Peter Horrobin

International Director of Ellel Ministries

July 15, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Murderous Words

“Do not accuse a man for no reason – when he has done you no harm”

Proverbs 3:30, NIV

Telling lies in order to accuse a person falsely is a heinous crime. Damaging the reputation of someone is an act of robbery of far more significance than stealing some of their goods – you are stealing their good name. Goods can be replaced, but when ‘mud’ has been thrown at someone by telling lies about them for some ulterior motive, the sad fact is that some of that ‘mud’ will stick in the minds of those who hear. They will think that there must be at last a grain of truth in what is being said, even if there isn’t!

Jesus suffered greatly from such false accusations. The words of the Pharisees, who concocted false stories about Him, would eventually be used to drive the nails through his hands and his feet when He was crucified. Yes, ruining someone’s reputation by false accusation is a serious sin – it’s like an act of murder.

We need to be very careful, therefore, when talking about others disrespectfully – and we need to be especially careful about pointing the finger at others when we are also guilty of what we are pointing out in others. Jesus hated and condemned such hypocrisy.
When the Pharisees brought the woman who had been caught in an act of adultery (John 8:3-11) to Jesus, to see if He would be true to the law of Moses and say she should be stoned to death, Jesus challenged the hearts of her accusers. He said something like, “OK, but only throw a stone if you are without sin!” Jesus knew what was in their hearts and that they had deliberately brought this woman to Jesus in order to try and trap Him. Their motives were evil.

If you’ve been falsely accused in a public place, you will know the pain that lying words can cause. There is only one remedy for the pain within – forgiveness and God’s inner comfort. Yes, they may not deserve to be forgiven – but Jesus died for our sins and we don’t deserve to be forgiven either! To speak out forgiveness of those who have accused us falsely is like cutting the ropes that have tied those false accusations to our heart.

And if we’ve been guilty of hypocritically speaking negatively about other people – when the things we are saying could just as easily be said of us – then it’s time for personal repentance, asking God for forgiveness and a change of heart.

Prayer: I am sorry, Lord, for the times when I have said wrong things about other people, for whatever reason. Please forgive me. And help me, Lord, to speak out my forgiveness of those who have hurt me with their false words. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

July 8, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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The Words of a Dad

“When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, ‘Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live.’”

Proverbs 4:3-4, NIV

I will never cease to be thankful for a Dad (and a Mum) who saw it as their loving duty to teach me the ways of the Lord when I was young – before I reached the impressionable teenage years when it is so easy for young people to go astray and, as they say, ‘do their own thing’. ‘Doing their own thing’ can be extremely risky, for having the developing physique and unbridled will of a young person, without the maturity of an adult can lead to making mistakes of life-long consequence.

When we learn to respect our elders, we will listen to what they have to say. And the wisdom that comes from their maturity, becomes the wisdom that will help young people negotiate the traps that the enemy never ceases to lay in the paths of young people. We live, however, in a generation when respect for the wisdom of our elders has been replaced by information acquired at the click of a mouse or via a mobile phone. And information, without the maturity and wisdom how to use that, will always be a massive trap for young people.

Such knowledge will never trump the spiritual wisdom the writer of these Proverbs is referring to. For this is the wisdom from the heart of God which God intended to be passed on from generation to generation.

As I thought about this I was overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility that parents, grand-parents, great grand-parents, uncles and aunts have to pray for and impart the wisdom of their years to the upcoming generations – giving them a chance to negotiate the pitfalls of life with the wisdom of the older generations to aid them on their journey. In so doing we will be equipping the young to enter into their destiny in God and who knows what blessing there will be down the years as a result!?

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for all those who have imparted the wisdom of God into my life. Help me to exercise my own spiritual responsibility by imparting Your Wisdom to the children and young people who are part of my wider family. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

June 30, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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On What are You Leaning?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV

The leaning tower of Pisa, in Italy, is very unstable. When people first see the structure they are amazed that it is still standing! Massive amounts of careful engineering work have been necessary to preserve this iconic structure which attracts tourists from all over the world. It is a massive money earner for Italy. But it is not what the architect intended! It leans because the ground on which it is built was too soft on one side of the structure. It is quite literally leaning according to its own understanding of weight, pressure and gravity!

