Further on and Further in

How the Lord is longing to take us into a richer, deeper awareness of His presence that takes us beyond our narrow self-focus and adds meaning, colour and experience to every aspect of our lives. We have prepared something special along these lines for you in this edition, featuring the second part of the Idyll that I wrote recently, and which Justin Coldstream kindly arranged for instruments.

Sally Mowbray has excelled herself in creating perhaps the most sumptuous You Tube she has yet designed, highlighting something of the processes by which the Lord draws us closer to Himself. Thank you so much, Justin, Sally, Colin who recorded it, and all who the musicians who played it: Shirley Richards, Helen Rees, Catherine Muncey, Jo Garcia, Corinne Frost, Nicola Gerrard, Amy Roberts and Justin himself.

May the Lord draw us all further on and further in along our pilgrimage, and continue to bless and watch over us.

To watch without the words

 

Why we should be concerned about what is happening in Turkey

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Pray for Turkey

Serious abuses of human rights were occurring on a regular basis in Turkey, even before this latest clampdown.

It is obvious that President Erdogan is using the failed coup as a Reichstag moment to maximise his opportunity to clamp down in a most authoritarian way against all opposition. The forces impacted by this are enormous. Continue reading

Lot’s Syndrome

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Sharing the Lord’s Heart: Lot’s Syndrome

For I wrote to you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears . . . (2 Cor. 2:4).

In the quote above Paul is expressing a pain that those who are closest to the Lord’s heart often experience. Peter writes of something similar when he describes Lot as “a righteous man who was tormented in his righteous soul by the wickedness he saw and heard every day” (2 Pet. 2:7-8). I have long since christened this “Lot’s Syndrome.” As we will see, this willingness to share in the Lord’s sorrow can lead us to identify much more fully with the Lord”s own heart.

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Pray for Turkey

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Turkey – home of so many of the great New Testament churches, but now with less than than 0.1% of the population being believers – a country in which the majority of provinces have no churches, no workers and no Christian witness of any sort.

In all we share here, there are major ramifications for us too in the West. Pray for the Holy Spirit to stir up such an unquenchable spiritual thirst in people that it will lead them to search for truth and then to find Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Continue reading

Intensifying our prayer life: Sackcloth and the Day of Prayer and Fasting

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Join me in suffering as a loyal soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer . . . Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this (2 Tim. 2:3-4,7).

Reading through Hebrews 11, the word ‘better’ occurs three times and it has been standing out to me. Great heroes of the faith were concerned to make a better offering, to search for a better country (a heavenly one!) and to gain an even better resurrection (Heb. 11:4,16,35). In this article, I want to consider ways by which we might seek the Lord to the very level of our ability, and so fulfil His highest purposes for us. Continue reading

Post Referendum

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Post-Referendum: Redemptive choices, unparalleled changes and a call to prayer

So it’s done – but anything but done and dusted. Here’s to rolling up our sleeves as watchmen for the Lord and playing our part in this highly volatile situation!

In this edition I will be sharing various perspectives concerning the referendum following the somewhat unexpected win by the Leave Campaign. You will find some seriously thoughtful perspectives here that we hope will both fuel your interest and your desire to continue in prayer. Continue reading

Hebrew songs from Jersey that minister to the soul and lead us into prayer.

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As people try and get their heads round the issues involved in the EU Referendum vote, here are some short but distinctly soothing pieces of music written and played on Celtic harp by our friend Jane Horsfall from Jersey. Mike Halliday was playing the clarinet. May it lead our spirit into places of quiet – but also clarity.

The music is lovely and so too are the stunning photographs that Sally has found to accompany these three Sound Clouds.

 

 

Mercy (iv)

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Applying Mercy in Practice (ii): The 80-20 Choice

Even on the night He was betrayed, when He was breaking bread and giving it to the disciples, Jesus still gave thanks. (1 Cor. 11:23-24) If He can give thanks at a time like that, what does His example have to say to us in whatever it is that we are going through?

I have some suggestions to make to help us cope with the things we find less immediately attractive in each other. Continue reading

Mercy (iii)

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Applying Mercy

(i) Cultivating the Gratitude Attitude

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:18).

Who do we appreciate spending time with? The grateful! These are the ones who bubble over with the love of the Lord, and are always most willing to extend a hand of help and a heart of mercy. By contrast the meanly calculating are far more concerned with their own self interests.

Certain foods need sweetening to avoid being bitter to the taste. This corresponds in spiritual terms to gratitude. May it sweeten those areas in our lives which the Lord – and no doubt others(!) – identify that we are most in need of.

One of the simplest ways we have discovered to cultivate such a heart of gratitude is to pause towards the end of the day and deliberately ponder at least five precious things that have happened in the course of it and to give thanks for them.

For the most part, we are not speaking primarily here of major life-changing events but of simple things it is entirely right and proper precious to appreciate. Just a few moments of reflection will help us to find much cause to recognise the goodness of God at work. Rather than looking on the events of the day just as so many tasks that we have ticked off on our ‘to-do list’, it is precious to take time to thank the Lord for them, along with all the blessings that He regularly sends our way, and the special blessings He may have sent that day.

At least for a period of time, why not get into the habit of jotting down these acts of grace and mercy in diary form? You will hopefully be amazed and encouraged by just how many blessings the Lord has directed your way. You will also enjoy looking back on them later on!

I want to celebrate not only the momentous and soaring things You do, Lord, but also the delightful little steering touches by which You lead and direct us in the course of the day. You love to sanctify the ordinary and to allow the truly extraordinary to spring so naturally from it.

Thank You for the precious things by which You mark our path each day; threads of grace within the day’s events, and signs and whispers of Your presence along my path; sufficient food and drink, a hug received, an affirming word, worthwhile encounters with people, spiritual truths learnt or reaffirmed, troublesome things resolved: lost things found, misunderstandings cleared up, creative things begun, progress made. . . creative projects begun or progress made on them . . . thank You most of all for Your care for us; the attention to detail You show us every step of the way.

Father God, I want to record with thankfulness the mercy You have shown me today. Thank You for all the goodness with which You have compassed me about: for the noble things, the pure things, the lovely things, the admirable things. . . With pen or tablet in hand I choose now to focus on the excellent and praiseworthy things with which You have surrounded me with. May the thoughts of my heart and the words of my mouth line up more and more with Your heart. And as this spirit of thanksgiving flows through my heart, may You come ever deeper, even reaching out to embrace that which is less lovely. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Prayer for Italy – Soil and Soul

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We have prepared a two part presentation to help us focus our prayers for Italy. Sally has illustrated this first part as a Youtube; we do hope you will take the time to join with us in it. The exquisite music is by two Italian composers:Torelli and Corelli. In a country once renowned for building roads, may the Lord use it to pave the way for His power to move afresh through the church and nation.

I took the picture of this rainbow straight out of the front door of the room in which I was staying in the Garfagnana Valley.

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