Peter Horrobin

Founder & International Director of Ellel Ministries

January 16, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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ALWAYS!

“Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.”

Proverbs 28:14, NIV

There are many scriptures which encourage people to live with a holy fear of the Lord, but there is one word in our verse for today which sets this particular scripture apart from all the others – it’s the word always.

Always is a word which doesn’t allow for any variation in standard or practice – it simply means, in this context, that whenever you face a choice or a decision in which you have an opportunity to either obey the Lord, or to sin, then you don’t even have to think about it. The decision in your heart has already been made – you will ALWAYS allow fear of the Lord to determine your actions. The last thing you would ever want to do is grieve Him and the peace of God will always follow your decisions.

The second part of the verse explains how it is that people can choose to ignore the Lord and even though they know something is wrong, go ahead and do it. They have to harden their heart – and to harden one’s heart and go against God is not a good idea! There are many stories in the Bible which tell of what happened when people knowingly chose to harden their hearts and oppose God. This happened many times with the people of Israel in their wilderness years after fleeing Egypt.

Hebrews 3:7-11 speaks directly into our own lives when the writer uses those experiences of the children of Israel to warn us of the dangers of hardening our hearts. They hardened their hearts on many occasions and invoked the anger of God. Verse 8 says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

A hardened heart is very dangerous. Our conscience becomes dimmed and we become less and less sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. And the more we go our own way, the harder the heart becomes and, as our Scripture tells us, there will be trouble ahead. The word ‘always’ is an absolute antidote to a hardened heart. Allow holy fear to keep your life on God’s track and ALWAYS make your decisions in the fear of the Lord.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to remember the importance of the word ‘always’. I recognize that Satan will constantly want to trip me up and I choose now to live in the fear of the Lord and not to harden my heart. Thank you for the promise of the peace of God which will then always be in my heart. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

December 31, 2017
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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The Blessings of Humility

‘For this is what the high and lofty One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Isaiah 57:15, NIV

On this, the first day of 2018, I am delighted to wish all who read Seeds of the Kingdom a very ‘Happy New Year’! These words will be used today by millions of people across the world as they greet their friends and family. BUT, in a very unstable and ever-changing world the words will be said by many as more of a tentative hope than an expected reality.

It seems to me that 2017 was a year when governmental leaders turned their backs on our historic Christian beliefs more than ever, and labelled anyone who dares to question their policies, because of what they believe, as being a dangerous fundamentalist! Ignorance, arrogance and pride have become the fake clothing of those who would lead us further and further away from solid spiritual foundations. There is no ‘fear of God’ in the land and, for most people, what God’s Word says does not feature on any list of important considerations.

This is not the first time that this has happened! The prophets were constantly challenging God’s people when, in pride, they were heading off in a wrong direction. The primary purpose of such a prophet, to his own generation, was to bring correction when the people were going off track and to remind them of foundational truths, such as those contained in our Scripture for today. If we want to know the joy of living day by day in the real presence of the living God, then we have to lay on one side choices and decisions that are rooted in arrogance and pride. There has to be a change of direction – that’s what repentance means.

Humility is not a sign of weakness – it is the outworking of great inner spiritual strength. A humble person is one who loves God’s Word and is not afraid to live a life submitted to God, and His will. Such a life will be fruitful in time and bring great reward in eternity.

God promises to bring revival to the heart of those who are lowly and contrite. Or putting it another way – if we humble ourselves, God will lift us up! (James 4:10). So, whatever others may be believing, saying or doing, let us make 2018 a year when we, as individuals, determine that we are going to humble ourselves, serve the Lord and remain faithful to the beliefs and practices that we know to be true in God’s Word. God’s promise is that He will revive the heart of the contrite – and if that is what God does for you then it will, indeed, be a very happy New Year! And I pray with all my heart that this is what your experience will be in 2018.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You showed us the ultimate example of humility and were willing to trust Father God – even though it meant suffering and death. Thank You for dying that I might live. Help me in 2018 to live unconditionally for You and not be afraid to live out my faith in a world that is increasingly hostile to the truth of Your Word. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

December 24, 2017
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Treasure in the Heart

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Luke 2:16-19, NIV

The first Christmas Day was an extraordinary event! Whoever before had heard of a virgin having a baby? It’s just not possible. And then a host of angels bursting through the clouds to sing to a group of shepherds about a special baby being born in Bethlehem? The shepherds were then treated to a grand-stand view of an extraordinary angelic chorus. And they dutifully obeyed their instructions and went to find the baby the angels had sung about.