If the ground on which we build our lives is not firm, then we, too, will lean according to our own understanding and go our own way. It is absolutely vital that we follow the advice of our Scripture for today and ‘Trust in the Lord’. Only He knows everything about us and our circumstances and only He is able to direct our steps according to His plans and purposes for our lives. When we begin to lean according to our own understanding, independently of God, our lives will soon become distorted and no longer be upright. That is why we are seeing such extremes of ungodliness in society. And just like the cost of propping up the leaning tower of Pisa has been massive, so is the societal cost when people ignore God’s Word and do their own thing.

To trust in the Lord means to depend on Him totally and not on our own seemingly good, but ungodly, ideas. Our Scripture for today stresses that we should trust Him with ALL of our heart – not just that ‘religious bit’ which we are happy for him to have, provided we can keep hold of the rest!

God’s promises to those who do trust Him in this way are many and wonderful – including the one we read here that He will help us walk on straight paths – or, as I learned it in the Authorised Version, “He will direct your paths.” Many is the time when I have sensed God bringing correction into my life so that the path I was walking on would remain straight and many are the times, also, when I have sensed Him directing my paths so that I would know His will for the next stage of my life. I am so grateful to God for His wisdom – it is beyond human understanding.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to trust You at all times and to look for Your clear direction in my life. I pray that You will direct my steps so that the paths I walk on will be those You have prepared for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

June 14, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Dead? Or alive?

”In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead . . . As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

James 2:17 and 26

The Bible has a way of cutting through all the spiritual junk which sometimes surrounds our lives and getting to the nub of a situation or problem in a few uncompromising and deeply challenging words. None of us needs to use much imagination to know what a dead human body looks like – totally lifeless, without response and completely incapable of doing anything. And that is exactly the image which James uses to stir his readers, by saying that unless your faith leads to a changed life, as evidenced by the actions which result from your beliefs, then you are just like a dead body – lifeless!

We are definitely not ‘saved’ by our deeds, for our salvation is entirely the gift of God, an act of grace and mercy, as Paul expressed it so clearly in Ephesians Chapter 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” But then he went on to say in verse 10, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” So there we have it, salvation is a gift, but once having received such a wonderful gift, God looks for the fruit (the good works) which He prepared in advance for us to do, which will witness into a fallen world about the truth and love of God and help build His Kingdom.

We each have a part to play – and if there is no evidence of the faith we profess, as expressed by the works we do as a result of having faith, then there is only one conclusion – our faith isn’t real and as far as God is concerned we are as lifeless (spiritually) as a dead body is physically!

I pray that today the Lord will speak into your heart about both the faith you possess and the works that God has called you to do. I was impacted as a child by the song “there’s a work for Jesus none but you can do” As a ‘not-so young’ child of God I still remember and believe those words and am still impacted and challenged by the call to action that our faith demands.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the extraordinary gift of salvation that, in Your mercy, You gave to all those who believe. Help me, Lord, today, to rise to the challenge of walking in obedience to Your call upon my life to do the works that You have prepared in advance for me to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

May 31, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on The Sacrifice of Fools

The Sacrifice of Fools

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.”

Ecclesiastes 5:1, NIV

Many years ago I underlined those three word “sacrifice of fools” in my Bible and thought that one day I would write a book with that title. Well, the years have passed and the book remains unwritten, but the profound principle represented by these three words seems more relevant than ever in today’s world – especially in a formerly very Christian country such as the UK.

For, as time has passed, we have seen more and more of the foundational Scriptural principles that used to be at the heart of government eliminated from our statute books and removed from the educational curricula of our children. God, and the principles spelled out in His Word, have become an embarrassment to a nation that is now almost exclusively secular.

But it’s even more sad when believers in God absorb the world’s views, visit church and offer their worship, but at the same time are not willing to listen to what God has said in His Word. To say that you love Jesus, but refuse to live your life in willing obedience to what He taught, is a prime example of the hypocrisy which made Jesus so angry with the Pharisees. It is simply the sacrifice of fools

Today, one of the most offensive words in the English language is ‘sin’. No-one wants to know that there is a God who sees and what the consequences are of breaking His laws. But as David said in Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’”. It’s foolish to ignore God and effectively tell Him that you’re going to live life your way. Sin is a very dangerous disease. And Paul spelled it out very clearly in Romans 6:23 when he said “the wages of sin is death”!

So, may I urge you not to offer God “the sacrifice of fools”, but to humble yourself before Him, choose to listen to what He says and walk in His ways, rather than close your ears to His voice and your eyes to His Word.

