Accepted in the Beloved

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Through the riches of His grace and to the praise of His grace, we are accepted in the beloved’. (Eph. 1:3-6)

What a powerful and precious phrase to savour on our lips and to take into our spirits. It is the perfect antidote to both inner confusion and condemnation and external rejection.

To get the full force of all that is implied by the word ‘accepted,’ however,  we need to look at the Greek. Continue reading

Picking up on our prejudices

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Prejudices! Jesus came up against them throughout the course of His entire ministry – just as many of us do – especially if we find ourselves seeking to challenge vested interests! It’s usually pretty easy to recognise prejudices when they surface in other people, you will be familiar with the kind of people whose whole demeanour exudes the “don’t confuse me with facts: my mind’s made up!” The trouble is – prejudices are not just about other people: we’ve all got them. It’s just not always quite so easy to recognise our own – but it is really important that we do track them down and Continue reading

Setting Ireland free from the dark shadows of prejudice

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Two themes have inspired me to write this article: firstly, that the Lord encouraged – (challenged would not be too strong a word for it!) – to let Him seek out my own prejudices – and the other is that I have just spent much of the past weekend praying for Ireland in the light of the papal visit.

It may be no coincidence that this theme of prejudice has been ‘buzzing’ away in me at this time when Ireland has been so much in the news; and this at a time when it is so important that past prejudices do not dominate future developments in that country.

This has been a major time of uncovering for Ireland, when the results of the deeply held prejudices are being brought out into the open: for example in the infamous Magdalen Laundry homes, and the cruel sanctions imposed on unmarried, in the homes for unmarried mothers when they were separated from their babies.

Last Saturday night, over 80,000 people gathered in Croker Park, Dublin, for a Festival of Families, with testimonies from around the world. That is a beautiful thought for approaching the darker aspects of Ireland that have been to the fore in the last few days in many people’s thoughts and prayer. Continue reading

Praying for Venezuela and other places in great need

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Prejudices and abuse are not confined to institutions, and certainly not to any one religion, denomination or political stance.

When Ros and I travelled around Pakistan in the 1980’s we were saddened by the suffering of the large number of ‘bonded labourers’ (effectively modern day slaves) who were ‘employed’ in making bricks, but who can never escape their indebtedness to their employers.

See the important work that Barnabas Fund is doing in combatting this, together with an opportunity to contribute towards helping to ransom such a worker. Continue reading

Psalm 67

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Linda wrote this beautiful song from Psalm 67 as a cry to the Lord to be gracious and to show great mercy. She originally wrote this song in French, but has also released an English version of it.

It is a superb song, and a particularly fitting one to help us pray for many situations where there is an enormous need for God’s mercy to be poured out.

Instrumental Version

‘Heimat’: the blessing of homes and landscapes that fuel our spirits

Where are the places that mean most to you? Do you find refreshment and inspiration just revisiting them in spirit, or through photos? How blessed we are to live in Malvern; if the South Downs were my first love, and the Lake District a very close second, I have grown to love these hills very much too. All this speaks of the German concept of heimat. ‘Wherein the individual is able to experience safety and the reliability of its existence, as well as a place of a deeper trust.’ Continue reading

Into the Morning

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In a world in which so many are facing daunting circumstances, how precious it is to dedicate ourselves afresh to the Lord each morning – and to know His ongoing presence throughout the day.

May this song serve as a ‘rhythm’ prayer in our hearts, and a clarion call to remind us to clothe and arm ourselves in the Lord’s peace and presence so that we can be bearers of His peace into each situation we find ourselves in.

 

Photo by jonas-weckschmied-117633-unsplash

Friendships that foster fervent prayer

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What can be more precious than the friendships the Lord gives? They are not only a great joy in themselves, but are also a strategic resource for the Kingdom.

In this celebration of friendship Ros and I are accompanied by beautiful music by Francis Cummings, a canzona from one of Henry Purcell’s trio sonatas, and Francois Couperin’s ‘Les Bergeries.’ Continue reading

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?

Continue reading