Peter Horrobin

International Director of Ellel Ministries

March 31, 2020
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Returning Home

“Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”

Daniel 9:18, NIV

The whole of Daniel’s extraordinary prayer, recorded in Daniel Chapter 9, is a model of how to pray when returning to God in repentance. Daniel was praying on behalf of his people who had been exiled from Jerusalem for seventy years. It’s a pattern for praying that flows through confession of sin, repentance, and asking God for forgiveness and restoration. It can be used in a very personal way when an individual who has been away from the Lord returns to Him or in a corporate way on behalf of a nation. Or, perhaps, in an international way when we look at what is happening across the whole world at this time.

The desolation and devastation being caused by the impact of coronavirus has not only brought the world to its knees medically and economically. But there are many who are being driven to their knees spiritually as they cry out to God for mercy, just as Daniel did all those years ago. He knew that God had promised “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). As I write these words the governments and nations of the world are in lock-down as they wait for the worst that they say is yet to come, but I believe there are many of God’s people across the nations who are now praying, as Daniel did for mercy, for a world that has turned away from its Creator.

This virus has taught the world just how powerless we are in the face of an unseen enemy. I watched on TV as a very sick man tried to explain how the virus had made him look at his life and wonder if he had been good enough. I read of how some formerly atheistic doctors in Lombardy, Italy, had come to faith through the witness of a dying Pastor. Even through the crisis God is speaking to his people and using the devastation to get people’s attention.

For each and everyone of us this is a wake up call to the reality of life’s brevity. May I encourage everyone reading Seeds of the Kingdom to use this season wisely and to spend time with the Lord preparing your heart for that day which, one day, will come for us all. In Jesus’s parable it was the wise virgins who were ready and waiting for Him. To spend such time now is an investment in eternity!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that even in the difficulties that the world is now facing, people are seeking for and finding You. Help me, Lord, to be ready at all times for the day when either You come or You call me home. I want to be ready and waiting, loving and serving You with every breath I take.. In Jesus’s Name, Amen

March 31, 2020
by Blog Moderator
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A Season of Opportunity

To All our Friends and Supporters

I want to write and encourage you in the midst of this unprecedented season of world history. For these truly are extraordinary days. As I said in my last blog, we have never walked this way before. But nothing of what we are experiencing through the impact of the Coronavirus is a surprise to God. So, it is to Him we must look for help and understanding. David went through some very tough times in his life, and often expressed sentiments such as, “I call on the Lord in my distress and he answers me” (Psalm 120:1) and in the very next Psalm he tells us where his help really comes from, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). And we need His help now.

For, never before in history, have all the nations of the world been simultaneously brought to a stand-still by the same common enemy – a previously unknown virus, so small that no-one can see it, and from which no-one has any protection and for which there is not, as yet, any known cure. As a result, most of the nations are in lock-down, meaning that normal life has been suspended and people are confined to their homes.

The airports of the world have become parking lots for redundant aircraft. The economies of the great nations are being stretched to unimaginable limits in their attempts to control the spread of the disease and treat those who have caught it. Every day, the terrible statistics of disease and death are the substance of our news programmes. And no-one knows how long it’s going to last.

The Maker of Heaven and Earth

If we didn’t know where our help comes from, it would be easy to allow fear and panic to become the controlling forces of our lives. For our help doesn’t just come from some unknown spiritual being – it comes, as David reminds us, from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. And therein lies a problem for the nations, because the governments of the world have not only written God out of the script in terms of the laws of their lands, but they have bowed the knee to the godlessness of atheistic science, which teaches that the universe has no such thing as a Creator!

But, whether or not someone acknowledges the fact, all of us are made in the image and likeness of God our Maker; the creativity in every single one of us is simply a reflection of the creative power of Almighty God. And in every human being there is a God-shaped hole that desperately needs to be filled. I watched an interview on TV with a man who was seriously ill with the virus in hospital. As he lay there, not knowing whether he was going to live or die, he was saying “I wonder if I’ve been good enough?” He was asking the question because the virus was causing him to search for answers about life and death, to questions he hadn’t been asking before. The TV controllers must have allowed it to be screened, because he was representative of millions watching who would be asking the same question in similar circumstances.

