Peter Horrobin

International Director of Ellel Ministries

August 15, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Loved with an Everlasting Love

“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt.”

Jeremiah 31:3-4, NIV

In His dealings with Israel, the character and heart of God are constantly being revealed. Throughout the Old Testament we read of how there were consequences for the people when they turned their back on God and went their own way. Jeremiah was one of the prophets who had the unenviable task of challenging God’s people about their rebellion and calling them to repentance. But God’s ultimate intent was always to draw His people back to Himself for healing and restoration.

John tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:16) and as such love is always, therefore, at the core of everything God is and everything God does, for that is His nature. And these words from Jeremiah which form our Scripture for today absolutely underline what John said about God’s nature, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” It seems terribly obvious to conclude that if God is everlasting and His very nature is love, that the love of God must also be eternal and everlasting.

Yet, this simple and very profound fact is one that many fail to understand and find hard to believe. Their experience of life has been such that, for them, love has been anything but kind. What passed for love was so often rejection and cruelty. They have experienced the pain of human expressions of love which at times have been anything but loving. People have said that they loved you, but in reality they have just wanted to use you. And sometimes you have felt like a piece of unwanted furniture cluttering the lives of other people. The end result can be that you start to believe that God must be like this as well and you cannot, therefore, trust Him.

It may also be that you have been on your own rebellious journey, running away from God and that God has allowed circumstances to prevail in such a way that, like the prodigal son in the story Jesus told, you have eventually come to your senses and returned to the Lord – you may now be asking. Can God still love me?

For all of us, these words from Jeremiah 31 come down the centuries of time and burst into our spiritual senses. They are some of the most comforting and encouraging words in the whole of Scripture, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” – this truly is the heart of God and it’s His heart for you, right now. Whatever has been your experience of life up to this moment. Stop, and dwell on this amazing truth – “God is love – and He loves me – and His love is everlasting.” Just drink in this truth and let it soak right through every cell of your brain and every emotion in your heart. Ask the God of all comfort to draw close to you so that you can experience first-hand the touch of love that comes from the hand of the Lord.

In the second part of Scripture for today, God says that He will build you up again – so that whatever the pain and problems there have been in the past, His desire is to restore you and rebuild your life. What an extraordinary blessing!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for this amazing truth – that there is no limit to Your love and that even if I have walked away from You in the past, Your love for me is unchanged by any of the circumstances of my life. I come running to You, Lord, rejoicing in the extraordinary truth that I am loved and that I can trust You both now, and for every minute of the rest of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

July 31, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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The Comfort of God’s Peace

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippian 4:6-7, NIV

Anxiety and comfort are incompatible feelings. The more anxious a person becomes, the less comfortable they actually feel. And as the level of anxiety increases, a deep sense of wanting to escape, from whatever the circumstances are that are causing the stress, begins to prevail. Ultimately that is why some people begin to have suicidal feelings. They have run out of ideas of how to fix the situation themselves and they want to escape.

Stress and anxiety are feelings that we can all have from time to time, so if God truly is a Father to His children – you and me – then, as a caring Father, He will have prepared a means for each one of us to respond to the situation in a way which brings hope and peace, instead of despair and distress.

In Isaiah 61:3 we read that the Sovereign Lord (the coming Messiah, Jesus) wants to replace the spirit of despair with a garment of praise. Having seen many times how thanksgiving and praise have been the fruit of healing I know, first-hand, that what both Isaiah is talking about and what Paul is saying in our Scripture for today, are absolutely true.

I met a lady last week who said, “twenty-seven years ago I came on a Healing Retreat at Ellel Grange. God so healed me that I have never looked back. My life was changed for ever.” The despair that caused her to come on the retreat was gone and her face radiated praise to her wonderful Lord who had been utterly faithful to His word.

Paul urges us to bring everything to the Lord – to share with Him the realities of life and to ask Him for help. Sometimes that help may include dealing with issues that have previously been swept under the carpet of life; owning up to life-changing mistakes that have been made; or forgiving people for terrible things that have happened. All this can be challenging, but when we face up to the circumstances hand-in-hand with the Lord He will help us and, instead of running from them, we discover that God is right there with us, helping us.

When there seems no human way out of a problem, it’s time to bring your requests to God and hand everything over to the Lord, asking Him to show you the way out or the way through. Then, Paul tells us, you will discover the peace of God which is truly beyond ALL understanding, and it will keep you safe as you wait on Him to show you the next step forward in your life.

