Keys to Healing

New Livestream Teaching Series

Covid-19 has caused devastation across the world and has successfully closed the doors of thousands of church buildings. Congregations have been unable to meet in the normal way and Christians have been deprived of personal fellowship with fellow believers. There has been a huge sense of loss across the Body of Christ.

But, where one door has temporarily closed, God has opened literally thousands of others, as on-line events have been streamed right into people’s homes. When we had to close the doors of Ellel Grange, I began a series of live-streamed events on a Tuesday to encourage people who were suddenly trapped in their own homes.

I had no idea what this might lead to. But a lot of people tuned in and there was very positive feedback. The Tuesday Livestream soon became a series of topic-related messages – all of which can still be watched via our website. I was amazed at the encouraging responses that came in from all over the world.

Then the Tuesday event expanded with a parallel live-teaching event, being translated into Russian and live-streamed every Thursday to Russian speakers right across the former Soviet Union from Ukraine to Siberia and, indeed, all over the world as well!

Suddenly, it seemed, I was privileged to be reaching far more people than ever before and in places that I could never have dreamt of visiting! What began as an emergency response to Covid-19 has become an extraordinary opportunity for God to bless His people through the ministry.

After the latest series of four messages, on the Second Coming, I sensed the Lord was encouraging me to start a new open-ended series, explaining how to use the many different keys to healing that He has shown us over thirty-four years of Ellel Ministries.

So, I will be starting this new Tuesday series on the 10th November at 1.00pm UK time and the topic for the first message is Seek First the Kingdom of God. Each teaching will then be posted on the Ellel website under Livestream Events and will also be made available on YouTube. I’m looking forward with great anticipation to sharing some of our experiences and illustrating how God uses the truth of His Word to transform hurting lives.

One of the great blessings from the livestream messages to date is hearing how God has touched people’s lives and, even, brought profound healing as they listened to the teaching. I pray that if you are able to join us on Tuesday that the Lord will encourage, bless and bring His healing into your life also.

Where Are You and What are You Doing?

“He chose David, his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, and of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skilful hands he led them.”

Psalm 78:70-72, NIV

Wherever you are just now in life and whatever it is you are doing, there are two things God looks for as He prepares a future for you. Both of them are highlighted in our Scripture for today from a Psalm of Asaph.

David is described as having been among the sheep pens, a simple shepherd boy with an everyday task to do, caring for the sheep. But he isn’t firstly described as being a servant of his father, whose sheep they were, he is described as having been, firstly, a servant of God. At that time in his life shepherding was his human responsibility, but the over-riding calling of his heart was firstly to serve God.

To choose to serve God as the primary calling of your life deals with all the pride of self-importance and puts everything else in life into its true perspective. Whatever it is then that you are doing in life, is then covered with a cloak of humility. And it was James who told us, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up” (James 4:10). And that’s exactly what God did with David. God saw his humility and picked him out.

But there was something else that God saw in David’s heart – and that was integrity. A person with integrity is someone you can trust and depend on. They are not going to change their mind depending on which way the wind happens to be blowing! In good times and in tough times, they remain constant and faithful. As a boy David wouldn’t leave his sheep to fend for themselves if there was something more interesting to do. He provided grazing for their food and protection from the wild animals. He was faithful to his calling because, ultimately, he was faithful to the God he served.

God looks on our hearts and when He sees humility and integrity he knows that He can trust you with His plans for your future. Being a servant of God has to be the first calling of our lives. And serving Him with integrity of heart equips us for His future. You may feel as though you are ‘serving in the sheep pens’ just now. But God has His eye on you – and who knows what God is preparing you for!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for showing me from your word that humility and integrity are the vital qualifications for godly living. Help me, Lord, to always be glad to serve You, wherever You have put me, and to always do my work with integrity of heart and faithfulness both to You and my work. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Jesus, Healing and the Second Coming

Exactly six months have passed since my last Blog entry at the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis. Over a million people have now died worldwide, 200,000 in the USA and close to 50,000 in the UK. Even though the restrictions, suffering and the economic consequences persist, the nations have largely got used to the idea that Covid-19 is still around and will be for some long time to come.

Since then the Christian world has moved online and the crisis has given birth to a wealth of online resources being made available. Throughout this time, I have been live-streaming a series of messages (video blogs – all still available to hear on the Ellel website) and at the end of the last series, I invited people to suggest topics for the next series. Over half the people who responded asked for teaching on the Second Coming!

It is a fact that throughout history, whenever people have been going through crises such as war, earthquake, famine or disease, there has been a parallel rise in interest in what Jesus said about the end times (see Matthew 24:6-8) and what the Bible says about the Second Coming. A book I’m currently reading was re-issued during the first world war for this very reason!