Prayer: I am sorry, Lord, for those times that, in hypocrisy, I have offered you the sacrifice of fools – worshipped you with my lips but walked away from you in my heart. Please forgive me, Lord, for the times I have done this and help me to offer you a sacrifice of real praise whenever I come before You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

May 15, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on Test, Hold On and Avoid!

Test, Hold On and Avoid!

“Test everything, hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”

1 Thessalonians 5:21, NIV

Paul writes these words as an instruction – not just good advice! We are commanded to be sure to test all things so that we can avoid the dangers of being deceived. If we fail to test things we could be in danger of falling into deception. And one of the commonest deceptions is to think that it’s OK for us to reinterpret the Word of God to make it mean what we want it to mean!

The last part of our Scripture simply tells us to avoid every kind of evil – for Paul knew that if we fall into the practice of sin then God’s spirit within us will be quenched and it will affect our relationship with Him. Proverbs 3:7 & 8 puts it even more strongly. Here it says “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and avoid evil. This will bring heath to your body and nourishment to your bones.” From this we understand that there can be a relationship between the way we live and our consequential health!

If we truly have a holy fear of a holy God, then we will not want to live our lives outside the provisions of God’s Word. He has given us the Scriptures so that we will know the truth – and then Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

So when it comes to testing things – the first place we should go to test whether or not something is of God – is the Word of God. If we find that what we are thinking about or doing is contrary to Scripture, then we can be sure it has failed the test. We can hold on to those things that are good and are of God, but if it is clear from God’s Word that something is not of Him and is sinful, then the instruction is clear – in both Paul’s teaching and the Proverbs, avoid it!

Prayer: I’m sorry, Lord, for the times when I have not avoided doing what know is wrong according to Your Word. Help me Lord to remember to test things carefully against your Word so that I can hold on to what is good and avoid what is bad. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

April 30, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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On God’s Lead!

”When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!”

Romans 6:20-21, NIV

The word sin has become a very offensive word in today’s amoral society. The very idea that there can be a God, who has shown us what is right and wrong, flies in the face of our secular world which has largely decided it knows better. As a result, Christians who want the freedom to live their lives according to God’s Word are becoming more and more marginalised. We cannot ignore the reality that in spite of generations of Christian history, this is the world we are now living in.

But the fact that the world is ignoring God, does not change anything about Him! And people may not like the word sin, but sin is still sin. When your conscience has been dulled by the non-stop voice of secularism, it’s so easy to go with the flow and live a self-seeking and self-centred life, without any restrictions or controls, not realising where it’s all leading. What you want to do – you do. And if it doesn’t hurt anyone else, why not?

When a person becomes a Christian, however, everything changes. With Christ within, it can seem as though the work of the Holy Spirit in the inner man is acting like that “control of righteousness” which Paul talks about in our Scripture for today. When Barney, our black Labrador, was young. It was essential to train him on a lead. The lead acted like a “control of righteousness”, keeping him out of all sorts of trouble.

As Christians we should welcome the Holy Spirit’s “control of righteousness” on our lives. It will make us constantly sensitive to those things that are outside the plans and purposes of God for our lives and keep us from sinning. Later on in this chapter Paul sums up the consequences of ignoring God with uncompromising clarity, in a message which the world doesn’t want to hear, when he says “the wages of sin is death.”

How grateful I am for that “control of righteousness”. It has kept me from sinning on many occasions. Oh how precious it is to be loved so much by the Lord that He cares for us in this very practical way. Jesus died to set us free from having to receive the wages of sin. Let us not hanker after an unrestricted life, but welcome the hand of God on our lives, keeping us safe in Him.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You love each one of us so much that the Holy Spirit wants to be a control of righteousness in our lives. Help me to always welcome His gentle tug on the reins of my life, so that I will not wander off the path You have laid out for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

April 15, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on I was about to fall, but God . . . !

I was about to fall, but God . . . !

“I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”

Psalm 118:13-14, NIV

Many is the time when God’s people have been in a situation where only God could help them! And in this psalm, the psalmist recounts the times when he was beyond human help and, were it not for God’s intervention, he would have been overwhelmed and overcome, have fallen and been defeated.

There are times in all our lives when God allows us to get in a situation which is beyond our human capacity to fix. We have done everything we can, but there seems no way forward or out. The pressures are more than we can stand. The psalmist remembers how “all the nations surrounded” him. How they “swarmed like bees” around him; and how he was “pushed back and about to fall.”