Human anxiety is then replaced by God’s comfort, holding us safe while we trust Him to bring us through to a place of peace.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You understand all the circumstances of my life. Forgive me, Lord, for times when I’ve not trusted You and help me, I pray, to listen carefully to Your voice, guiding and directing my steps. Guard my heart and show me Your plan for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

June 30, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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The Plans of God

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

Guidance is all about the future. So, it’s hugely encouraging to read this Scripture, powerfully affirming that God has plans for His people – plans to give them a hope and a future. He wants to hear and answer our prayers and show us where to put our feet down and guide us on our journey through life.

The words of our Scripture were originally spoken to God’s people when they were in exile in Babylon. They had been in rebellion against God, lost their protection and had been taken prisoner. They had ceased to listen to God’s voice, had gone their own way and were now suffering the consequences of their mistakes. They were a long way off track.

It was into this situation that God sent His prophet Jeremiah to speak encouragement and to tell them that, in spite of the mess they were now in, God still had plans for them. He still loved them, His eye was still on them and He wanted to lead them back home and into their eventual destiny as God’s chosen people.

But how could He do that? How could God guide and direct His people when they were in such a devastating situation? The key lies in the last sentence of our Scripture, where God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

All journeys have a beginning and this is how we begin when we are looking to God for guidance and direction in our lives – a determination to seek the Lord with all our heart. When we do that, God promises to listen to our prayers and to start showing us His plans – plans that will give us hope and lead us into the future that He has prepared for us.

If that is something that God could do for His people when they were still prisoners in physical captivity, no-one could ever say that their situation was too difficult for Him or beyond His capacity to help. We are all included in the plans and purposes of God if we want to be.

Many people don’t feel free to follow God’s guidance and direction because they are still prisoners to their past. Some have been so hurt by things that have happened to them that they feel God has overlooked them and they are unworthy of His love. Others are not able to seek God with all their heart because they are guarding ungodly things in their heart that they want to hang on to, or secrets they are ashamed of.

From God’s point of view, none of these things, or many other possible obstacles, can ever turn His heart away from the people He created and loved. Every single one of us can come to God without fear and with an open heart to receive His direction. His plans are to prosper our lives and not to harm us!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your love for me is unconditional. I want to seek You with all my heart. Help me to face the reality of anything hidden that needs to come into the light and to forgive those who have hurt me so that I can start to trust again. Lord, I come to You with everything I am and pray that You will show me Your plans for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

June 15, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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See If . . .

“Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any offensive way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23,24, NIV

In yesterday’s Seed of the Kingdom, we saw how David, the psalmist, recognised that there is nowhere we can go to escape the presence of God. As a result, we can know also that there is absolutely nothing that God doesn’t know about our lives from the moment of conception till the present day. Even though our first thought might be – ‘Oh no!’, in reality it is wonderfully good news that God knows the very worst there can possibly be about us and His arms of love are still wide open for each one of us.

David, of course, had first-hand experience of God knowing what he had done. Even though David had desperately tried to cover up his sin, in 2 Samuel 11 we read how God told Nathan the prophet to go and confront David about his adultery with Bathsheba and then arranging for the death of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. It must have been a devastating moment for David to realise that nothing of what he had done was hidden from God.

But as you read more in Scripture about David’s life, you soon realise that the sins of David’s past do not define his future. God still loved him and we read in Psalm 51 about David’s journey of healing and restoration. But God also knew that unless the past had been exposed and healed, David would always be on the defensive, trying to hide something sinful he was ashamed. Bringing it into the light so David could look at himself in the ‘mirror of life’ was absolutely essential for David’s future calling and destiny.

Indeed, David realised how vital this process is in his daily walk, looking for the guidance of God in the affairs of life, that he came to God with the prayer which is our Scripture for today. Search me Lord, know my heart, test me and see if there is anything in me that offends You. The King James version of the Bible is even more blunt, “see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

This is the prayer of humility which releases the healing and the power of God into our lives. The relief which flows through the spirit of man when everything is laid open on the table before God is like the waters of a river that have been blocked by a dam suddenly breaking out, washing away all the debris and leaving everything clean again.

