Peter Horrobin

International Director of Ellel Ministries

February 24, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Born Again

“Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, You must be born again.”

John 3:5-7, NIV

Many tears will have been shed these past few days when the news broke that Billy Graham had died, aged 99. Billy Graham was probably the most well-known evangelist ever. He certainly preached to more people than anyone else in history. But much more significantly there are countless millions alive in God today because they were born again by the Spirit of God after listening to Billy Graham preach the timeless Gospel message from today’s Scripture, “You must be born again.”

I was ten years of age when I first heard Billy Graham preach at the Harringay Arena in London. Even though I had already given my life to the Lord, I was hugely impacted by both his message and the number of people who went forward at the end of the meeting to do business with God. I know many people today who were born again under Billy’s ministry and have gone on to live outstanding Christian lives.

Philip Doddridge, the eighteenth century poet, described that moment of being born again as the happiest day of his life and he put his experience into the words of the hymn:

“O happy day that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Saviour and my God!”

And in the second verse of the hymn he explained why:

“ ’Tis done—the great transaction’s done;
I am my Lord’s, and He is mine;”.

Every one of us needs to have our lives transformed by the living presence of our Saviour and be born again by the Spirit of God. In John Chapter 3 Jesus explains to Nicodemus that no-one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again. And this was the message that God gave Billy Graham to preach and he faithfully preached it throughout his life – simply because it is the most important message in the universe, and everyone needs to hear it.

February 21, 2018
by Blog Moderator
Comments Off on What a man! But what a Saviour!

What a man! But what a Saviour!

I was just settling down to write a blog about Strands of Destiny, when breaking news came through on my computer that the veteran evangelist, Billy Graham, had died, aged 99. Billy Graham was not just “one of the most influential preachers of the twentieth century” as he was described by the BBC, but he was, arguably, one of the most influential of all men and women of the twentieth century.

There are hundreds of millions of men and women, probably from all the countries of the world, who owe the fact that their lives were redeemed and put back on a God-honouring course by meeting their Saviour through the ministry of Billy Graham. No-one will ever be able to calculate the extent of the blessing he has been to all those people and the consequences there have been down the generation lines to children, children’s children and beyond.

I was ten years of age when I went with my Dad to hear Billy Graham at Harringay Arena in London. I was mightily impacted and will never forget how one particular man came to the Lord there through Billy’s ministry. I tell his story in Strands of Destiny. Then, many years later in 1984, I was privileged to be the originator of Mission England Praise (now Mission Praise), the song book for Billy Graham’s Mission England, and be involved in organising the meetings at Liverpool Football Club’s, Anfield Stadium. Those never to be forgotten days were part of my own personal journey of seeing faith in action.

Meeting Billy Graham, and his almost equally well-known song-leader, Cliff Barrows, was an inspirational moment that touched my life. Even though for over thirty years now I have been involved in the healing ministry, I have never forgotten that the primary calling of a Christian is introduce those who don’t know Jesus, to their Saviour.

This will be a day of great thanksgiving in the hearts of countless people, including my own. There will be hundreds of millions of strands of destiny woven into a tapestry of thanksgiving as Billy meets His Saviour face to face.

I was going to write this blog about reactions to my book, Strands of Destiny, but that will have to wait for another time. Today is a day to thank God for a man who walked in his destiny throughout his days. His obedience to his calling has produced a harvest of extraordinary fruit.

Thanks be to God for the man – but even greater be to God for Billy’s Saviour, who called Billy to Himself when only a teenager and has now called him Home on the brink of his hundredth birthday. What a man – but, Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

February 18, 2018
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Hebrews 10:22-23, NIV
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water … for he who promised is faithful.”

The disciples were crossing the lake in their boat, with Jesus asleep in the bows. A furious storm blew up and the disciples were terrified. They cried out to Jesus to save them. ‘He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm’ (Matthew 8:26).

Fear and faith don’t go together. We’re either afraid something might happen, or we have confidence that it won’t. It may be that we hope something will happen and it doesn’t, even after much prayer. Does this mean we don’t have enough faith?

