a bit old these days, and probably wouldnt want to run a race against a cheater – being what they are cheaters would probably rig the result anyway. A lot of famous people indisPutinably seem to be doing that these days.

Life toggles between bizzy-bizzy when Dom’s friends all come swirling round when he is home which is really nice, but we love it wen they have all gone and it is nice and kwiet again. It’s hard to keep up with all the cumings and the goings. I find the big numbers (the ones over one that is) kwite confusing – but that’s because I was never taught any Jometry, Algernon or Tigger Nometry at skool. I think our lessons were more along the lines of making sure we got to our bowls of food in time to eat the larger harf.

The kold winds this win-ter meant shorter walks, boooo! They also made Dad’s brown chitis worse. He kept eating coff sweets and saying that they were sugar free. Not that that interests us; he never gives us any sugar to eat. Mind you if he did, I’d probably be able to run faster than a cheater.

All the time that Mum and Dom were down under in Os-stray-lea I was very blessed to have my brother at my side. He’s called Kelsie and we praktice kontouring up together most of the day; we’re always finding new ways to be close.

Despite all the cold winds that ruffle our fur, may you be blessed in handling – or at least pawderling – any Tenshun you may be feeling. If you suffer Tenshun, I rekkomend from you get a dog; we give humans lots of comforting oxyacetylene every time you come near us. I think that’s how you spel it anyway – its the stuff that makes you feel good about life anyway. Except that I seem to remember dad saying it has a toe in it. Most peculiar. Oh I  remember. Oxy-toe-sin. In a sigh-en-tific study – Cats versus dogs – it was shown conkloosively that we K9s give 54% of the love hore-moan – cats can only manage 12%. That proves it. Dogs rule and cats drool. Everywon agree?

Dad says I am a modle example for people who want to lern to relax. It’s simple. Lie comfortably on your back, breethe nice and deeplee, put all four paws up in the air, fold them over nicely at the top, and listen out for anything the Lord might have to say to ewe. He’ll have lots to say to you apart from telling you off for eating Dad’s slippers.

Really important things like how to cope with a kranky owner. (They really do love us though!)

Here’s hoping you’ll soon be picking up lots of kanine kontemplative kontentment. That’s me all over! Stay close to the Lord and to those you like to snuggle up with. Don’t forget: wrap your tail round your nose and put all four paws in the air. Do feel free to rite to me if you need any tips . . . I hope ewe like my new strap line: Retrieve your inner STILL NESS with the help of a retriever.

With our love, Kerry and Kelsey, who likes leaving his paw prints on everything.

Big doggy xx

 

Mission Africa: Mission to Kijura 7th–14th May

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Prison Ministry continues apace

We continue to praise God for all that He is doing through Mission Africa’s prison ministry teams!

After the joy of seeing one hundred and three people dedicating themselves to the Lord during February, we were able to visit no fewer than ten prisons during the early part of March and saw another eighty people accept Jesus into their hearts, including nine Muslims and three prison staff.

An evangelist in the making?

Good Friday saw seventeen more people come to salvation as a result of Daniel Kato taking a team of thirty five people drawn from both his church and the school where he is the administrator into Ngoma prison.

Daniel’s Team doing a dance for the Prisoners

 

The team included Joel, his 6 year old son, who stood and quoted a memory verse from John 10 v10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”

Prisoners filled with the Holy Spirit!

To conclude this great Easter blessing, three more prisons were visited by Richard and his team taking in bread, milk and clothes for the prisoners. A further thirty one prisoners gave their lives to Jesus including two staff members. In Kaliro prison the prisoners were filled with the Holy Spirit during the praise and worship time to the amazement of the staff members! So in total a glorious one hundred and twenty eight saved in one month. Praise God!

Specific prayer needed for the Mission to Kijura 7th–14th May

Your prayers are particularly requested for our forthcoming mission to Kijura, a small township which is twenty miles from Fort Portal in the ancient kingdom of Toro some 300 km west of Kampala. Fort Portal is situated some 5,000 feet above sea level and overlooks the Ruwenzori mountains on the Congo border and is surrounded by many tea and coffee plantations. The mountains rise to nearly 17,000 feet and have a permanent snow line despite their closeness to the Equator!