Truly knowing that you are still loved in such circumstances is one of the most healing experiences anyone can ever know. Not only does it release the past, but it clears the channels so that we can once again hear God for ourselves with a clean heart, trusting that he will indeed continue to lead you in the way everlasting. This is the joy that comes from healing through forgiveness!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that there is nothing about me that you don’t already know and that you still love me. I ask You, Lord, to truly show me myself as I look into Your mirror so that I can put right all that You show me is wrong. Thank You for Your continued leading and direction in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

June 14, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Known By God

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”

Psalm 139:1-3, NIV

There are few places we can go these days in a big city, travel by train, bus or plane, or be almost anywhere where people gather, without some sort of surveillance camera catching our every movement. Even in the small market town where we live there are hidden closed circuit TV cameras, recording what the local people are doing – all in the name of security.

In today’s environment we almost take such observation cameras for granted as being necessary for our safety. We are relieved when they are used to record some criminal activity and apprehend the culprit. No-one is really interested in what the majority of us are doing. But when something bad does happen the police are very interested to see if surveillance cameras have recorded the incident.

On a much wider front, whenever there’s an international sporting festival such as the Olympic Games, or a major incident occurs anywhere in the world – everything can be instantly screened via TV into the living rooms of everyone on the planet!
If, with man’s very limited knowledge and ability, these amazing things are possible, it should be no surprise that the all-knowing God is also able to watch over every detail of our lives and know everything that has ever happened to us from conception to the present day! He doesn’t need security cameras to keep an eye on us!

This is something that David, the psalmist, knew instinctively and in Psalm 139 he recognises that if there is nowhere he can go to escape from the presence of God (verses 7-12), then there is absolutely nothing that God doesn’t know about everything we have done – the good and the not-so-good – and will do. And there is absolutely no circumstance or place that any of us can be in where we cannot cry out to God for His help and guidance.

He postulates being able to fly on the wings of the dawn and settle on the far side of the sea and declares “even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (verse 10). He didn’t think it would ever be possible to walk on the moon, but when James Irwin, the Apollo 15 astronaut, turned to prayer when he had a problem on the surface of the moon, he had an extraordinary encounter with the living God who heard and answered his prayer. He came back to Earth a changed man and devoted the rest of his days to sharing the truth that Jesus really is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Wherever you are in God’s great universe, God is there with you.

I discovered in my business years that God is the best businessman I have ever known! The supernatural ‘coincidences’ and the ideas that could only have come from God were always the most successful and profitable developments. I learnt to trust the ideas that bore the hallmark of God’s Holy Spirit and was never disappointed.

So, never think that your situation or problem is beyond the knowledge and wisdom of God or beyond Him being able to provide a solution. He can and will hold you fast and show you the way to go.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for these wonderful words from Scripture. I know that I can trust You to lead and direct my steps wherever I am. I pray that you will help me to overcome the problems I have to face as I listen to Your voice and watch for Your leading day by day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

May 30, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Comfort at the End of Life

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

John 14:1-3, NIV

One of the most comforting and encouraging truths about being a Christian is that believers are ‘in Christ’. When talking about different aspects of the Christian life, the Apostle Paul uses these two precious words on seventy-two occasions! For him to be ‘in Christ’ was everything. For when we are ‘in Him’ we have the extraordinary privilege of sharing in who He is, and we are always – now and for evermore – in His presence. To be born again is to be set free from the grip of the enemy and to be released into the arms of our Saviour.

So, when Jesus began to prepare His disciples for what would be His final trip to Jerusalem, where He would lay down His life, the disciples were clearly distressed. They were not just dismayed by the fact that Jesus would no longer be with them on Earth, but where would that leave them when it was their turn to die? They would have realised that Jesus was going back to Heaven – but what about them? If He wasn’t with them, how could they be sure of anything anymore?

The disciples hadn’t yet grasped the amazing truth which Paul clearly understood – that to be in Christ Jesus covered every eventuality, even death. And that because of who He is, there could be no reason to fear the eternal unknown. If you are in Christ, and Christ is in heaven – then that’s where you are going to be too! So, Jesus spelled it out for them in very simple words.

There’s no need to be afraid – you already trust in God, and you can also trust in Me. You can’t go with me just yet, there’s work for you to do here – but I’m in you and you’re in Me, so I can never forget you. Don’t worry, I’ll be preparing a place for you. And then, one day, I will be coming back for you, so that you will be in the same place as Me. There’s nothing to be afraid of!

