Some Brexit Thoughts

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(i) Justin Coldstream

At around the time of the referendum, I had a sense that a Leave result was very likely. It almost felt like a spiritual earthquake taking place!  On the night before the vote, our church home group was treated to the most spectacular rainbow over Poole harbour – truly memorable and one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. I took this to be a reassurance from God that He was watching over us for our good. But since then, we have been plunged into a crucible of pain and confusion over Brexit. The promises seem to have been all but forgotten, whether the [often dubious] ones made by the Leave campaign, or the spiritual promises that I along with many others believe that we received. Continue reading

On Retreat in Majorca

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But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:4)

I am deeply grateful for the recent opportunity to spend a week in a friend’s house in Pollenca, in north east Majorca. I asked some friends to pray along the lines of the old advertisement for Mars Bars: that I would know when to work, rest and pray. The Lord really did answer that, beautifully!

The Lord was delightfully at work each day, despite torrential storms for the first few of them. The split second I arrived in Pollenca, the heavens opened with a force I have never experienced before, obliging me to huddle beneath the bus-stand as ankle-deep water swept along the pavement. Just minutes later all approach roads into the town were cut off, and I would have been stuck. These rains, however, were just a ‘PS’ to the cataclysmic outpouring that swept many cars and people straight out to sea just a few days before. This short You tube gives a small flavour of the unprecedented destruction that afflicted the east coast of Majorca.

So much in Spain’s past has been buried, from the atrocities of the Inquisition and its highly public burnings, (the auto da fés) to the largely unaddressed legacy of the Civil War that so cruelly afflicted the nation and its islands. It was from Puerto Pollenca, just down the road from where I was staying, that the planes took off for their infamous raids on defenceless Barcelona.

One couldn’t help wondering: How must it have felt to be a pilot bombing their local capital? And what did the people of Barcelona feel about the pilots who dispensed death from the skies?

The Lord knows how these atrocities have impacted on the spiritual soul of the Spanish people. Despite the seeming calm and sweetness of the place, the stain of these unprovoked massacres has seeped deep down, leaving a very deep wound in the Spanish psyche. May the Lord Jesus cleanse, redeem and heal the unseen residues of this bitter past, and the still deep tensions over the matter of Catalonian independence. Speak life and truth to Spain, Catalonia and the islands, Lord Jesus, and raise up those who will own Your name in Spain, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands!

I had no car this time, so confined my explorations to what I could do within my sun-fuelled walking range. After a simple climb up the 365 Calvary steps, it was up to the Monastery which sits astride a high hill (at 336 metres, let’s call it a mountain!) directly overlooking the beautiful town of Pollenca, which Sister Flor and another sister founded way back in the late 14th century.

To my great satisfaction, I managed the long haul up the steep zigzag trails to the Puig de Santuari, where there is both a chapel and a surprisingly cheap restaurant, given that all ingredients have to be brought up by motor bike. My sense of achievement was very great!

I also loved following a footpath that led straight from my front door into the Val de Colonya: a really glorious mountain walk that may not have quite exceeded the 1000 foot mark but which felt really up high. What riches God has placed in Europe! My prayer continues as it has been for some years now: Lord raise up prophetic voices to make You known in secular Spain and Catalonia, and on these Balearic Islands. See our former sendout.

The only downside to an otherwise perfect week were over a dozen mosquito bites. The pesky attack formations of fleet-winged mozzies came keening in below radar detection levels, taking care to avoid walls and window sills where they would have been sitting targets. Lemon juice and antihistamine creams helped, but a pill when I got back to Malvern brought the best relief!

In his delightful poem, ‘To Autumn,’ Keats speaks of ‘small gnats mourning in a wailful choir’. I must confess that I have yet to detect the specific value of midges and mosquitoes in the grand scheme of things, but fast-response birds doubtless feast on them.

There was one other ‘snare,’ in the sense that I missed a rather important nudge on the last night. Feeling hungry and heading out to a fast food bar, the thought went through my mind, “Are you sure you want to do this?” But I let my hunger determine my reply. The next day, returning home, predictably as the consequence for ignoring the nudge, I had a not very pleasant tummy upset. The Lord was ultra-gracious about the timing and the circumstances but it was an unpleasantness I could have avoided had I heeded the warning.

Ros and I often ‘grade’ our nudges, not out of any sense of infallibility, but just to give each other an idea of how seriously we think we have heard. How would I grade that warning? Not quite an A grade, but quite possibly a straight B. Had I been more alert I should have recognised this seemingly ’impersonal’ warning as being the Lord’s voice and made alternative plans. It was precisely because that would have involved additional inconvenience that I failed to act on the nudge – and suffered as a result.

