Tuesday, 7 March 2017

PASSING THE BATON

I was honoured to be invited to at a special service because  someone in my family was to be ordained as an elder. It was to be at the Temple in Penygroes, known as ‘the Mount,’ - a place of significance to many brought up in the Apostolic church.
After the ordination, the young couple were  commissioned  to be part of a team involved in pioneering work into West Wales.
Image result for passing on the batonNot only was I thrilled for their sakes, but especially because of the honour this is to our family, fruit of that sown into their lives by their godly parents and grandparents; of those who have passed on the baton.
But I was thrilled on another count. And this is what I believe God wants me to share. For at this time we cannot help but grieve as another great man of God seems to be drawing very near to Heaven’s gates. Glory for him, but for those left behind, the pain of bereavement. For through his fervent prayers and his ministry in Wales Wide he was surely passing on the baton to this young couple as they are taking on his burden for Wales.
It was while in this service I felt I must write the following in acknowledgement of David, one of God’s greatly loved Apostles, who among other things was used to lay a firm foundation for our fellowship in Porthcawl.


God’s Mountaineer

Oh God, creator of the rugged ranges
Thank you for those with heart of mountaineer
Loving the great outdoors of open spaces
Facing the fiercest climb with glad good cheer

Thank you for those who count each climb a challenge
Taking their strength from God to face each step
Nor fear the final peak that’s yet before them
Knowing they’ll soon be present with their Lord

Oh how we thank you, Lord, for those like David
His joy to lead us all to claim the heights
To gain new strength for every climb before us
And so possess the land in God’s own might

So may we hear God’s call to face the mountains
To know we each can be his mountaineer
To claim new heights nor fear the steepest valleys
To walk, e’en as he walks, with glad good cheer.


It is so important for each of us, in our endeavour to follow our Lord, to  prepare to pass on the baton to those who follow after.
‘The teachings you heard from me, commit to faithful men, who will be able  to teach others also,’ was part of Paul’s commission to the young Timothy (2 Tim 2:2) So the Kingdom of God will grow.
When I trained to teach Bible Explorer, part of our commission was that we should pass on the baton, to get others involved in this specific ministry. Teaching this inspirational course for over ten years, I have sought to inspire others to become involved, but now not only is my natural strength  declining, it seems this door of opportunity in the schools might be closing too, at least in this area. But though we must  accept that we can’t go on for ever, and ministries may change, part of me knew that if I gave up now I would be failing  in fulfilling my commission.
But as I saw a definite link in these ministries to the Welsh areas, I felt God reassuring me that we don’t always see the links God is forging, not the plans he is working out, but we must continue to pray and to trust that others will take up the baton, while we must continue to pray, as Jesus told us, ‘to pray the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into the harvest.’
Watch this space! God has been speaking to me, to give the doors into the schools one more push, while reassuring me that he will continue to renew my strength, and that I will rise up on wings like eagles even as I seek to be obedient in passing on the baton.
Be assured, God has asked me to share this because he has special ministries for each one of us, which we must commit to faithful ones who will be able to teach others also. Let us pray for each other.



Thursday, 16 February 2017

EAGLE CHRISTIAN



Yes, I am moved into my new flat. Some say I am in the pent house, but I call it my Eagle’s Nest.
Many years ago I was  given a card by one of my students at the Apostolic Bible College, where I was lecturing on children’s work.
Now it has a place of honour. Titled ‘Eagle Christian’, it is of an eagle, standing alert on some rocks, as it views the land, while the text is, ‘The glory of the Lord shines out as one rests in him.’
So here I am, resting in the Lord, in this beautiful apartment God has provided for me, and asking him to teach me to live as an Eagle Christian.
Firstly, I am trusting him to renew my strength so that I my rise up each day with wings as eagles, for  moving house is certainly exhausting, and takes courage and strength.
A lovely cosy home, - almost too warm first thing in the morning, I open a window for a few minutes and breath in the sweet fresh air, then switching on a lamp,  I open my curtains even though it may still be dark, in faith that the morning is coming, and ‘as surely as the day dawns’ as Hosea says, open my heart for all God has for me for this new day.
Once the morning is here I look away, above the back yards that are down below, over the roof tops, to the strength of the mountains beyond. Even if I cannot see them through the mist, I know they are there. I am told an eagle is able to turn his head full circle, but I have to wait to see the sea until I walk along the corridor, and passing the lift, look from the window across the harbour to Ogmore.
We admire the eagle for its nest- making skills in the bleakest of places. And of course the purpose of a nest is for raising young. God is reassuring me that with him, I am never too old, and he is continuing to anoint me with fresh oil in my various ministries.
God has made me so sure that this move was his best for me. He has appointed the places we live, as Paul told the people of Athens. And I have been filled with joy as I have been ‘playing house’ with my limited, but more than adequate space. I am amazed to be living in such luxury, but then I remembered that I had just as much joy in brightening up some of my little homes, such as they were, when in the Highlands of New Guinea. I am proving the words of Madame Guyon,
            ‘While place we seek or place we shun, the soul finds happiness in none,
            But with my God to guide my way, ‘tis equal joy to go or stay.
Image result for eagle christianQuietly I am getting to know all these wonderful senior citizens who like me, have moved into Stoneleigh court, determined to maintain independent living, all so brave and positive, and  friendly. But we all have deep deep needs, though we may strive to keep them hidden, and I pray this Eagle Christian, with those others already here, may be used to spread God’s wings of love so that none of us may need to fear the time when we are leaving earth, but  have assurance of the mansion Jesus has gone to prepare for his own.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