One of our longest serving prayer supporters lay in a hospital bed, eyes closed and seemingly unconscious. She was very close to the end of her life. I leaned over the side of the bed and spoke right into her ear the words of our Scripture for today. She opened her eyes and gave me a huge knowing smile. She was at peace, comforted deep in her heart by the same words that Jesus used when He spoke comfort to His disciples.

She knew where she was going and, at that moment, she knew her Saviour was coming for her very soon, just as He had promised. She was ready and waiting. Less than an hour later she was in the immediate presence of her Lord.

What joy for her and what comfort for everyone who knew her – she was home!

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for the incredible comfort it is to know that when we are in You, we have nothing to fear. Thank You for preparing a place for me. Help me to live the rest of my days without fear, knowing that I can trust You every step of the way through time – and then into eternity. In Your Name, Amen.

May 14, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on Heart Choices

Heart Choices

“Moses received living words to pass on to us. But our fathers refused to obey him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.”

Acts 7:38-39, NIV

Israel was a nation under oppression and persecution from their Egyptian tormentors. God heard their cry and their groaning and sent Moses back in to Egypt to set them free (Acts 7:34). Through an extraordinary sequence of miraculous events they left Egypt and began the journey to their Promised Land. But once they had left Egypt they began to complain. Even though they had been severely persecuted in Egypt, they missed the comforts of their former way of life and hankered after the things that had been left behind.

Having left Egypt they faced the challenge of walking in obedience to the Lord under the direction of Moses until they reached their destination and fulfilled their destiny as the chosen people of God. But obedience didn’t come easily to a people who, because of hardships became rebellious in nature, resisting their leader and opposing God. The end-result of opposing the plans and purposes of God is never good. Eventually every one of this rebellious generation died before the next generations entered the promised land under Joshua’s leadership.

Many is the time when I have had to listen to the heart cries of those who had done exactly what the people of Israel did under Moses – they went back to the things they had escaped from. The desires of the carnal nature overwhelmed their spiritual desire to follow after God and walk in His ways. Their heart choices became their undoing.

The writer of Hebrews says “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:7). He goes on to remind us that God’s people were not able to enter in to the land God had prepared for them because of their unbelief. I pray that today’s Scripture will encourage you not to fall in to the same trap of disbelieving the promises of God for the future and allowing the temptations ‘of Egypt’ to rob you of God’s promises being fulfilled in your life.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that you have a land of destiny for each one of us to enter. I pray that you will forgive me for the mistakes of the past. Help me, Lord, not to hanker after the things of the past and so miss out on Your best for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

April 30, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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The God of All Comfort

”Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV

‘All’, ‘All’ and ‘Any’ are the vital words which bring our Scripture for today to life in a very personal way. Some people feel that God is not there for them or that, perhaps, He loves other people more. They are not surprised when other people experience God’s blessing, but they don’t expect any blessings for themselves!

In these precious two verses Paul spells out for us that God’s comfort is sufficient for every situation – whatever it might be that we are going through. Paul explains that He is the God of ALL comfort, and that His comfort is sufficient for ALL our troubles.

Through the Holy Spirit God is the Comforter of those who mourn. He’s the Comforter of those who have suffered all kinds of loss. He’s our Comforter when suffering trials or temptations. He’s the Comforter who enables us to press on, even when it seems as though everyone is against us. He’s the Comforter who fills our heart with encouragement when we are feeling down and almost out. He’s the Comforter who understands the darkest of days and most difficult of situations. He’s the Comforter who stands with us in times of sickness or ill-heath. There is, in fact, no limit to the Comforter’s ability to be alongside us every step of life’s way and to be there for us.

A parent who sees their young child hurt will rush to their side, scoop them up in their arms and comfort them with buckets of love. The reason parents do that is because we are all made in the image and likeness of God. We do instinctively the same sort of things our Heavenly Dad does. And if that’s how we behave, then that’s exactly how Father God behaves towards ALL His children. Love is His motivating force – and He has an endless comforting love – for HE IS LOVE (1 John 4:16).

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your very nature is Love and that we can at all times trust You to be our Comforter in times of need. Help me, Lord, to bless other people with the same measure of love and comfort as we have received from You, so that they will experience the touch of God on their lives through what I do for them. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

April 18, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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The Comfort of the Cross

“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God.’”