Lord, make us prompt to recognise the quiet whispers that You send rather than ploughing on regardless with our own plans and intentions!

Here are some photos of Majorca

(We’ll have some more ready soon)

Reflections on the other nations mentioned in the 1911 prophecy

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The 1911 prophecy I referred to in the article A twin pronged Call to Women to pray briefly mentioned a number of countries, rather as many of the oracles in the Old Testament frequently referred to Edom and Moab and so on.

Concerning the nations specifically mentioned in this prophecy, Italy has certainly endured a great battering of natural disasters. We will each have our own interpretation and understanding of the measure of divine displeasure we are seeing worked out in nations such as Italy. Continue reading

A twin pronged call to pray

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You may well have come across this remarkable prophecy that was given in 1911, but this article provides background detail to the word – along with details of a somewhat similar one that was given in 1986 along similar lines. No prophecy can ever represent the full picture, of course, and these are not biblical prophecies, of course, but these are important words! Continue reading

The Sovereignty of God

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There are many ways to look at world events and God’s involvement in them. At one end we find believers who basically consider that people and nations just ‘get on with things’ while God watches on, but that He can still work to bring good out of them. This point of view rather begs the question as to how and at what point the Lord chooses to intervene in order to bring about that good. At the other end of the scale are those who believe that God is directly involved in all that happens and has clear purposes and reasons in this. Continue reading

Insights into the reasons behind events

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At one point during the reign of David, the land endured famine for three successive years. A less spiritual king would have sent his biggest wagons rolling down to Egypt to stock up on grain. He might even have gone to war to procure supplies.

On an earlier occasion, David had shown himself quick to discern the hidden hand of Joab behind a request that had been presented to him. (2 Sam 14:9) Now, because the Lord had trained Him in his ways, David took time to seek the Lord, and recognised this famine as being something more than a problem of the moment, so he sought the Lord about it. What the Lord said must have come as quite a surprise. He showed him that it was the fruit of Saul breaking a promise made centuries ago concerning the Gibeonites. This was a tribe that was not a part of Israel but who were survivors of the Amorites whom the Israelites had sworn to spare. In his zeal for Israel and Judah, however, Saul had sought to annihilate them. Continue reading

Who will rise up for Me?

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Back in 1980, at a time when we were being called as a small community to deepen our life of prayer for the nations, Martin Charlesworth wrote this powerful call from Lord to rise up as intercessors for Him. With Megan singing it for us, this is a really beautiful as well as a powerful call from the Lord that you will want to hear more than once to take the words, as well as the melody, deeper into your heart.

Dipping our toes in prayer for wider matters – then going deeper!

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Ankle deep, up to our waists – then swimming freely! Extending our prayers from the particular to the wider

Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you . . . (Col. 4:12-13)

Something I have found helpful over the years as a ‘way in’ to praying for ‘wider’ topics (especially I have been feeling somewhat dwarfed by the sheer size of some of them) is to start by focusing on one or two people or situations, and taking them as being ‘representative’ of a profession, community or even nation.

So if, for example, the thought of praying for education seems too big a task to contemplate – start by praying for someone you know who goes to school, or who teaches in one. As we identify with these dear ones they become our starting point, from which we move on to pray for all who – in mathematical terms – fall into their {sets of} schools, nurses businesses and so on. Suddenly, and almost without effort, we realise that we have gone from ‘ankle deep’ to waist deep and now are swimming freely in the gift of praying for education! We can do the same for the NHS, or for any big issue, organisation or even nation.

This seriously moving brief clip (from CBN.com) of Josh Kezer, who was sentenced to sixty years imprisonment for something he hadn’t done, serves as an excellent prompt to pray for those who are the innocent victims of allegations – as well as a powerful testimony of reaching out with grace to those who are not innocent!

Is it fair to expect God to answer ‘generalised’ (as opposed to personalised) prayers? I think it is. When I was at Oxford, David Watson led a major mission to the university, accompanied by a team of assistant missioners. The Lord told this group that if they were prepared to make sacrifices at night and pray, He would raise up a harvest of souls. They were faithful to that calling – and one hundred and fifty of us students  gave our lives to the Lord during that memorable week – including, quite separately, my flat mate.