I am sure that Mary was not expecting visitors in the improvised maternity wing of the local hostelry! That should have been a time for privacy, rest and recovery. But God had other intentions. Mary needed to know that what the Angel Gabriel had spoken to her all those months ago was not just something between her and God. The news was out and God sent along a bunch of the most unlikely, and probably very uneducated, men on the planet to tell Mary what they had just seen and witness the extraordinary event.

Those shepherds could have had no ulterior motive whatsoever. They couldn’t have made it up. They were simple people and they reported to Mary and Joseph exactly what they had seen, and in simple obedience became the first external witnesses to the reality of what had happened. This was undoubtedly God at work.

Mary had a lot to think about that night as she nurtured and fed her Son. No wonder the Scripture tells us that she pondered these things in her heart. Gabriel had said that the baby she would bear would be “called the Son of God”. And now God had sent a great company of angels to confirm what Gabriel had told her nine months previously. There was no escaping the amazing truth that this baby she was looking at in the manger was God’s Son.

I have been freshly impacted this Christmas by the extraordinary truth that the baby conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit was indeed the Son of God. His prophetic name was Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’. His New Testament name, Jesus, means ‘Saviour from sin’. The babe of Bethlehem truly is God my Saviour!

May I encourage you this Christmas to ponder these extraordinary truths in your own heart afresh. And in the midst of the giving and receiving of presents, thank God for His gift to a broken and sin-stained world – His own Son – and then welcome Him into your own heart and life. What you ponder will then become treasure of eternal value.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the extraordinary gift of Your Son. As I ponder this amazing truth I want to thank You afresh for the Saviour of the world and for Mary’s obedience in saying Yes to God. Help me, Lord, to follow Mary’s example and always say Yes to those things that You ask me to do. In Jesus Name, Amen.

December 15, 2017
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Light in the Darkness

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

Isaiah 9:2, NIV

What a graphic expression is contained in this verse of those who are living in the world, but who have no knowledge of Christ – they are people who are ‘living in the land of the shadow of death’. For it is indeed the shadow of eternal death that hovers over the lives of each and every one of us until we have been redeemed from the control of the god of this world and have entered into our freedom and destiny.

In Chapter 9, Isaiah was prophesying about the coming Messiah and verses 6 and 7 especially are being read at carol services all over the world in this Christmas season. But the full significance of those precious words, which describe the Babe of Bethlehem as “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” can only be fully appreciated by realising that the Babe of Bethlehem is also the Light of the World, and it is only He that can penetrate the darkness of a world that has given itself over to sin. It is only the Light of Jesus that can dispel the shadow of death.

The most important day of my life was when I knelt by my bedside with my father and gave my life to Jesus. The light of life entered in and even though I was only nine years old, I knew that the light which Isaiah talks about here as having dawned upon the world, was shining in my heart. An extraordinary transaction had taken place. The Babe of Bethlehem had become the light of my world.

As Christmas approaches, may I encourage you to read again the Christmas story from the Scriptures. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you His truth and if you are still living in the land of the shadow of death, then let this Christmas be the year when you come out of the shadows into the glorious light and freedom that has shone down the years from the Babe of Bethlehem.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for coming into a world that was living under the shadow of death. Thank You that Your love was such that You came to live and to die for sinful man. Help me, Lord, to so live for You day by day, that Your light will shine through me to others, and that there will be those who are in the shadow of death who will want to open the doors of their heart to the One who is the Light of the World. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 28, 2017
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Tiger Traps!

“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong”

Exodus 23:2, NIV

I recently bought a new Bible and have been reading it afresh from the beginning. It’s a large print Bible with all the text set out in paragraphs, rather than individual verses. I have found it very refreshing and, indeed, challenging as the Lord has been showing me so many new things from His Word that have really arrested me in my reading. Already there are many places which I have picked up my pen and underlined something, or written comments in the margin for future reference.

Our Scripture for today is just one of those sentences that is now underlined. We often talk about how difficult it must be for young believers today to be faithful to God’s Word. The massive changes in public perceptions of morality and of what is right and what is wrong have steadily eroded the backbone of truth which was the Christian heritage of our nation. The ‘peer pressure’ on the young – and also the not so young! – is huge. And the temptation to think that society must be right, and to start re-interpreting Scripture to make it say something different from the obvious, has led to many people falling into traps of the enemy.