Mark 15:37-39, NIV

Nearly two thousand years ago, some Roman soldiers were carrying out their orders – crucifixions. Putting criminals to death was part of their job. The centurion on duty will have seen many people die in the abject agony caused by this most cruel form of execution. But there was something different about this crucifixion – or more specifically, something different about the man they had just nailed to a cross.

No-one else had ever cried out to God asking Him to forgive those who were carrying out the execution. No other execution had ever been accompanied by an extraordinary three hours of darkness. No other execution had ever been marked by an earthquake. No other prisoner had ever cried out to God, as if He really knew him, saying, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” No other prisoner had spoken out words of encouragement about life after death while he was dying, as He said to another victim, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

This man was different – very different. As the centurion stood at the foot of the cross and looked up at Jesus, trying to make sense of it all, his mind was full of questions. Then, in the earthy reality of a soldier, he just spoke out his conclusion with what must have been divine revelation: “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Out of the mouth of a hardened Roman soldier came the revelation which every Jew and every Gentile needs to hear. Many people wear a cross round their neck or have a cross tattooed on their body, but most will have little understanding of what the cross really meant and still means today.

At the same time as the centurion was reaching his conclusion, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, declaring in the most dramatic of ways that a new way had been opened up for believers to enter into the holy presence of our holy God. For when, as believers, we are ‘in Christ’, as Paul described a Christian on many occasions, then we are at one with Him, with free access to the Father because of what the Son did for us at Calvary.

As I was writing this devotion the great cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris was being consumed by a devastating fire. In an iconic picture of the cathedral’s devastation the following morning, the huge empty cross was still standing and shining as if lit in gold at the end of the nave. I was reminded of John Bowring’s amazing hymn:

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

What a glorious and comforting symbol the cross is to those who understand what it means. The comfort of knowing that the price for sin has been paid, my sins are forgiven and that because of Jesus there is a home prepared for me in Heaven. Comfort indeed! Truly amazing grace!!

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You were willing to go to the cross for me. Thank you that a Roman Centurion simply looked up to You and knew who You were. Today, Lord, I look to the cross as a symbol of my redemption – and I look to You Jesus, my risen Saviour who opened a to the Father through the curtain separating a holy God from sinful man. Hallelujah, what a Saviour. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

March 29, 2019
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Do not let your hearts be troubled

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

John 14:2, NIV

How comfortable we feel, can be directly related to how secure we are – especially about our future. Once, in my business days, I was trying to find a place to stay for the night. I was getting increasingly uncomfortable as I tried hotel after hotel. I wasn’t relishing the idea of sleeping in my car. But as soon as I found a vacancy, all my anxiety dissipated and I was immediately at peace. When a major airport has to close down and all the passengers are stranded, uncertainty, discomfort, distress, and even panic, can begin to spread among the passengers like a contagious disease. There is nothing comfortable about future uncertainty.

But while such things may be stressful at the time, they are totally trivial events when compared with the journey that one day we will all, without exception, have to make. And Jesus recognised the importance of preparing the disciples for their own journey from time into eternity. But, as He told them that He would be leaving them, discomfort, even distress quickly became evident.

The disciples really loved Jesus. They had developed close relationships with Him and with each other and the thought of Him being killed and leaving them behind was something they hadn’t previously contemplated. Seeing their distress, Jesus immediately began to comfort them – not with nice, but meaningless, words of false comfort. But with words of truth and reality about the future that He would be preparing for them.

Yes, it was necessary that Jesus would die for the sins of the world and then return to Heaven – but the Jesus who had embraced them with His love while on earth was now embracing them with real comfort about His plans for their future.

Just as good parents prepare for the future needs of their children, Jesus was telling His disciples how He would be making preparations in Heaven for their eternal future. It’s always comforting to know that your future physical needs have been taken care of. But there can be nothing more comforting than knowing that when this life is over your future needs in eternity have also been taken care of. So take comfort – for those who know and love the Lord, there is a heavenly architect at work preparing a place for each of God’s children – even you!

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You have not only died to save us from the consequences of sin, but that You have also promised to prepare a place for those who know, love and are following You – like those first disciples. Help me, Lord, not to be afraid, especially when the time of ‘going home’ to be with You comes near. I am so grateful that You are preparing a place for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.