That was back in 1976. Within two years at least eight of us were in ‘full time’ service for the Lord. Only the Lord knows how many have come to know Jesus over the course of these forty plus years through the witness of those who came to faith then. But behind their example lie the faithfulness of those who were prepared to toil in prayer for people they would never know by name – in this world at least. May we be ready to respond as the Spirit of prayer stirs within us.

Scan the skies and let My Spirit shape and inspire your prayers

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Feast on these very brief reflections on prayer set to a beautiful trio by CPE Bach. The voices you will hear are those of Robert Weston and Andrew Whettam.

In less time than it takes to pronounce these words
prayer can travel any distance,
ford any river, and cross any sea;
and since those who pray together are most likely to stay together,
may we re-form our lives around Your inner summons
lest we end up thinking too much and praying too little.

When I call you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the word sha’al means to ‘enquire earnestly concerning’.

Try to find out what is on My heart for the situations that You bring to Me.

The sling and the stone that were right for slaying Goliath would not have served in later battles.

Report for duty rather than issuing Me with instructions; better far to blend your will to Mine than to try to bind Mine to your confined perspective.

One word from Heaven sets you on the very best course of action,

So scan the skies and let My Spirit shape and inspire your prayers.”

Let shafts of longing and wider panoramas develop our life of prayer – and along with them the resolve to go in search of You.

Why it is so important keep our ears tuned to the Lord at all times . . .

In amongst all the grief and debris of the disasters in Palu, Sulawesi, there will undoubtedly have been testimonies of God at work in the midst of the crisis. Here is one such remarkable story that is already becoming widely known . . .

The testimony of the Pilot of the last plane out of Palu before the earthquake

Today the Batik Air pilot, Captain Mafella, visited a church in Jakarta (Duta Injil BIP) and testified why he speeded up the departure of his flight 3 minutes ahead of the Palu airport schedule set.

He told us that all day Friday, 28/9/2018 he had been feeling unsettled and he didn’t know why. To get rid of these feelings of unrest, he loudly sang worship songs the whole way from Ujung Pandang to Palu, (“Usually I only hummed, but that day I wanted to praise the Lord as best I could”, he said). Eventually his Muslim Co-Pilot jokingly suggested, that he make a CD of worship songs.

When they were about to land at the Palu Airport, the sky was clear but the wind was too strong and he *“heard a voice in his heart” telling him to circle again before landing. The Palu airport is squeezed between two mountain ranges and it reminded him of  the verse, Psalm  23:4: “I may walk through valleys as dark as death but I won’t be afraid. You are with me and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe”.

According to the Captain, pilots call airports situated between two mountain ranges, “valleys of death”, because they must be extra careful in landing,  so Christian pilots hold on to Psalm 23:4.

A moment after landing successfully, he felt in his heart that he needed to be quick. Because of that, he instructed his crew to just take a 20 minute break before the plane was due to return to Jakarta via Ujung Pandang. He didn’t even leave the cockpit and requested permission from the Control Tower to depart 3 minutes ahead of schedule. After receiving permission for take-off from the late air controller, Agung, [Anthonius Gunawan Agung] they prepared for take-off.

Captain Mafella confessed that at that time he broke flight procedures because he took over the job of the Co-Pilot by speeding up the plane in the process of take-off. He didn’t know why but his hand kept holding on to the lever causing the plane to speed up as it took off. He did not know then that an earthquake had struck Palu but he felt the plane swaying a little to left and right. According to him if he had taken off three minutes later, he would not have been able to save the 140 passengers, because the asphalt on the landing strip was moving up and down like a curtain blowing in the wind.

Several minutes after take-off, he tried to communicate with the tower but there was no response from Agung. He looked down and saw a strange phenomenon. The sea water on the coast was forming a very large hole “so that the foundation of the sea bed could be seen.”

When the plane arrived in Ujung Pandang, he was told that there had been an earthquake and tsunami in Palu and that the official in the control tower who had organised his plane’s take off, had died shortly after he had made sure that the plane had taken off safely.

This afternoon before he left to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Captain Mafella emphasized how important it is that we are to hear the voice of God.  And whatever happens we must be calm, not in a panic, so that we can clearly hear the voice of God coming to us by the Holy Spirit – because he added that when he took over the role of the co-pilot to speed up the take-off, the co-pilot looked fearful, as the body of the plane was swinging left and right. May we take a lesson and a blessing from the testimony of Captain Mafella today.

Another person read about this air traffic controller who lost his life by staying at his post to make sure the plane got away whilst the others fled the control tower. Now we hear the other part of the story.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-45702619