EAGLE’S NEST

Since writing of how God spoke to me at Hebron Hall, that I was still to run the race, the Lord has opened a door for me to move to a beautiful flat in sheltered accommodation. It all happened so swiftly and very surely. A new home! No, God did not want me to give up on my ministries, or think about my declining health but rather to face a new chapter in my life.
We had named our home in Hawkhurst Court Hafan Deg, - Fair Haven. Now I needed a name for this beautiful flat on the top floor of Stoneleigh Court, with double aspect views across the roof tops to the mountains, while just along the corridor I could see across to the harbour. I found myself referring to my ‘Eagle’s Nest.’
The last time God spoke to me about the eagle’s nest was when my beloved Joel had died. After five years in the ministry together, retired, we were settled into our own ‘Fair Haven.’ Re-tyred, we said, for you never retire from God’s service, but we did not expect any more moves until it was upward, and we were hoping to make this move together.
Image result for eagles nestBut unexpectedly, Joel preceded me to heaven. That was fourteen years ago, and it was then that the lesson of the eagle spoke strongly into my heart. I learned how the parent eagle, in order to encourage his young to fly, will gradually break up the nest that had been the eaglet’s security so that he must launch out and learn to use his wings. Now I felt the lovely cosy nest we had built together had been broken, and so I must launch out to trust the strong currents of God’s love.
But this eagle has been getting older. So many times I have had to remind myself of God’s promise that they who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, mount up with wings as eagles…. And walk and not faint. Yet my strength was declining.
But God had shown me very clearly that I was not to give up on my ministries, and now he has given me a two bedroom flat in a sheltered complex, where I have a study for my writing and room to store all my teaching aids as well as a lounge/diner and bedroom, a safe, secure nest where I can still welcome my friends.
Waiting for the completion date, so that I can move in,  I am already calling it my ‘Eagle's Nest,’ for it is on the top floor and, with dual aspect, I can see over the roof tops to the mountains.
We don’t have to fear declining health as old age creeps up on us, but God has put eternity in our hearts and he has never finished with us. We are missionaries wherever we are, and we can still rise up with wings as eagles.
Yes, I am down- sizing, but most of all I am laying up treasure in heaven. That needs to be the priority for us all, doesn’t it? I have always  tried to travel light since I first moved with my parents from our five bedroom family home into a bungalow, but especially as I set out for Papua New Guinea, but it is amazing how year after year we accumulate ‘stuff’ which needs to be thrown out. As the years pass and circumstances change, we have a different view of our treasures.
I had been thinking of parting with many of my teaching aids, but no. God may yet renew my youth and open doors. But meanwhile I must always remember that it is Christ who is my treasure and he told us, ‘Where your treasure is there will your heart be,’ – so, while I am enjoying my eagle's nest, and you the home God has provided you, we must seek each day to lay up treasure in heaven.  

I don’t know the author, but it was Mrs Charles Cowman’s favourite poem, and mine too, and so I will copy it hear and pray it will bless you too as we enter this New Year,

            My heart is there!
Where, on eternal hills, my loved one dwells
Among the lilies and the asphodels;
Clad in the brightness of the Great White Throne,
Glad in the smile of Him who sits thereon,
The glory gilding all His wealth of hair
And making His immortal face more fair –
THERE IS MY TREASURE and my heart is there.