Looking for Answers

Right now, there are hundreds of millions of people across the world who are locked away behind closed doors, many in fear of what might happen to them, but also looking for answers. And they are not just looking for an answer from the medics, who they hope will solve the virus problem, but for answers to much bigger questions about life, the meaning of life, death, the hereafter and why all this is happening. I have been surprised at the open-ness of people we have talked to. One said to me, “Is it because we have forgotten God and He is trying to get our attention?” and then added, “Do the nations need to repent?”

A simple answer to both these questions is, Yes. The nations do need to repent – in scripture repentance was always the first step towards the land being healed (2 Chronicles 7:14) and the people being restored. And yes, God will use whatever comes upon us as a means of getting our attention – as happened on numerous occasions in Scripture.

You cannot believe in Jesus, without also believing that God created everything. John’s Gospel begins by stating unequivocally that “without Him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:2). In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus talks about Father God’s provision for His creation (Matthew 6:25-34) and then urges people who are faced with the worries and concerns of this life, however small or great they may be, to “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” And I believe that one of the most important messages that Jesus would speak to the world in the face of today’s anxieties and fears is just that – seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.

Essential Repentance

Because man has rejected Creator God, he has also rejected the God who saves and the God who heals. We learnt how important it is to begin all our training schools and conferences on healing, by laying out the foundations of faith, which begin with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” For our Healer is, indeed, our Maker. He holds the blue-print and master plan for our lives and is the only one who can restore our inner being as the maker intended.

The world does, indeed, need to repent over this – and many other things. This is a day for salvation! For, one day soon, Jesus is coming again, at a time that no man knows. But Scripture warns, in many places, about events that will shake the world in the times before He returns in glory. Jesus told many parables to warn people to be ready and of the consequences of not being ready when He comes again.

When the world is being shaken, as at the present time, people begin to seek God again and God, in His mercy, uses times like this to cause many to repent, come to Him and find Him. Those who have ears to hear will, indeed, be listening. There is a message they need to hear. Many will turn to the Lord, and there will be a harvest for the Kingdom of God.

Salvation and Healing

In this season of desperation, our prayers must be unceasing for all caught up in the crisis, either as victims of the disease or as part of the medical teams who are striving to help the sufferers. And we need to be crying out to Him for His protection and provision. For, this is also a season of harvest and, as always, the Lord of the harvest is calling for workers to go out into his harvest field (Matthew 9:37)to bring the harvest in. That is why Ellel Ministries is about to launch a series of on-line programmes, so that we can use this season of lock-down to share the heart of God to save and heal.

I came into the work of Ellel Ministries on the back of a life-long commitment to evangelism and sharing the good news. It was part of my parental upbringing. And when we began healing retreats at Ellel Grange, thirty-three years ago, the Lord showed us that the most important healing anyone can ever receive is to be born again of the Spirit of God. It’s resurrection from the dead! It’s the beginning of an incredible journey with God our Maker. For many who were born again in this way, it was their need of healing that brought them to the Saviour – and then they discovered that their Saviour was also their healer, their deliverer and their restorer!

Countless testimonies from people who have attended Healing Retreats all over the world testify to the power of God to save, heal and restore. Their need of healing made them cry out to God for an answer. And we saw, like David describes in the Psalms, how God heard and answered their cries for help and healing. Many such stories are featured in the latest edition of our Newsletter.

It sometimes takes a crisis such as we are now going through, to make people ask the right questions. So often they can want God to heal them, for example, but they don’t want to live their lives in harmony with their Maker! Psalm 66:18 reminds us that there are times when cherishing sin in our hearts means that God isn’t able to hear our prayers. And that doesn’t always mean current sin, but often includes things from our past that have never been brought into the light. No wonder James highlighted this issue (James 5:16), when he recommended those who are sick to confess their sins as a vital part of their healing journey with God.