The location of the mission is just a few miles from a village where we held a mission back in 2004 where we saw a most wonderful harvest of souls and many healed (including four cases of blindness!)

Goats keeping the grass down at the site of the proposed crusade

Our leader for this mission, Fred Makubuye has been battling in the courts over the last few years to protect his church which has been on the same site for twenty years. A relative of the lady who originally sold the land has been claiming that the lady did not have the legal right to do so. The matter has recently come to a head with multiple court hearings. This is a huge distraction for him as he attempts to organise the mission from this considerable distance away.

Other points to pray for please include the following spiritual challenges: false prophets, night dancers (dabblers in witchcraft), sacrificial rituals, adultery, fornication, murder, robbery and poverty.

As you can see, we are believing God for a great break through despite all the very many challenges.

Thank you so very, very much indeed for all your prayers, encouragement and immense support without which none of the above would be possible.

With our love,
Terry Charlton, Steve Trint and Daniel Kato
on behalf of the Mission Team

 

 

 

Here is a link to a printable pdf of this report

Fruit bearing and sowing seeds

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If you remain joined to Me and My words remain in you, ask for anything you wish, and it will be done for you.  When you bear a lot of fruit, it brings glory to My Father. It shows that you are My disciples . . . You did not choose Me. Instead, I chose you. I appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit that will last. I also appointed you so that the Father will give you what you ask for. He will give you whatever you ask for in My name. (John 15:7-8,16)

John 15 is one of my favourite chapters in the Bible, not least because it speaks of Jesus calling us to be His friends. Paul Haglin* sent us a lovely reflection recently on the theme of another of the key topics in that chapter: ‘fruit’!

Reflecting on the fact that the fruit of his life consists of the seeds he has sown by his lifestyle as much if not more than by his outward achievements, Paul memorably summarised this up in words that powerfully pick up on James’s exhortation to “Consider it pure joy, [or ‘count it pure joy’] my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials test and temptations of many kinds.” (James 1:2)**

Hardships heaped on me became “manure” for growing sweeter fruit. I learned to welcome tears of disappointment as the “rain” that watered my spiritual roots. Adversities became the “winds” that strengthen my branches to protect and preserve my fruit against all life’s storms.

Since ‘fruit’ represents the cumulative expression of our life’s activities, let’s ask ourselves: does our life bear witness to the character of the Power producing it? Paul (our friend that is rather than the biblical one) mentions a number of ‘natural’ qualities associated with fruit.

  • Fruit is eaten and enjoyed by others. Jesus loves it when He knows that He can trust and rely on us.
  • Rather as mowing a lawn stimulates its growth, the more fruit we bear that is plucked and harvested, the more fruit grows. We can never exhaust the Lord’s capacity to grow fruit through us.
  • Grafts are made not only to improve the edibility of the fruit (to make it sweeter for instance) and to increase the production of food, but also to make fruit-bearing branches more hardy against both diseases and adverse weather.
  • Fruit is directly related to its own roots and cannot be different from the kind of root – unless it is grafted of course.

This made me pause and ponder the many ‘graftings’ that have happened in my life when particular people strands or streams have come into my life to strengthen, refine and enlarge my vision. As always the Lord knows when such a graft is needed. May we not fear but welcome it!

  • Fruit needs time and sunlight to ripen. Speaking as one who has always been highly sensitive to SAD, I am always eager at this time of year for more sunlight. Its benefits are far more than just psychological! But fruit comes at its proper season.

No more than we would expect to find fruit on trees in the spring, the Lord does not reveal what He is going to do in Act 33 in our life while we are still in Act 32! (Yes, we might indeed compare our lives with a long running drama. Just think how He has manoeuvred the scenery, characters and surprise turns of events!) He knows what the fruit of our lives will be; already He sees the eternal consequences of the seeds we sow – just as He knows how we will be when we are in Heaven with Him. Doesn’t that make us want to serve Him all the more, so that we can enter Heaven bearing sheaves?

  • He is ready to raise the curtain; He has the props, the scenarios and the outcome in mind already, and will be ready for the action to commence. So let us not grow weary and get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up. (Gal. 6:9)
  • Have you noticed that when Paul (the biblical one this time!) defines the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, he describes what it is – (in the singular) rather than what they are. Clearly, he regarded them all as being indissolubly linked, with all nine fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) as being indivisibly united in expressing Christ’s character.