Jesus said, ‘if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there, and it will move”’ (Matthew 17:20). Most of us would readily confess that we don’t have that kind of faith. ‘Whatever you ask in prayer you will receive, if you have faith’ (Matthew 21:22). The Bible seems to suggest this is possible. But is it?

When we ask anything of the Lord in prayer we’re submitting it to the King. Far be it from us to try to tell God what to do. We’re laying our petitions before Him and trusting Him with them. A bible dictionary defines faith as ‘confidence in and commitment to God and Jesus Christ.’ So, our confidence is in Him, not in us. Having made our requests to Him we must then let go. We’ve handed them over and they’re no longer our responsibility. ‘Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16)

We need to ‘draw near to God with full assurance of faith’ (Hebrews 10:22). This is not faith that comes from a desperate hope that certain things will happen, but faith in the One who can do all things.

Faith must not be what we can generate in ourselves, hoping that He will recognise our need and do something about it. No, faith is in the person of Jesus Christ. We must align our will to that of the Holy Spirit and determine His way in the situation. ‘If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it’ (John 14:14).

‘In His name’ is through His identity living in us by the Spirit. It is by faith, taking Jesus at His word in complete confidence that He will never let us down (Hebrews 13:5b). When Jesus said, “you of little faith” He was really saying “don’t you trust me to look after you?” By putting our faith in Him we’re relying upon His love towards us, knowing that it’s His pleasure to ‘graciously give us all things’ (Romans 8:32).

It’s not about ourselves and how much faith we can muster. It’s about trusting and depending on Jesus and His faithfulness towards us.

Prayer: Lord, help me to take my faith as a mustard seed and plant it in You; to know Your faithfulness and love towards me, and acknowledge that Your ways are not always my ways, but Your ways are best. Let my faith be always in You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

February 17, 2018
Comments Off on Stand on the Rock

Stand on the Rock

Exodus 33:21, NIV
“Then the Lord said, “There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock””.

One of the special characteristics of God to me personally is the fact that He’s referred to in the Bible as our rock: ‘He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God Who does no wrong, upright and just is He’ (Deuteronomy 32:4). One of my life-scriptures that I often quote and go back to in difficult seasons is Psalm 18:1-2: ‘I love You, LORD, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold’.

As I read Exodus 33 in my quiet time recently, I felt such a wonderful peace fill my heart. Moses was having a face-to-face conversation with God after the Israelites had sinned against God by worshipping the Golden Calf. Moses was desperate for God’s Presence not to abandon them. He asked God to show His glory to him (Exodus 33:18). But verse 21 is so beautiful, because the Lord invites Moses to stand near Him on a rock. Some translations of verse 21 say, ‘there is a place beside me’.

Whenever God invites us closer we can be certain that the place near Him – beside Him – is a firm, secure and solid place. It is a rock. Even when everything around us or inside us feels insecure, shaky and uncertain, His presence – being near Him – brings an inner peace and stability that silences the lies of the enemy and the shouts of the world. It restores crooked perspectives and renders all the unanswered questions insignificant, because the great I AM, the One who holds the stars in place, stills the doubts and fears with His comforting presence. Our strength is found in intimacy with Him.

Looking towards the future may cause a variety of emotions inside us – from anxiety to great expectation and hope. Knowing that we have a secure place that we can escape to, draw strength from and find refuge in, should fill our hearts with peace. I’m encouraged to stay close to God and to take Him up on His invitation to stand on that rock, that firm and safe place near Him.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You’re my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer – my secure place for whatever I may face in the year ahead. Thank You that You invite me to be near to You, and that You make the crooked places straight. I choose to rest in You. Amen.

February 16, 2018
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Homeward Bound

Psalm 84:3, NLT
“Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!”