Prayer in the Current Crisis

Returning now to our needs in the current crisis, the opening verses of Psalm 91 remind us that to know the protection and covering of God, we need to dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in His shadow. This is the place of security and safety. When we are in tune with Him we are under His covering and there is no reason to fear. Whatever may befall us, we are in Him – both for time and for eternity, even in the face of a deadly pestilence (v3).

And as we all look to God for His answers in the face of this world crisis, it must surely be a time of preparation. A season when, in the midst of lock-down, we have an unprecedented amount of time to watch, pray and look to Him. A time to look again at our lives, face any issues that could be an obstacle to either healing or the experience of His presence with us; and a time to come back to Him, our Maker, and be under His covering. A time to seek His face.

Two ministry friends who are both now with the Lord, described their ministry as ‘evangelising the heart of the believer’. This is a season when, I believe, God not only wants to seek and to save the lost, but also wants His people to examine their hearts (1 Corinthians 11:27-30) in preparation for both receiving His healing and for a time when God’s Spirit will move in reviving power through His church and into the world. It’s vital that we are ready for when His Spirit moves and begins to draw men to Him.

May I urge you also, to spend time in prayer for the nations and the peoples of the world, that there will be many who will seek for and find the Lord, and that the church will be renewed as believers use this season to focus once again on the essential realities of their faith and prepare themselves to be workers in God’s harvest field.

And watch out for details of Ellel programmes that will soon be available free of charge on-line.

March 18, 2020
by Blog Moderator
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“You Have Never Been This Way Before”

When Joshua was preparing God’s people to cross the River
Jordan and enter the promised land, he told the people to keep their eyes on
the ark of the covenant of the Lord, being carried  by the Levites, and when they move, to
follow! Then, they were told, “you will know which way to go, because you
have never been this way before.”

As I write this blog, the nations of the world are struggling to overcome a virus so small that no-one can see it. Fear has become society’s controlling force and severe governmental advice, new laws and economic remedies have swiftly followed. The simple fact is the world has never walked this way before and the leaders of the nations are making up the script as they go. Only President Trump of the world’s leaders has taken the spiritual initiative and called their nation to a day of prayer.

All of us in the Body of Christ need to be on our
knees before the Lord, crying out to Him for our leaders, the medics and
everyone who is fighting this virus and its effects, for this is a world
crisis. We must all play our part.

Yesterday, in response to Government information and advice,
the Executive Leadership of Ellel Ministries had to make the unprecedented
decision to pause all operations at our centres in the UK for four months. It
was a huge decision for us to close our doors to those who need the help, the
training and the ministry which has become the core activity and spiritual DNA of
our work.

But, just as the Israelites were told to go where the presence of the Lord was and to follow the ark of the covenant, we were also looking to follow where the Lord was leading. But what was He saying? How could pausing all our operations for four months help the people that God had called us to serve?

Even as we were wrestling with this decision to close our
doors for four months, we were also becoming aware that this devastating crisis
could become a God-given opportunity to support and encourage the wider Ellel
family and beyond, by using the internet to provide Ellel Online. We were
realising that by changing our strategy, in this unique season, we would be
able reach many more people across the world, than could ever come through our
doors! But we needed the Lord’s clear confirmation that this was where He was
leading.

Then, right into our meeting came a texted word from an
intercessor to one of our Exec members. They knew absolutely nothing about the
decision we were wrestling with when they quoted to us John 4:35. “Do you
not say, Four months more and then the harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and
look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

Immediately, we knew it was right to pause our centre
activities for four months, but God was telling us not to wait four months
before continuing operations to bring in His Kingdom harvest – for the time is
NOW. This is a time of reaping, even as fear and panic is spreading across the
world. For, in the middle of the crisis, there will be those who are turning to
the Lord and crying out to Him. It is now that the harvest must be reaped!

We had been asking God to show us His way forward for the ministry, because we had never walked this way before. It was an awesome moment when we realised that God had spoken right into our situation.

Yes, there will be consequences of closing our doors for
four months, especially in respect of our finances. For, without anyone coming
on our courses, there will be no income from this source. And what about all
our teams – and many other issues we will have to wrestle with? The potential
problems are huge – but God has spoken, therefore, we need not fear.