Whatever attribute of God we think of, He is – and to the ultimate degree. He is:

Mercy Personified,

Total Tenderness,

Comprehensive Understanding,

Complete Compassion

Perfect Peace.

Of the increase of His government and glory there will be no end (Is. 9:6-7); may He work in such a way in our lives that there be an increase in all these fruits and qualities. Stir our hearts and plumb the depths Lord Jesus that we may bear ripe fruit for You.

There are many blights that threaten the fruit growing process. May we endure through cold snap frosts, and ward off fruit consuming critters of all kinds – the deeds of the flesh that Paul outlines in the decidedly unsavoury list of highly destructive qualities. See Galatians 5:19-21.

  • Fruit in turn bears its own seeds. Those who partake of the fruit of our lives ‘consume’ the seeds that empower or drive our lives, whether for good or ill. The very words we speak come coated with the spirit that is in us.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Prov. 18:21) I checked this out to be certain and ‘it’ is indeed thought to refer to the tongue. Depending on the extent to which our hearts are filled with God and His word, the fruit of our words, as Paul Haglin reminds us, brings either life or death. ‘They either build up and heal or they wound; they stir up righteousness or they befoul and discourage.’ That is the unique power of the fruit of the spirit (for good or ill) and why Paul (we’re back with the biblical Paul again now) urges us so strongly to cultivate the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit.

Help us to keep on sowing, Lord, by every method ingenuity can devise and that You make possible!

Think back over the last few days. Can you think of times when you have enjoyed either the fruits or the penalties of how you have used your tongue? The “fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:18)

Keep on sowing your seeds!

There is a wealth of material available in our teaching and intercessory articles in the archives of the Malvern Mashal, as well as on our website. Do dip into them either by following the buttons or by exploring themes and topics on the search engine, which you can find on the top right of each blog page.

For example, I typed the phrase, ‘keep on sowing’ into the search engine box and these are some of the gems I came up with:

Cast your bread on the water

Offering up the fragments

Finishing well

Put out into the deep – a fresh commissioning

L is for Lavishing, Listening and Lamenting

*For those who do not know them, Paul and Gretel Haglin came across from America to minister powerfully with us both in Chester and in our conferences back in the 1980s and 90s ‘evangelising the heart of believers.’ Gretel recently graduated home after many years of suffering from Alzheimers, and this was Paul’s first letter ‘solo’ – a major milestone to start writing again. I have woven in some of his excellent material here.

** This is how JB Phillips translates this passage.

When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty—and you may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given. But you must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether you really want God’s help or not.

 

Reflections for Easter

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Special times of meditation are common in most traditions over the Easter period, so I have put these reflections for Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday together with the help of several friends, including Sally, Harmony and Elizabeth, who reads the text with me.

We have overlaid two of the tracks so that the words and music flow together. The aim has been to draw us right into the centre of certain aspects of the Easter story and to bring the events of Calvary to life in a fresh way this year.

Three different viewpoints are woven into these simple reflections. There is the Lord Jesus Himself, His disciples watching – and then there is us as we both watch events unfolding and, with the benefit of faith and hindsight, receive the power of His grace.

Part 1 – Good Friday: Reflections at the Cross

The second movement of Torelli’s Etienne concerto provides the music for this track.

Imagine yourself in the sandals of a disciple of Jesus, standing on the bare hill outside Jerusalem, watching as your dearest friend is nailed to a tree. You have long walked with Him, and seen Him set His face like flint to follow His Father’s leading into many dangerous situations – but you never imagined it would end like this Continue reading

Why Salisbury is a wakeup call for our times

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What is coming to me as I ponder the chemical nerve attack in Salisbury, is that this act feels like a wake-up call to the nations, our own in particular. On a rather different level, it is also a reminder call to the Body of Christ.

Clifford Hill said that we should operate with Bible in one hand and newspaper in the other. Further on in this edition we will be focusing on specific issues and details, and presenting a wide range of interesting and informative links to round out our understanding of current events. But it is important first that we see these things in a broader spiritual context. Continue reading