In Matthew 24 Jesus teaches about the end-times and warns His followers, in verse 9, about a time that’s coming when “you will be hated by all nations because of me.” Increasingly, followers of Jesus are being marginalised, ostracised and persecuted for their beliefs, across the world, even in so-called Christian nations.

We cannot ignore either this or the continuing catastrophic events of the Covid-19 pandemic. So, in response to those who have asked for teaching on the subject, I will be beginning a new series of live-streamed video teachings on ‘Jesus, Healing and the Second Coming,’ starting next Tuesday 6th October at 1.00pm. I pray this will be both a challenge and an encouragement to us all. It’s good news – Jesus IS coming again!

PS Look out for an email with more details.

Are You Ready?

“At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”

Matthew 25:6, NIV

Jesus was a brilliant teacher. He both taught the truth and illustrated it with extraordinary parables and stories. In Matthew 24 He answers in His teaching the question put to Him by His disciples,“What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). In Matthew 24:44 He had stressed to His followers, “So, you also must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” In Matthew 25 Jesus tells stories to illustrate some of the things He has been saying.

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins is one of those stories. Jesus told this story to illustrate the importance of being ready at all times – for one day He will return again, not this time hidden away in a remote stable in Bethlehem, but in great power and glory. He will be coming to take to Himself those who have come into His Kingdom as the ‘Bride of Christ’. The wise virgins were ready with oil in their lamps to enter the wedding banquet with the Bridegroom, but the foolish virgins were unprepared and while they went off to try and find some oil the Bridegroom came.

The whole essence of the story is to underline the fact that those who do not know Him will be excluded from the celebrations to be shared by those who have entered His Kingdom. It is a story which has not only kept the second coming at the forefront of believers’ thinking throughout Christian history, but has also underlined the importance of remaining faithful till the end of our lives. For none of us know either the day or the hour when the Bridegroom will return and, equally, none of us know either the day or the hour when our earthly days might come to an end, before Jesus comes again.

The world is now going through the most severe of challenges through the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This has really focussed the attention of believers on matters of life, death and the second coming. Earlier this year I taught a series of weekly live-streamed messages available through the Ellel Ministries website. And not surprisingly, the one subject I was most asked for teaching on is the Second Coming! So, next Tuesday the 6th October I will be starting a new series on ‘Jesus, Healing and the Second Coming’ in response to these requests (watch out for an email later this week with more details).

We are living in the most uncertain of days – but the certainty of all that Jesus taught remains. We can utterly trust Him and know that if we are ready at all times, then we have nothing to fear. His arms of love remain open to welcome all who love and serve Him.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that all Your promises are faithful and true. And that one day You will be coming again. Help me, Lord, to be ready at all times to welcome Your return or for the day when You call me home. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stand Firm!

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”

1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV

We are living in a very uncertain age. Coronavirus has swept the world and everything that was foundational, even to life itself, is being shaken. Children are back at school, but for how long? Jobs are being lost and unemployment is rising. People are no longer going to church services. No-one can go and watch live sport and, in the UK, people are banned from meeting in larger groups than six. It sounds like an episode from a futuristic horror series on TV! But this is the world we are now living in, in circumstances that are likely to prevail for some time to come.

So, how are we, as believers, to react in the face of such extreme and often traumatic events? Our Scripture for today says, “stand firm” and “let nothing move you”. These words are a reminder of where our security really lies. Not in our temporary earthly resources, but in the cast-iron security of eternity, where we know that whatever we do in serving the Lord here will not be in vain – for our reward is not an earthly one, but one that is anchored in heaven’s glory.

It is absolutely vital that those who know and love the Lord should continue to demonstrate His love into this fallen and broken world, so that those who are looking for an answer beyond what they hear on the television news, or read in the papers, will have the opportunity of seeing love in action and hearing the good news of the Gospel.

The enemy’s strategy is to so traumatise people, even believers, that they give up. Paul is challenging us never to give up, but persist in the faith and always be ready for the time that is coming soon, when the Saviour returns. The days may be dark, but into the darkness the Light has come! Let us keep our eyes fixed on Him and press on with all the works of the Kingdom that He has given each one of us to do.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your Word is totally trustworthy. Thank You that whatever the circumstances they are never a surprise to You. Help us to always be alert to the move of Your Spirit showing us what to do and to always be ready to speak out the reason in our hearts for the faith and hope that we have. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Joy Unlimited

“The joy of the Lord is your strength” and “I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Nehemiah 8:10 and Habakkuk 3:18, NIV

The experience of real joy is unique to believers in the living God. It is His joy within our hearts that empowers and strengthens us to live God-anointed and blessed lives. This was a lesson that Nehemiah had learned on the job of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and without which he would more than likely have been unable to finish the job in the face of ridicule and opposition from the enemies of God’s people.

