One of our biggest challenges
13th Dec 2016
One of our biggest challenges
"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord. Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster; he does not take back his words. He will rise up against that wicked nation, against those who help evildoers. But the Egyptians are mere mortals and not God; their horses are flesh and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out his hand, those who help will stumble, those who are helped will fall; all will perish together." Isaiah 31:1-3
I read these sobering verses this morning. On more than one occasion and specifically in 2 Kings 18, the people of Israel and Judah were guilty of looking to other people for help rather than God himself. This was a grave sin in God’s eyes that his people would trust in mere mortal man for their deliverance over himself, part of the judgment upon them was because of this sin. We can easily miss the point here because we certainly don’t trust in chariots and horsemen for our deliverance. However, how many times do we trust in ourselves and our own abilities and resources or in others that we know, rather than the Lord himself. Sometimes our prayers are said not in faith that we believe God will answer but because we think we ought. This passage is clear, people are not God and our resources are not his Spirit. When you trust in people both those you trust in and you who trust will fail. Learn to put your complete trust in God, he will never let you down!
Last wee - I had a number of meetings, with a view to sorting things and putting things in place for my sabbatical. I have had a couple of encouraging meetings around the foodbank. On Sunday the church prayed for Pauline and I. It feels very much that God has led us to this point, preparing the church and us for this break. There was a particular word that God would use Pauline to help strengthen my faith. This seemed very relevant to us, as we have very much felt the sabbatical is to be a shared experience, even though Pauline will obviously have to work. It was also interesting that the person who brought this word had received it some months ago whilst at Newday and had just not had an opportunity to share it.
Sabbatica - So what will I be doing whilst I am away? Nothing has yet been set in stone but these are some of the things that we are considering:
- A trip to Israel to visit my brother.
- A trip to the States to the Pastors conference at Bethlehem Baptist.
- Visits to numerous churches in and around the UK and in particular London.
- I have two preaching engagements and one wedding.
- The opportunity to collect many of my thoughts around the issue of diversity and marriage.
Hylton update - During the time I am away, Pauline and I celebrate our 50th birthdays, Rhianna is 21 in March and Daisy is 18 in April. It should be great to be off during these times of family celebrations. In other family news Yasmin has interviewed and accepted a job as a Data Manager at a secondary school in Blackpool. We are thanking God for his provision of this job for her. We are very much looking forward to have Yas and Rhianna back for Christmas and have lots of fun things planned for our family day on 24th Dec.
18th De - Christmas Carol Service 5pm featuring the Richard Atkins Primary School Choir
22nd De - office close
4th Ja 201 - office reopens
8th Jan 2017 - first service in 2017. There will be no services on either 25th Dec or 1st Jan.