In days past, when tigers were common and a danger to human life, one way of catching a dangerous animal was to construct a tiger trap – a deep pit, across the top of which are carefully laid thin branches, so that they look like solid ground. When the tiger treads on the branches its own weight makes the branches give way, the tiger falls through and is trapped at the bottom of the pit.

There are many different ‘tiger traps’ which Satan has laid across the paths of unsuspecting Christians and unless we are aware from Scripture as to what is right and what is wrong, we can all be in danger of falling into them. And when the crowd seems to be going in one direction it’s very hard to resist the crowd’s pressure and refuse to compromise on what you know to be true.

I often hear people talking about praying for revival. But with so many people caught in the tiger traps of the enemy’s making, I believe that in order for there to be revival, there first needs to be a season of repentance so that God’s people will, once again, be choosing to walk in the opposite direction to the crowd, because they have learned afresh from God’s Word the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Only then will they have the discernment to spot the tiger traps that lie ahead of them and avoid falling in!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your Word is very clear about what is right and what is wrong. Help me, Lord, not to be swayed by the pressures of the crowd when the crowd is going in a direction different to the way of truth and life. Where I have followed the crowd and fallen into a ‘tiger trap’ I pray that you will forgive me, lift me out and set my feet once again on the rock of truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 28, 2017
by Blog Moderator
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Are You Shovelling Coal or Stones?

Occasionally I have some very vivid dreams. More often than not they are forgotten within seconds of waking up, but every now and again I have a dream that persists and which I know that God is speaking through.

In one such dream, I was leaning out of the window of a long steam-hauled passenger train, as it was going round a bend in the track. I could see the engine and the front coaches of the train in the distance. Suddenly, the link between the first three coaches and the rest of the train came adrift. I watched as the engine with its three coaches disappeared into the distance, while the rest of the train that I was on slowly free wheeled to a halt.

It seemed that I was the only person fully aware of the problem. Eventually a small shunting engine came reversing down the track to connect with and retrieve the rest of the train. The shunter was accompanied by a tender full of best quality coal. And in the dream it became my job to keep shovelling the coal into the fire box of the engine, so that this small engine could get up enough steam to pull a long heavy train.

I was doing a good job and was pleased with the work I was doing. Then I noticed that as the coal began to be used up, amazingly, someone was pouring bags of fresh coal into the tender so that there was always a good supply.

But then I also noticed something else. There were some sacks of what I thought to be coal being poured into the coal-tender from another direction. And as I bent to shovel this fresh coal into the fire I was suddenly aware that these sacks did not contain best quality coal at all, but pebbles of stone, which were now mixed with the best quality coal still being poured in from the other side.

I now had a huge problem. If I continued to shovel the coal mixed with stone into the firebox of the engine the coal would burn, but the stones would be left behind. And before very long the fire box would be clogged with stone, the engine would not be able to produce any steam and the whole train would grind to a halt.

I soon saw that before I could shovel more coal into the firebox, therefore, I had to pick out the lumps of stone and separate them from the coal. But this was taking such a long time that the fire in the firebox began to burn low for lack of coal.

So, if I shovelled in the mix of coal and stone it would clog the firebox. And if I took the time to separate out all the stone from the coal, I wouldn’t be getting enough coal into the firebox to keep the engine going. Either way, whoever it was that was pouring sacks of stones into the coal tender was winning the battle.

It didn’t take me long to realise that there was only one way to win the battle – and that was to stop whoever it was that was pouring bags of stones into the coal-tender.

And then God spoke to me:

“The sacks of best-quality coal are being poured into the tender by My angels so that you will always have enough fuel to keep your life on track. When My enemy realises that you are determined to press on with your calling, he knows that he cannot stop My angels from pouring in the coal. So, in order to slow your progress, he looks for every possible opening there may be in your spiritual defences into which his ‘angels’ may pour sacks of stones.

If you do nothing about it the fire-box of your spiritual life will soon go out – clogged with ‘stones’. And if you start tackling the problem, the time you have to spend in clearing the stones out of the coal tender will also limit your potential in the Kingdom of God. Either way, eventually, your train will run out of steam and be going nowhere. Sadly, My church is full of trains going nowhere.