How do we get that joy? By truly knowing the Lord and walking in His ways. And how do we keep that joy? By keeping close to the Lord day be day. Listening for His gentle voice of direction and encouragement. Turning steadfastly away from the temptations that the enemy never ceases to put before our paths. And by maintaining an attitude of praise and thanksgiving to Him for both who He is and for all that He has done.

Habakkuk had learned that whatever the circumstances of life that God is to be trusted – and even when things are tough and provision for his needs was in short supply, he knew that the Lord was still his source of inner life and strength, the very root of his salvation. He did not turn away from God or allow a root of anger or bitterness grow up to rob him of his joy.

Joy is an experience that we can have in the inner recesses of our hearts even through hard times, and it is that joy which acts like an inner river of blessing to keep us sustained each and every day of our lives.

Prayer: Thank You Lord for the river of blessing which flows into our hearts from Yours. Thank You that we can be joyful in You, even when going through tough times. Help me never to cease praising You whatever the circumstances of life and for the inner joy which you have promised will be my strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The Upside Down Kingdom!

“Listen my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him?”

James 2:5, NIV

It’s sometimes said that the Kingdom of God is an upside down Kingdom! On many occasions the ways of God seem to run contrary to the ways of the world. For example, God chose a teenager, only armed with some stones and a sling, to defeat Goliath. He told Gideon that he would only win the forthcoming battle if he got rid of most of his troops! Paul explained it this way, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; and He chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27).

And in our Scripture for today James explains that God has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world, but rich in faith, to inherit the Kingdom of God! And Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with very similar words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for there is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

The pride, wealth, arrogance and self-importance of people who have made it in the world is sharply contrasted in Scripture with the character and eternal wealth of those who, in their humility, have focussed on serving God instead of serving themselves. The world may look down on them as being foolish, but Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) and one day, those who have spent all their time and energy storing up for themselves treasure on earth, will be seen to be like the man in Jesus’ parable about the rich man who wanted to build bigger barns to store his wealth. Jesus pointed out that his life was about to come to an end and asked what good would his wealth then be?

We live in a world which has little time for eternal security, but the time is coming when the upside-down-ness of the Kingdom of God will be seen for what it is – the right way up! It is time now to make sure that your primary focus of life is the Kingdom which is not of this world – the place where you are storing up eternal treasure.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for showing us that what the world sees as being foolish is, in fact, wisdom. Help me not to be ashamed of being seemingly foolish, by following You and obeying Your Word. Thank You for the many promises which encourage the poor in spirit to look forward to enjoying the riches of the Kingdom of Heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Living Through Loss

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me . . . to comfort all who mourn.”

From Isaiah 61:1-2, NIV

In Isaiah 61 the prophet is describing the work that the Messiah, Jesus, would do, including comforting those who mourn. When Jesus began His ministry, He confirmed that Isaiah had been writing about Himself by saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).

There are many different forms of loss which can cause us grief, but the one that brings the greatest heartache is the loss of a mother or father, husband or wife, brother or sister or, most painfully, a precious child. Losing a much-loved close family relative is the greatest pain of all, even more so if the loss is sudden or tragic, leaving no space or time to grow accustomed to the fact that someone we love is dying.

Life does not stop for those who are left behind, but how do we handle the grief of knowing that the person we loved so much is no longer with us, as we begin the process of adjusting to life without the one who mattered so much to us. It can seem as though we are facing an impossible journey, but a journey that, however hard it seems, we know we have to take.

We know that life will never be the same again, but the pain of facing this reality can seem like a mountain we have no ability or desire to climb. Like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car, we are immobilised by grief, grief that no-one else can fully understand and no-one else can live for you.

It was into just such a situation that Jesus walked when He came to the home of Mary and Martha, whose beloved brother Lazarus had died. These were all people whom Jesus loved and the sisters were not only in grief about his death, but because Jesus, who they knew had the power to heal, had not been there to heal him before he died. John records that when Jesus saw them weeping he was deeply moved. And then that Jesus wept. Jesus was full of compassion and expressing His own grief that Mary and Martha were feeling their pain so deeply.

Jesus had already told them (John 11:25), “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives, and believes in me, will never die.” The sisters understood this spiritually, but how would everyone else know and understand this amazing truth?

When Jesus raised Lazarus physically from the dead, however, after he had been four days in the tomb, there would be no doubting in anyone’s mind that what Jesus had said about resurrection life for all who believed was true. The evidence of Lazarus walking out of the tomb meant far more than physical life for Lazarus, for it confirmed to all believers, for the whole of time that in Jesus is eternal life, his promises of resurrection life are real and that we will see again all those who die in Him. This is the greatest of all comforts.