I remember standing in the kitchen of our previous home one summer evening. It was near sunset, and, as I looked out of the window, across my line of vision, I saw a solitary bird high in the sky, flying very purposefully. As I watched that lone bird, probably flying to the place where it would roost that night, I was deeply moved, sensing the Lord’s presence there in the kitchen with me. I told Him how wonderful the sight of that bird was to me. It knew how to find its way home that night. The Lord’s put the need for a home in every creature He’s made, including us human beings, who are created in His own image. I realised the Lord was touching something deep in my heart that evening – my own sense of being on a journey through life to my true home in heaven with Him.

I felt this again recently, as we heard the cries of migrating swans and geese in the sky above our home in the northwest of England. I looked up in wonder at the V-shaped formations of birds, honking and calling to each other, as if encouraging each other to keep going on their long journey to a warmer climate.

For all of us, who know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, the reality is that this world isn’t our home. We’ve been born again from heaven above, and that’s where we make our pilgrimage to through this world. Eventually we’ll see Him face to face. It doesn’t mean we’re ‘too heavenly minded to be of any earthly use’, as some people disparagingly say. No! Psalm 84:6 says of those who’ve set their hearts on such a pilgrimage, ‘When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings’.

The apostle Paul longed to be at ‘home with the Lord’, although he was willing to stay longer in the world for the sake of the Gospel, and his fellow believers. Charles Spurgeon, the famous Victorian preacher wrote, ‘Christian, meditate much on heaven. It will help thee to press on, and to forget the toil of the way. This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country: this world of woe is but the stepping stone to a world of bliss.’

‘This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through

My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me, from heaven’s open door

And I can’t feel at home, in this world anymore.’

(Albert Edward Brumley)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promise that one day You’ll come to take me home to be with You forever. Help me to point others to You so they too might know You and have that same hope. In your name I pray. Amen.

February 15, 2018
by Seeds of the Kingdom
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Hated for the Right Reasons

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as one of its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

John 15:18-19, NIV

When I was growing up in the UK, in the nineteen-fifties and sixties, Pastors and Ministers of the Church were generally well respected. Even if people didn’t believe for themselves, they recognised that foundational Christian teaching was central to what it means to be living a good and godly life. When people were in trouble, even unbelievers would turn to a Christian leader for help. I will never forget being with my Dad at the doors of Maidstone Prison at 6.00am one morning, to welcome back into the world a young man who had got into wrong company, broken the law and had served his time behind bars. Dad became his pastoral bridge back into society.

But the world in which we are now living is radically different to what it was like in those far more innocent times. We have just seen how a volunteer Christian Prison Chaplain, of twenty years exemplary standing, has been dismissed from his role in a UK prison. For all those years he had worked unpaid, using his day off, every week, to spend time with prisoners, helping them with life’s issues and sharing with them the good news of the Gospel. But because he has been introducing prisoners, who voluntarily asked for more information about being a Christian, to the Alpha Course, he was considered an extremist and denied any further access to the prison as a volunteer Chaplain.

There are many instances today of Christians being marginalised or losing their jobs because of their beliefs. This is no surprise to God. When Jesus spoke the words of our text to the disciples, He was spelling out a present reality for His own life, but also declaring for the rest of time that when Christian beliefs and practice are at enmity with the world’s standards, respect for Christians will quickly fly out of the window and be replaced by the hatred of those who sense that the truth of God and His Word is in opposition to the way of the world.

Hatred of believers and subsequent persecution for holding to Christian beliefs has been part of Christian history. When we are hated for Christ’s sake we are part of an unbroken line of believers that stretches right back to the days when Jesus walked this Earth with His disciples.

So how are we to respond when we experience personal hatred and antagonism to our faith? Jesus only gave us one thing we can do – pray for our accusers and bless them! In Matthew 5:44 Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven.”