I am now urging My people to ask Me to show them where the holes are in their defences, through which My enemy can pour in stones, and to close them off by being willing to deal with the issues through repentance, healing and deliverance. Only then will their lives get back fully on track and they will be able to generate enough steam to pull the train of their life in the manner and direction that I intended.”

I woke up knowing it was time to go to prayer.

 

 

November 15, 2017
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Detestable Praying!

Proverbs 28:9, NIV
“If anyone turns deaf ears to the law, even his prayers are detestable”

There are some verses in the Bible that are challenging to the extreme. Our Scripture for today is one of them. Whoever would have thought that God would hate anyone’s prayers? But the psalmist had already written on this very topic when he said, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalm 66:18). And then again in the New Testament Jesus was scathing about the prayers of the Pharisees because of their hypocrisy. When Scripture reinforces itself so strongly, with similar teaching from different books of the Bible, you can be sure that what is being said is of special importance and significance.

So why would God find someone’s prayers detestable? This Scripture explains very simply and clearly. God has given us His Word. The commandments and everything we need to know about what is right and what is wrong is contained within God’s law. So when people deliberately and knowingly choose to rewrite God’s laws, so that what God has really said is put on one side in favour of what they would have preferred the Bible to say, they are treading on very dangerous ground. And it’s an even more serious sin to teach others, either by example or by your words, to disobey God’s law.

To presume that you know better than God and deliberately flout the teaching of God’s Word is not only a serious sin, but it makes our prayers detestable to God. It’s no use people saying, “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?” if, at the same time they are choosing to live their lives outside the parameters of spiritual safety that are provided by the teaching of the Bible. When we choose to turn away from God like this and walk in the opposite direction, it’s as if God goes deaf!

If you’ve been walking away from God in some area of your life and have been wondering why your prayers have not been answered, may I encourage you to change direction (that’s what repentance means), confess your sin to God and seek His face afresh. You will be very surprised to discover that not only does He love to hear your prayers, but He also delights to answer them. Daniel was able to say to King Darius “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me because I was found innocent in his sight” (Daniel 6:22). What an amazing testimony to the power of prayer from a man who chose to live according to God’s law.

Prayer: Father God, I pray that You will forgive me for all the times that I have wanted You to hear and answer my prayers at the same time as I have been knowingly disobeying Your law. I ask You to show me all the areas of my life where I need to change so that Godly order may be restored in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 15, 2017
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Detestable Praying!

Proverbs 28:9, NIV
“If anyone turns deaf ears to the law, even his prayers are detestable”

There are some verses in the Bible that are challenging to the extreme. Our Scripture for today is one of them. Whoever would have thought that God would hate anyone’s prayers? But the psalmist had already written on this very topic when he said, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalm 66:18). And then again in the New Testament Jesus was scathing about the prayers of the Pharisees because of their hypocrisy. When Scripture reinforces itself so strongly, with similar teaching from different books of the Bible, you can be sure that what is being said is of special importance and significance.

So why would God find someone’s prayers detestable? This Scripture explains very simply and clearly. God has given us His Word. The commandments and everything we need to know about what is right and what is wrong is contained within God’s law. So when people deliberately and knowingly choose to rewrite God’s laws, so that what God has really said is put on one side in favour of what they would have preferred the Bible to say, they are treading on very dangerous ground. And it’s an even more serious sin to teach others, either by example or by your words, to disobey God’s law.

To presume that you know better than God and deliberately flout the teaching of God’s Word is not only a serious sin, but it makes our prayers detestable to God. It’s no use people saying, “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?” if, at the same time they are choosing to live their lives outside the parameters of spiritual safety that are provided by the teaching of the Bible. When we choose to turn away from God like this and walk in the opposite direction, it’s as if God goes deaf!

If you’ve been walking away from God in some area of your life and have been wondering why your prayers have not been answered, may I encourage you to change direction (that’s what repentance means), confess your sin to God and seek His face afresh. You will be very surprised to discover that not only does He love to hear your prayers, but He also delights to answer them. Daniel was able to say to King Darius “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me because I was found innocent in his sight” (Daniel 6:22). What an amazing testimony to the power of prayer from a man who chose to live according to God’s law.