We may not have gone this way before, but the coronavirus
pandemic was not a surprise to God, even though it’s a season in history unlike
any other that there has ever been. It is a spiritual war with an invisible
enemy. There may be a physical virus to which mankind has no immunity, but as
Paul so rightly said in Ephesians 6:12, “Our struggle is not against flesh
and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers
of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of darkness in the heavenly
realms.”

So, as well as doing everything necessary to protect
ourselves from the virus, we need also to heed Paul’s advice and put on the full
armour of God – the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield
of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word
of God, and have feet that are ready to take the Gospel to wherever there is
one who is crying out to God for answers. We live in a world which has largely
turned its back on God our Maker and His Son, our Saviour, but that doesn’t
mean there aren’t millions of people who are still looking to God for an answer
to the fear in their hearts and the issues in their lives.

These may be testing and challenging days – but they are
also days of great opportunity for the Kingdom of God. We need to take every
wise precaution physically to protect ourselves from the physical virus, but we
need to be diligent also in using the armour of God to provide us with
spiritual protection from everything that the enemy of souls wants to throw at
mankind – and especially at God’s people.

Right now, our leaders at Ellel Grange are working on the
details of an on-line programme of encouragement and teaching for the times in
which we are now living. So, watch out for an email telling you how to link in
with this new Ellel service. It’s coming very soon!

And may I ask you to pray for the ministry and our works
across thirty-six different nations as they seek to minister faith and hope
into the lives of people who are coming under the threat of a global wave of
fear and panic.

We may not have walked this way before, but, as
children of God, we are stretching out our hands to the One who knows the way
to go. May the Lord’s hand of protection and blessing be upon you and all the
nations to which we belong.

March 15, 2020
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on Solomon’s Prayer

Solomon’s Prayer

“When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew . . . whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel – each one aware of the afflictions of his own heart, and spreading out his hands toward this temple – then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men), so that they will fear you all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers.”

From 1 Kings 8:37-40, NIV

The peoples of the world are in shock and trauma as the ravages of the coronavirus are tearing people and nations apart. Something so small that it cannot even be seen has brought the world to its knees as the health authorities desperately try to cope with a pandemic that is already taking many lives.

When Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem and it was dedicated to the worship of the living God, His presence so filled the temple that the priests could not fulfil their responsibilities because of the glory of the Lord filling the place. It was a very holy moment. But Solomon knew that even though they had had this amazing visitation of the Lord, the heart of man was still vulnerable to sin and so, in his prayer to the Lord, he pleaded with God to hear the people’s cries of repentance, to forgive their sins and to act to save them from whatever circumstances they were going through including, as we see from our Scripture for today, plagues and diseases.

During the Second World War King George VI called the nation to prayer on several occasions – and God heard those prayers and delivered the nation. As I write this, I hear that President Trump has called America to a day of prayer for the nation also. For this is, indeed, a time for God’s people everywhere to be interceding on behalf of their country, repenting for their personal sins and the sins of their nations and crying out to God to hear their prayer, to ”forgive and to act”.

Solomon referred to each one needing to bring before the Lord the “afflictions of their own heart” – and that is where we must begin if we want our own prayers of intercession to be empowered by the holy presence of God’s Holy Spirit. And then we must bring before Him the sins of our nations, crying out to Him for forgiveness – but also that the fear of the Lord will come upon the people for, in reality, when there is no fear of God in the land, there is no incentive to see God’s order restored.

So may I encourage you to turn this terrible situation we all face into an opportunity to pray and intercede like you have never prayed before – that this plague may be stopped, just as we read in Psalm 103:30 when Phineas stood up and intervened. Let us stand together in prayer and intercession for our peoples and our nations.

Prayer: Thank You Lord that You choose to hear our prayers, to forgive and to act. Help each one of us, Lord, and also our nations, to come before you in repentance as we ask you for forgiveness and cry out to you for this plague to be stopped and our lands to be healed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

February 29, 2020
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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God’s Recipe for Effective Productivity

“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For, if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Peter 1:5-8, NIV

A good recipe will always produce good food! As a child, I was like every other kid in the road where we lived, all professing that “my Mum’s cakes are the best!” I loved to stand by her at the kitchen table and watch her add the ingredients one by one. I took careful note of everything that went into the mix and was always delighted and amazed when the gooey mess she put into the oven had turned into a scrumptious delight when it came out!