                        My heart is there!
With Him who made all earthly life so sweet,
So fit to live, and yet to die so meet;
So mild, so grand, so gentle and so brave,
So ready to forgive, so strong to save.
His fair, pure Spirit makes the heavens more fair,
And thither rises all my longing prayer –

THERE IS MY TREASURE and my heart is there.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

WELL-BEING IN HEBRON HALL

Once again it was Christmas in Hebron Hall. This Ladies weekend is always special, and every year the wonderful committee plan some special surprise for us.
We arrived to find beautiful Christmas trees adorning the place. And then Saturday morning I could not get out of our room because a row of Christmas stockings were strung across it, filled with loads of nick knacks which are still surprising us.
But for me the very special Christmas gift was the ministry. The joy of leaving our daily burdens and meeting up with so many friends of old and new, being spoiled with the excellent meals, and the lovely young people who served us, was all part of the of the blessing, but most of all the ministry.
Just being Sarah is an important part of her ministry. We loved hearing about her family, and especially we were touched to see a photo of a seven year old with her little sister, one arm held firmly behind her back, ashamed of her missing hand. Now she uses both arms as she plays the key board with confidence and skill, never seeking to hide it.
I’m sure Kevin (the Clown) did us good as we dissolved in laughter, even if we had already heard about his mother, leading up to his proclamation of God’s great love for us, but when Sarah announced her theme, Running the Race, and one session concerning the Marathon, I knew God had me in mind as he had moved Sarah to prepare her ministry.
Probably many of us had felt the same, but I can only share my story. 
I had ben unwell of late. My beloved Brother in law would have told me I was suffering from de-o-bitis – (date of birth) – in other words ‘old age.’ I told my pastor that I felt I would have to give up my ministries, but he spoke a word from God, - though I didn’t not receive it as such at the time.
‘Pauline, I cannot allow you to do that,’ or words to that effect. I felt a little hurt, until God gave me a picture.
There I was, prostrate on the ground, having failed to make the winning post, while God’s servant was on his hands and knees, begging me to get up and assuring me that I could make it. Now here was Sarah with just the same message.
Perhaps the greatest ministry in this Well-Being conference was the worship. How we were lifted on wings as eagles, the refrains of these wonderful songs still echoing around in my head. We were so blessed by these two beautiful young women, whose whole lives are acts of worship.
But perhaps the message I hope I will never forget is this story Sarah shared.:- In London alone, with a few hours to spare, she slipped into this cheaper seat, just as the concert was about to begin.  She was embarrassed that she was in view of those in the expensive seats until the conductor stepped up the podium. She was able to see the delight on his face, everything in his control. Those in the best seats saw only the back of his head, but she could see his face.
We behold the face of our wonderful God. In the hard places, as well as the easy ones, let us remember that.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

A CORN OF WHEAT

except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abides alone….’
One of my claims to fame is to be Welsh by Marriage.
Had I not married Joel it is unlikely I would have come to settle here in the land of Our Fathers, and I might never have heard of this brave Welshman who is so greatly honoured by the Christians  in Korea.
I had  heard of a group from Korea  who felt it their responsibility, year after year, to travel to Wales, always coming via Jerusalem, to seek to bless the church here in thanksgiving for this, their first missionary, Robert Jermain Thomas, who, now 150 years ago, gave his life in seeking to bring them the Gospel. But had it not been for the Koreans themselves I doubt if any of us in the UK would even have heard of this brave Welshman. But in the land of Korea  they know that, though this brave young man had been martyred on arrival, it was he who had brought them these Bibles, written in their own language, which had  so miraculously survived.
I have heard several versions of how it happened, but part of the story is indisputable, and that is that Thomas had taken ship to Korea, with crates of Bibles. Herein is the first miracle. Does anyone know who first was burdened to translate God’s Word  into Korean? Who was the first contact who had taken on this mammoth task of translating the whole of the bible in this strange tongue, and with such a strange alphabet? This was no small task.
Many years ago Connie had been asked to help a tribe in Congo to have God’s word in their own mother tongue. Thirty years later, what a celebration as at last the task is completed! Those  who translated the bible into Korean may not be remembered, or even the stranger from Korea who possibly had been brought to our shores, that helped them in this task. But we do remember Thomas, because he was willing to live or die that Christ be known, and God’s word heard.
I know how I have pictured the story as it was first told to me :- the sighting of this land of Korea, from the ship which had already carried him so far, but not the welcome Robert had hoped for. Seeing the angry mob on the sea shore the captain has the guns manned, and so, in order to avoid any loss of life this brave young man orders the sailors to throw his crates of bibles onto the beach, leaping over with them while the captain, no longer responsible, sails away from their danger zone. 
How long was it before the sad news of his death reached his family? Was there a sweetheart who had been waiting to hear that it was  safe for her to travel out to join him?  I have no idea. And how long was it before  other Christian missionaries had ventured to that previously closed land? Maybe not until the Welsh revival? But we have heard from the now vibrant church in Korea that eventually other Christian missionaries had arrived to find these previously warlike people now already with hearts softened and changed, and worshipping Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour.
Here was another miracle. Robert Jermain Thomas had expected to explain to them the gospel, for ‘how shall they hear without a preacher?’ And how could they understand the purpose of these heavy loads? But God had not allowed them to destroy Thomas’s cargo.