This is how Jesus, the Son of God responded and when we follow in His steps we are true sons of our Father in Heaven. This is the only way that those who hate us can ever respond to the Gospel for themselves. Unless they experience God’s love first hand, they will never know that there is a Father in Heaven who loves them, who had a Son who died for them.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You showed us how to respond to those who hate us because of You. Help me to remember to pray for those who would oppose the truth and for people such as this Prison Chaplain who are at the forefront of being hated for Christ’s sake. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

February 14, 2018
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God Watches Over You

2 Chronicles 16:9, NIV
“The eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

One of our younger grandsons has his second birthday this month. It’s an age of rapid development, and he’s been learning new things, increasing his vocabulary almost daily, and learning to string words together, which is very endearing. However, he’s too young to understand what might be dangerous for him, so his parents (or his Granny if she’s around!) need to keep careful watch over him. They’re watching to protect him, to correct him if need be, to encourage him, to comfort him and to teach him. It’s also fun to be together, so it is a time of joy (mostly!) for all concerned.

Thinking about this reminded me of today’s verse, which describes how God is constantly watching over us. He’s not doing this in order to be critical, or to catch us out. He’s a loving Father who wants to keep His children from harm, and to protect us. He knows what’s best for us, and wants to teach us His ways. He also wants to provide for us, giving us everything we need, including strength, peace and comfort in every situation.

He also delights in us (Zephaniah 3:17), as parents delight in their children. I used to love watching our sons when they were younger, taking part in sport, acting in plays, and doing many other things. I would notice the other children who were taking part, but my eyes tended to be fixed on my own sons. I was watching them because I delighted in them, and also because I wanted to provide some support and encouragement to them. That seems to be what today’s verse is saying – that God’s particularly watching over His own children, to be there for them as a source of strength and encouragement.

In 2 Chronicles 16, we read that, even though the Lord was there for King Asa, King Asa hadn’t been relying on Him. He’d taken matters into his own hands and had made a treaty with his enemies. It was in response to this that Hanani, the seer, spoke the words in today’s verse. He reminded Asa that, when he’d looked to the Lord, his enemies had been defeated, but, because he hadn’t done so in this situation, he would continue to be at war.

God is watching over you and me today, to strengthen us and to provide what we need in each situation. However, we need to look to Him and trust in Him, not trying to fix things for ourselves.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that You’re watching over me to provide the strength and comfort I need in each situation. I’m sorry for the times I’ve tried to do things in my own strength. I look to You today and put my trust in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

February 13, 2018
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Heed the Warning Signs

Proverbs 22:3, NLT
“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

I was delighted when I received an email from a friend recently. I’d been waiting to hear from her, and that day I’d asked the Lord that I would. So, I was doubly blessed, because the Lord had answered me, and I hastily set about writing a reply to her. I was about half-way through the reply, which I was typing on my smartphone, when a notification popped up saying that the battery was low. I didn’t take too much notice of it, knowing that I had at least 11 per cent power left. I duly finished writing the email and was just reading through it to correct any typing mistakes when, suddenly, the screen went black, and the word ‘Goodbye’ appeared in white writing, and the phone closed down. It had run out of power and needed to be plugged into the mains to recharge the battery.

I hastily plugged it in and searched for my e-mail. My friend’s mail was there, but there was no trace of mine. I looked in my drafts folder, but no, it wasn’t there either. So, there was nothing else for it but to start again. I felt cross with myself. I should have taken action when I saw that warning notice.

I wonder, how often is it, as Christians, that we keep going and ignore God’s warning signs. Our bodies may be tired and shouting at us that they need a rest, or it may be that we’re cramming too many things into our days and not spending quality time with the Lord to be spiritually recharged and built up. In every case, be it physical, mental or spiritual weariness, Jesus is saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Don’t be like me and ignore the warning signs. True, I wasn’t in danger – I just had to rewrite my e-mail. But it could be more serious if we ignore the Lord’s warning signs.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I want to thank You for Your love and care, and for being so patient with me. Please help me to be sensitive to You and to take Jesus’ yoke on me and let Him teach me. Help me to take notice when You warn me that I need to stop and rest and spend time with You. I don’t want to go on blindly and suffer the consequences. I ask this in Jesus’ name and for Your glory. Amen.