I was full of faith, therefore when I decided to give her a surprise. I waited for her to go out and then set about making a cake of my own. I had carefully remembered everything that went into the mix and by the time it was ready to go into the oven it looked very much Mum’s gooey mess. I wasn’t even surprised when it came out of the oven to see it looked just like Mum’s cakes.

Mum, however, was a little startled when she came home to see a freshly baked fruit cake on the kitchen table! Because I had carefully watched her on many occasions, I knew the recipe by heart and had remembered what to do with all the ingredients. The result was a credible substitute for what Mum usually made. Because I had followed the recipe, my efforts were also productive.

In our Scripture for today, Peter is giving us a recipe for Christian effectiveness and productivity! He was passionate about helping Christians not just to have a faith in Jesus, but to live the reality of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. He begins with faith, and then lists out some of the things that need to be added in to the mix in order that our lives will be fruitful and a true blessing to the Lord.

I had faith that the cake recipe would work, but in order to produce a cake I had to add the ingredients into the mix one by one. In just the same way, Peter is urging us to begin with faith, but then to add in the ingredients of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. That way, he says your life will be productive – and he goes on to say that if you do not have those ingredients you will be short-sighted and blind! It’s no surprise, therefore, that if key ingredients are missing from the mix, that the ‘cake of life’ may not be tasty and productive!

Prayer: Lord, help me to remember these important ingredients that Peter urges us to include within the recipe for life. I’m sorry, Lord, for the times I have ignored the need for discipline as I have tried to follow You. Help me to remember the recipe and live an effective and productive Christian life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

February 15, 2020
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on The Comfort of Heaven

The Comfort of Heaven

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”

1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV

Many people, even many believers, are afraid of dying. Because they don’t know for certain what lies the other side of the grave, they live out their lives in fear of what happens next, instead of in the joy of living for and with God in the here and now!

The problem is one of trust – whether or not you can trust what Jesus said about going to prepare a place for you (John 14:2) or what Paul quoted from the book of Isaiah, which is our Scripture for today?

Trust is the absolute antidote to fear and the purveyor of comfort to the human heart. Even as tiny babies, we instinctively placed our trust in our Mums (and Dads), and received the comfort that came from their love. Their total dependability filled the very core of our beings. It would never have occurred to us to express any doubt by questioning whether or not their provision was good enough for us!

For those who do not know Jesus, their fear is totally understandable. But believers should have no reason to fear if they are trusting Jesus and believing what He said? And if they can’t trust what Jesus said about what is, arguably, the most important question anyone can ever ask, could it be that they are not really trusting Jesus at all?

For not only is He preparing a place for those who know and love Him, but the words of today’s Scripture add a richness and a depth to our vision of eternal life in Heaven’s glory: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

May I encourage you to come afresh to Father God and put your trust in Him, just as a child puts their trust in Mum and Dad? He will not let you down. Jesus came from Heaven’s glory. He is an eye witness of the Father’s preparations for you and for me!

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You are preparing a place for each one of us in Heaven. I choose now to trust Your word. Help me, Lord, to reject all sense of fear about what lies beyond the grave for I know You are there and my life is in Your hands. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

January 31, 2020
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on Tears of Joy!

Tears of Joy!

“They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read . . . all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law . . . This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

From Nehemiah 8:8-10, NIV

The people of God had been in rebellion against God and His Word to them in the Law. As a result they lost their covering and protection and had been carried off as captives to Babylon. But then there came a time when God stirred the heart of one of those prisoners, Nehemiah, to ask the King’s permission to return to Jerusalem and repair the walls and gates of the city. Nehemiah’s book tells the amazing story of how he did it.

Then, after they had completed their task, in spite of a lot of opposition, and all the people had been settled back into their homes, Nehemiah, with Ezra the priest, gathered them all together, in the square before the Water Gate, to hear the Word of God in the Law of the Lord. A high wooden platform was built for the occasion (the first pulpit?!), from which Ezra read to them.