Prayer: Father God, I pray that You will forgive me for all the times that I have wanted You to hear and answer my prayers at the same time as I have been knowingly disobeying Your law. I ask You to show me all the areas of my life where I need to change so that Godly order may be restored in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

November 7, 2017
by Blog Moderator
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View from a Distant Hill

When you are young the hills of time merge into the outline of a distant horizon. I used to look at my grandparents, who were younger then than I am now, and try to imagine what it must be like to be so old! They were standing on a distant hill and enjoyed telling me what their view of life and history was like from their elevated perspective.

The years have now passed and I, in turn, am standing on one of those distant hills. I have been looking back over the 73 years that God has so far granted to me, over 30 of which have been spent on pioneering and developing, with the Ellel team, the work that became known as Ellel Ministries. What God has done in that time is beyond human comprehension. I have been privileged to see Him work miracle after miracle – both in terms of the life-transforming work of His Spirit, in the lives of thousands of people, and in meeting the practical needs of the ministry.

The Psalmist encourages us to make a record of what God has done (Psalm 102:18), so that future generations will be able to praise and thank the Lord for what He has done. So, over the past few years I have been doing just that — writing the story, both of the years of preparation which preceded Ellel Ministries, and the step-by-step journey of faith that has seen the work established now in over thirty countries.

At long last the book, Strands of Destiny, is finished and about to be published. It is with considerable nervous anticipation that I await seeing the book for the first time. I have used the phrase View from a Distant Hill as the title of the Epilogue. For that is exactly what the book is — a view from the distant hill of my own life, looking back on seven decades of God’s faithfulness through many ups and down and often extraordinary experiences.

I find myself saying a very loud Amen to all that is expressed in Psalm 34 in which we find those simple words of testimony “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (v8). The poetry of Nicholas Brady and Nahum Tate perfectly encapsulates the words of the Psalm, and expresses for me my own thanksgiving to the Lord as I look back from my own distant hill. For He has miraculously woven the many different strands of my own life into His destiny purposes – hence the title of the book, Strands of Destiny.

Through all the changing scenes of life,
In trouble and in joy,
The praises of my God shall still
My heart and tongue employ. 

 Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
With me exalt His name;
When in distress to Him I called,
He to my rescue came.

 The hosts of God encamp around
The dwellings of the just;
Deliverance He affords to all
Who on His succour trust.

Oh, make but trial of His love,
Experience will decide
How blest they are, and only they,
Who in His truth confide.

Fear Him, ye saints, and you will then
Have nothing else to fear;
Make you His service your delight,
Your wants shall be His care.

(Strands of Destiny will be published by Sovereign World at the end of November.

Over 400 pages of text, and 48 pages of photographs.)

October 31, 2017
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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God’s Amazing Gift!

Isaiah 26:3, NIV
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

The peace that is beyond human understanding is not peace in the world between nations or in families between relations, but between God and man. We may rejoice when opposing forces choose to be at peace with each other, but we should marvel in utter amazement that a holy God can choose to be at peace with his rebellious children, who have deliberately turned their backs on him.

For most of us that would be, as the wartime film declares it “A Bridge too Far”! But God so loved His children that the price for sin was willingly paid by His Son and the bridge of eternal truth was built between God and man. For those who believe there is no longer any need to despair when our days on earth are coming to an end. And in the midst of all the pressures of life we can still have peace in our hearts, whatever the prevailing circumstances, because our peace does not depend on our ability to fix anything, but on the fact that Jesus has already prepared for us the way of salvation.

When our thoughts are steadfastly focussed on God and His love, we will not find ourselves straying into activities that would disturb our peace. What we think about is always the precursor to what we actually do and when our thoughts are pleasing to God, then our consequential actions will never disturb our peace. This is a divine law!

Learning to trust in God is the antidote to fear, serving Him is the answer to all our uncertainties. And in trusting and serving Him we will be at peace in our hearts both in time and, when the day comes for us to pass from time to eternity, our hearts will not need to fear – for we will already have eternal life within the limitations of time. Christian peace is utterly priceless – it can’t be bought because Jesus has already paid the price!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your peace – peace which transcends all circumstances of life and enables us to face death with the anticipation of faith, knowing that You, Jesus, have already gone ahead to prepare a place for us. Help me, Lord, to keep my thinking focussed on You so that all my actions will be pleasing to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.