February 12, 2018
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A Key to Spiritual Awakening

2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV
“If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

I recently watched a YouTube video clip which was made in November last year (2017) to celebrate Billy Graham’s 99th Birthday. Among the tributes being given were comments made by Billy Graham himself. He said that he was praying that there might be a spiritual awakening. This statement caught my attention, because we’d just attended a day of prayer for the nation, and also our church has recently held several days of prayer and fasting. The main thrust of these events was for there to be a great awakening across the nation and the Church, and a turning back to God, asking for His forgiveness, mercy and deliverance.

Billy Graham went on to say that this awakening was only possible when we, as individuals, surrender our lives anew to Jesus Christ, and live the Christian life wherever we are. He then outlined three steps that need to be taken if this is to happen. These steps are something which we all need reminding of from time to time.

Firstly, do all you can to follow in the steps of Jesus by loving and caring for others, asking for the help of the Holy Spirit for His power to live this way.

Secondly, read God’s word every day as a source of spiritual nourishment.

Thirdly, keep praying until you and God become intimate friends, and you experience His joy and peace.

As I reflected on these thoughts, and the growing desire there seems to be among God’s people today for awakening, I was reminded of the verse above, so often used in the context of prayer for this. It contains God’s promise of blessing for His people if certain conditions are met. Four conditions are given, three of which, although challenging, most of us can comply with, to a lesser or greater extent, that is, to humble ourselves, to pray and to seek intimacy with God.

But the fourth condition presents the greatest challenge of all – to ‘turn from our wicked ways’. A spirit of repentance isn’t always the first thing we think about when praying for spiritual awakening, but Scripture makes it clear that we can’t expect blessing without it.

Turning from all traces of pride, arrogance, wilfulness, indifference, bitterness, un-forgiveness, sinful desires and wrong thoughts in our hearts may seem too painful to some. But that’s what God requires of us before He can impart His blessing. And there are many illustrations in Scripture of those who missed out on God’s best by not being willing to turn from their sinful ways. Yet there are also many accounts of those who were willing, and they received God’s blessing on their lives.

I believe the lessons are clear, the pathway to spiritual awakening for both individuals and nations is through repentance. Our prayers, individually and collectively, should be preceded by the King David’s prayer, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart. … See if there is any offensive way in me’ (Psalm 139:23-24). If we’re willing, God, through the help of His Spirit, will give the grace, the courage and the power to deal with these hindrances, and will allow His Spirit to flow through us.

Prayer: Lord, send revival. Start with me, for I’m one of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the King. Your glory I have glimpsed. Send revival. Start with me. (Matt Redman)

February 11, 2018
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Living Water

Revelation 7:17, NIV
“For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

At supermarkets in the UK recently I’ve noticed cardboard boxes of green stalks in bunches. At one end they’ve been cut and at the top they have a sort of pointed end. If you take them home, and put them into a vase of water, in a day or two, you’ll have a vase of beautiful golden daffodils. It’s an amazing transformation.

I’ve just had the joy and privilege to spend the weekend helping on a course at one of the Ellel Ministries centres, and I was struck, as I listened to the testimonies at the end of the course, by the similarity to those lovely daffodils. When we spend time with the Lord Jesus, drinking in the living water He provides from the teaching of the truth of His word, and time in worship and loving fellowship, we see that transformation from the, often untapped, potential to the glorious reality of who He created us to be.

It’s quite interesting to look up the other references to living water in the bible. In Jeremiah 2:13, God calls Himself ‘the spring of living water’, and He points out the fruitlessness of trying to provide our own water by digging cisterns which don’t hold water (doing things our own way).

In John 4:10-11, Jesus is talking to the Samaritan woman at the well and tells her she should be asking Him for living water. And, in John 7:38, Jesus says that, if we believe in Him, living water will flow from us. How exciting is that!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we long to be like those daffodils and fulfil all the glorious potential that You intended for us. Help us to drink from those springs of living water which You provide for us. Amen.