Not only did he read it to them, but he explained what he was reading “making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.” Ezra was not only reading the Word, but preaching the truth. And as he did so the people came under conviction for all they had done which had been in rebellion to the living God. Tears of repentance were flowing down their faces as the Word of God impacted their souls.

Then Nehemiah made a very insightful comment – “for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” He knew this was a very holy day as he sensed that the people’s repentance was bringing joy to the Lord. And that, in turn, the joy that the Lord has, when His children return to Him, becomes the strength that everyone of us needs to rise up as men and women of God to live for Him and do the works of the Kingdom.

Our tears of repentance bring great joy to the Lord as we are restored in Him and are equipped and empowered by His presence. May I encourage you to come to the Word of God with an open heart, being willing to listen to the Lord’s voice. And when the Holy Spirit touches your life and He begins to change you from the inside out, remember that your repentance is bringing joy to the Lord and His strength will fill your life.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to read Your Word with an open heart, listening to your gentle voice of encouragement and challenge. I’m sorry for the times of rebellion there have been in my life. I pray that You will help me rebuild the gates and the walls of my life, so that I may be strong in You and empowered by the joy of Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

January 16, 2020
by Blog Moderator
Comments Off on Time to Inspect the Walls

Time to Inspect the Walls

For the past twelve months I have been putting the on-line
teaching of Ellel 365 into book form as Journey to Freedom. Hence the
recent absence of Blog entries! With six volumes already out and only two more
to go, I’m feeling liberated to write again!

In Chapter 2 of his book, Nehemiah describes arriving back
in Jerusalem, after receiving his commission to rebuild the walls and gates of
the city. It was, at first, a secret mission, “I had not told anyone what my
God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem.”

Nehemiah knew that If the city was to be restored as the
city of God’s people, the very first objective had to be the repair of the
gates and the restoration of the walls. Only when the walls and the gates were
secured would it be safe for the people to live there. So, he surveyed the
walls, assessed the damage and made a plan. He then told the leaders what he
had come to do and said, “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we
will no longer be in disgrace
.”

As I was reading, I sensed the Lord speaking directly to me
about his church and saying, “The walls of my church are broken down and its
gates have been destroyed. My people are no longer living in safety. The time
has come to survey the walls, assess the damage and rebuild.  Only then
will my people be able to live in safety and be protected by walking in my
ways, according to the truth of My Word.”

Nehemiah knew that the work of rebuilding the walls of
Jerusalem would be opposed, as was soon demonstrated by the mocking
intervention of Sanballat and his friends. So, Nehemiah taught the people to
work with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other, to resist the attacks
of an enemy while continuing to build the wall. And so it was that, with a
carefully orchestrated plan, the walls and the gates of Jerusalem were
restored.  

Nehemiah records that “The work was completed in fifty
two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations
were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realised that this
work had been done with the help of our God.”

I believe that God wants to see the walls and the gates of
His church restored. The popular image of today’s church is largely of an
imploding organisation with little respect and no significant influence on
society or government. But is this surprising when so much of the church itself
has lost respect for the authority of God’s Word and has chosen to tread the
easy road of compromise, instead of the upward path of spiritual
integrity?  The foundations are shaken, the gates have been torn down, the
leaders have lost their fire and the flock has been scattered.

This is a day when, I believe, God is looking for a new
generation of Nehemiahs, people who will carefully survey the walls of His
church, see where they have been broken down and start to rebuild. It is time
for the people of God to regain their confidence in God’s truth and, once
again, for the church to become a place where the people of God will be safe
from the inroads of the enemy. And the gates of the church will become a
doorway of hope for those who are looking for answers, to both the big issues
and the needs of ordinary people who are struggling to make sense of life in a
godless society. Yes, there will be mocking opposition, but since when has
opposition to the truth been a reason for abandoning it!

January 15, 2020
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on Prayer You Don’t Want – but Desperately Need!

Prayer You Don’t Want – but Desperately Need!

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!”