Be assured that whatever the personal loss is you have experienced, the Lord is weeping with you. His promise to comfort all who mourn is still current and it includes you. Be assured that, in Christ, is resurrection life and that He is still comforting those who mourn and weeping with those who have suffered loss.
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You demonstrated Your comfort to Mary and Martha and showed that You have the power of resurrection life by raising Lazarus from the dead. I open my arms afresh to You today and ask that You will wrap your arms of comforting love around me and touch my heart with Your healing, even in the deepest areas of my pain. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

God’s Comforting Instruction!

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for.”

Isaiah 40:1-2, NIV

God’s people had been in rebellion. As a result they lost their spiritual protection and this led to their being exiled out of Jerusalem. They suffered the consequences of their own sin. But the time came when the Lord had mercy on them and said they had suffered enough. In repentance they returned home to Jerusalem. And it was then that God gave this instruction, to comfort His people.

For, it is a fact that often, when people have had to face reality about themselves and everything that was hidden is brought out into the open, one of the primary emotions that people experience is shame. We talk about people hanging their heads in shame – they don’t want to look at anyone. Shame becomes a controlling factor in their lives. But it’s not one that God wants us to remain controlled by.

When the people returned from Jerusalem, God wanted them to know that their sin was paid for and forgiven, and that He wanted them to know His comfort. For, without experiencing God’s comfort, ongoing shame would dominate their future behaviour and their lives. Shame acts like a cloud on your future destiny and a break on everything that you might want to do for the Lord.

Many times on retreats and courses the Holy Spirit has touched people’s lives. On occasion, I’ve then been in the position of hearing someone pour out all the ungodly things that have contributed to their present situation. For some this can be a very shame-filled moment. But Jesus died that we can be forgiven. The enemy would want us to wallow in the shame, but God wants people to know the comfort that follows forgiveness, as we realise that God has not rejected us because of what we have done. He tells us that the price for our sin has been paid and the last thing God would want us to do is wallow indefinitely in a pit of shame.

So God’s instruction is to bring His comfort to bear in the lives of His people, so that they can not only be forgiven for whatever is in their past, but healed as well. Satan could want to use our past to condemn our future. But the cross stands between us and our sin and God’s comfort flows from there into broken hearts, heals them and equips them as they set out on life once again, comforted, healed and restored into the Lord’ service.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your comfort is always available for those who have faced reality about themselves and come back to you Thank You that Your forgiveness is complete. Help me Lord to receive the comfort of Your love and not to allow shame to limit my future. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The Comfort of God’s Word

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Psalm 119:11, NIV

The inner workings of our heart are very personal. The heart of man is a very private place. It’s the place where we hide intimate and personal thoughts that really matter to us. It’s also the place where we can bury things and hide them away like precious treasure.

But it can also be the place where we bury things, not because they are precious or valuable, but because we don’t want anyone else to know that they’re there! Especially things that we might be ashamed of, such as memories of sinful experiences which may still hold an attraction for us; things that we like to go back to from time to time, when tempted to indulge ourselves in the false comfort of sinful thinking, as opposed to dwelling on those things that would bless the heart of God and enrich our lives.

The writer of the Hebrews knew the reality of this when he wrote, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing of soul and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).

The thoughts and attitudes of the heart, or intentions of the heart in some translations, clearly matter to God. They are the things that motivate our actions – they are the source of both good things and bad things. No wonder Jeremiah warned us that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

When man chose to obey and follow Satan, we acquired a new and rebellious character in our inner being – the carnal nature, out of which flows the original sin with which the whole of mankind is tainted. And ever since, the battle for the destiny of our lives has been fought out in these inner reaches of our being. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

So, with so much stacked against us from within, how can we ever guard our heart and survive the onslaughts of the enemy which strike at the very core of who we are? How can we ever fulfil the rightful destiny that God has prepared in advance for each one of us (Ephesians 2:10). In our Scripture for today we discover the secret remedy that the psalmist had learned through long experience. He had hidden God’s Word, like buried treasure in his heart, where it could act as a plumb-line ranged against every deceptive intention that the enemy may want us to follow.

I am so thankful to the Lord that I was encouraged as a child to read and learn Scriptures and to remember them. When hidden in my heart, they became bastions of truth against which the temptations of the enemy had to be measured. I’m not saying I always made the right choices as a result, for the will can be very strong. But I can say, without question, that without the comfort of knowing that the Word of God is truth, and that God has promised His blessings to those who follow Him, I would have fallen into Satan’s traps on many occasions and missed out on so much of what God had in store for me.

What a comfort it is to know that if we get the Word of God into our hearts, then the Holy Spirit will get it out, to help us in time of need, especially when facing temptation.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your Word is truth. Help me to diligently read Your Word so that, hidden in my heart, it will help me to resist temptation and make godly choices throughout my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.