Then he says, “But God . . . ! “ Time and again when he was in this sort of situation he had learned that there is only one thing to do – and that is trust God and discover yet again, “But the Lord helped me . . . The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” There are many times in the history of Ellel Ministries when God has intervened in situations when there was absolutely nothing we could do.

May I encourage you to stop whatever else you are doing right now and read the whole of Psalm 118 out loud. Proclaim the blessings of the God who heard and answered the cries of His people. And then spend a few minutes recounting with thanksgiving the times in your own life when God intervened. Praise encourages the spirit and lifts the soul. And then, in the words that conclude the psalm, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever.”

Prayer: My heart is full of gratitude to You, Lord, for Your love and faithfulness. For the ways Your hand does mighty things for Your people. Help me, Lord, to trust You even more when all around seems to be falling apart, knowing that You are able to do over and above anything that we can think or dream of! Thank You, Lord. Amen.

March 31, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
Comments Off on He’s Alive!

He’s Alive!

“While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?’”

Luke 24:4-5, NIV

When, suddenly, two angels, gleaming like lightning, appeared in the tomb of Jesus, no-one can blame the women for being frightened! Their only agenda at that moment was, in their grief, to place spices on the body of Jesus. They were already traumatised for a different reason – the body of Jesus had gone! And it was then, in the midst of their utter confusion, that two angels appeared before them and asked a question which still rings down the centuries with extraordinary significance, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

While most of today’s world has reduced the resurrection of Jesus to the level of a really nice religious myth, the events of that extraordinary Sunday morning stand unchallenged as one of the most well attested facts of history. Jesus is not a dead religious leader whose tomb is venerated like an idol. He is not only alive for evermore, but is preparing to come again – not as a babe in Bethlehem, but as the King of Kings.

Next time it won’t be the women at an empty tomb who will be frightened, but all those who have knowingly rejected the risen Lord Jesus will be in anguish over their eternal stupidity. Notwithstanding the facts of history, the world has treated Jesus as if he was still dead, totally ignoring the significance of his life, his teaching and his ministry, and the personal consequences of ignoring the only One whose life transforms the gates of death into the doorway to life. For in Him, and in Him alone, is there hope beyond the grave as evidenced by the facts of resurrection morning.

The simple facts of this resurrection morning, stand in time and eternity as the moment when God intervened to change the destiny of all those who choose to follow Him. On this resurrection day, may I encourage you to kneel in awe and wonder before the empty cross and worship the living God. He is not dead – HE IS RISEN! Hallelujah.

Prayer: On this day, Jesus, when we celebrate Your resurrection from the dead, I come in humble adoration and great thanksgiving. Help me, Lord Jesus, in every area of my life to bear testimony to You, my risen Lord, who gave everything for me. I love You, Lord. Thank You. Amen.

March 20, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Truth Revealed

“You are a king then!”, said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying that I am a King. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

John 18:37, NIV

Truth is ultimately defined by who God is. When faced with Pilate’s questions Jesus said, “I came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John18:37). This statement poses a very important question “Are you willing to listen to Jesus and believe in Him?” Pilate side-stepped this question by retorting “What is truth?”

The history of science is simply a search after truth – that which is proven to be true about every possible aspect of the Universe, of which the Earth is a part. But when it comes to the origin of the Universe, however, twenty-first century atheistic scientists have no time to consider the existence of a Creator God. They are, therefore, ultimately devoted to proving how the Universe could have come into existence without the involvement of a Creator, notwithstanding the fact that the spontaneous creation of matter out of absolutely nothing, defies every known scientific law about the nature and interactions of matter!

Within the heart of man, however, there has always been an instinctive belief that there must be something or someone ‘out there somewhere’! Throughout recorded history, there are people in every known people group who have believed in something and have sought after that unknown god. God answered this cry of the human heart by sending His Son who declared to the world in John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth and the life.” His words can be trusted.

And John’s Gospel begins with declaring the truth that John heard from Jesus Himself, “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3). I don’t know how God did it, but I am willing to trust the man who stood before Pilate, received the punishment of death that all of us deserved, and demonstrated the absolute authority of God over all things, by being raised again from the dead. He IS truth – and we can trust Him.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for demonstrating that You are, indeed, the way, the truth and the life. I choose today to trust You in all things. I put my hand afresh in Yours and ask that You will lead and direct my steps so that I will not be deceived by any false beliefs. I believe that You are the Son of God. I pray this to Father God in Your Name. Amen.