Matthew 23:37, NIV

Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and the religious leaders whose pride made them reject His input into their lives. He longed to gather them together, as a hen gathers her chickens together to care for and protect them. But they would not come to Him.

This one of the most challenging passages in the whole of the Gospels! The words “would not” speak right into the very core of our lives, for they prompt a very penetrating question. Are there things in our lives for which we need prayer and help, but which we steadfastly refuse to bring to the Lord or seek help for? Hidden things, perhaps, which we choose to ignore because the personal cost to us of letting God in to the heart of the situation, whatever it is, is more than we are prepared to pay.

So we struggle on, knowing that there is an issue that we need to face, but refusing to face it. It’s not surprising that James said that we need to confess things one to another in order to be healed – for that deals with the pride which so often stands in the way of facing the truth about ourselves.

Sometimes the issue can have its root way back in our lives. The root can become so well established, beneath the ongoing saga of human life and its issues, that we don’t even know what it is! Sometimes there is pain or sin associated with it and we have chosen to hang on to the problem, rather than face reality. Sometimes we have a love/hate relationship with the problem – this is especially the case with things that have a grip on us such as alcohol, pornography or an ungodly relationship. We desperately need help for the problem, but because we actually like it, we don’t want to even recognise it as being wrong, let alone seek the help we really need!

Whatever such a problem might be, remember that Jesus is not phased by it, or its magnitude. He actually longs to gather you into His arms and help you face it and resolve it. But we have to own it, recognise that we need help and, finally, want the prayer that we have known all along we really need!

Prayer: Thank You Lord that Your love for me is unconditional. I am sorry, Lord, for the times when I have chosen not to face ‘home truths’ about myself and come to You for help, when Your help is what I desperately need. Help me not to be like the Pharisees, whose pride kept them from coming to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

December 31, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on O God, Our Help, in Ages Past

O God, Our Help, in Ages Past

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.”

Isaiah 64:4-5, NIV

The first day of a New Year is a wonderful opportunity to look back across the years and give thanks – not just for the incidental things that have been a blessing in the year that has just ended, but above all to thank God for who He is, His character, His trustworthiness, His mercy and His great love. For, as Isaiah says in our Scripture for today, there is no other God who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.

If you are waiting for God to intervene in your life and answer long-prayed prayers, it can be very tempting to think that all we have to do is wait for it to happen – for isn’t that what the Scripture says? But as with so many of the promises of Scripture there is a condition attached – God promises to act on behalf of those who not only wait for Him, but who also gladly choose to do what is right. It could be, therefore, that God is waiting for us to put some things right in our own life before He is able to answer the deepest cries of our own heart as we wait on Him.

For example, in my little book “Forgiveness, God’s Master Key” I tell many stories of how God transformed people’s lives when they chose to forgive those who had hurt them. They had been waiting for God to act, but nothing had happened. The forgiveness principle is right at the centre of the prayer Jesus taught His disciples where He said, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” And Jesus went on to say that if we don’t forgive those who have hurt us, then God is unable to forgive us (Matthew 6:15). These are strong words. But oh what joy and blessing can flow when we gladly choose to do what is right, as Jesus taught us to do.

Maybe the Lord has been speaking to you about other things in your life – things which have become an obstacle to your Christian growth. Could it be that He is waiting for you to respond to His gentle leading and face up to them, before He can answer the deeper prayers of your heart?

I have always found that the turn of the year is a very special time in my own spiritual journey through life. John Wesley encouraged all is followers to use this time of the year to renew their covenant with the Lord and take time to pray through each area of their lives, as they equip their hearts for the challenges of the year ahead.

So, on this first day of a New Year, may I encourage you to do just that, to spend time with the Lord not just in asking Him to answer your prayers, but in both thanking God for the help He has been in all the years that have gone before, and also reviewing each area of your life as you renew your commitment to Him for the year ahead. He is not only the God who has helped us in ages past, but He is also our hope for the years to come.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for all the ways in which You have been my help in all the years of my life. Thank you for answered prayer, Your provision and care. But help me, also, Lord, to see my life as You see it and on this first day of the New Year to come before You once again in thanksgiving, repentance and commitment as together we look forward to all that You have planned for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.