Instead of destroying the books, someone had thought to line their walls with the precious paper, helping to keep out wind and weather, and as others then followed suit, somehow they came to realise the significance of the words written thereon, now plastered all around them. And today, through the precious life of one young man, the Word of God has been sown into the hearts of the people of Korea, and this year, 150 years later, some of them have again visited the little county of Wales, not only in thanksgiving, but to pray for us that again we may know the flame of revival that first ignited one to translate the word, Thomas to willingly give his life and then later those so filled with the Holy Spirit to come as teachers among them that as a nation they all might run with the Word .  

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

DELIVERANCE FROM THE PIT

Read: Hebrews 13: 5,6
This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and delivered him from all his fears. Psalm 34:6 (RAV)
When I was still small enough to sit on my Daddy’s knee, I would love him to tell me the story about the old man who was walking along with his head in the air. He wasn’t looking where he was going, and suddenly, he had fallen into a big hole. And just as suddenly, my father opened his knees so that I fell between them. I shrieked with excitement, for I knew I was entirely safe, and that although he had appeared to let me fall I was still kept safe in his arms.

I was reminded of this the other day.  I felt as if I had fallen into a pit of depression. I used to suffer from depression, but over many years I have been learning to claim the Lord as my strength and my song. But here I was. A sudden attack from Giant Despair and I felt I was once again at the bottom of a pit. Then it was that my Father God gently reminded me of how my earthly father would never willingly have let me fall, though we had made a game of it; and even so, He had me safe in his keeping and I need not fear.
So God enabled me to call to him and once again he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Prayer: Father God; help us to trust you even in those times when we do not feel you near.
Thought for the Day: We know we can ask you to deliver us from evil. And we ask you to deliver us from all our fears too.

                                                                        Pauline Lewis (South Wales)
Prayer focus: those suffering from depression, that they may receive the right help

I have just had this thought for the day accepted to go in ‘The Upper Room,’ a devotional daily reading, but I thought maybe my Blog readers might appreciate it too. But, would you believe? This week I found myself in the pit once again. I remembered this lesson and knew God had firm hold of me, but I also knew God did not want me to stay in the pit. But   when I phoned a friend to ask her to pray with me, I found she was in the pit too. Had I made a mistake in turning to her? No, God had led me aright.
Together, we helped each other to talk through to the roots of our depression, and then, as we prayed for each other, we both heard God speak into our hearts showing us what action we needed to take in order to climb out of our pit.
So let’s make sure we do cry out to the Lord when we are feeling down, and listen to his answers too.
For me, I had been depressed because I was afraid the door of the school where I was hoping to teach Bible Explorer might not open, and until I had a day fixed for them, how could I make dates with the other schools?
With a nudge from the Holy Spirit, the next morning I phoned two of those other schools to book assemblies, where once again the doors swung wide in welcome.  I was not only out of the pit, but, in spirit, dancing on the mountains.
So may we all call out to the Lord and prove that He not only does hear but answers prayer and delivers us from all our fears.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

BOOK REVIEW: THE GOD OF OUR FATHERS

THE GOD OF OUR FATHERS
Belting the Globe with the Gospel

By Marcus Thomas
This book was written in light of the centenary celebrations of the establishing of the Apostolic church UK, yes, back in the year 1916.
The emphasis of the celebrations was, not just looking back but special emphasis was made on our continuing call to mission, and that we should always be a missional people.
In the light of this, it has been a joy to read Marcus’s book, well written and certainly holding my interest through every page.
I was blessed to be led by God’s Spirit to take membership in the Apostolic church when I was in my early twenties, and so privileged to be called to travel to Papua New Guinea and later to Ghana to serve with the Church in the children’s work, but then to marry Pastor Joel Lewis, who had worked for many years as a minister in Nigeria, and then in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. He was proud to know he was born the year the missionary work commenced, but also that his parents had been involved in those early beginnings of which Marcus writes.
It was many years ago that we were warned that when a movement reaches to a third generation it can so easily die out, but thank God we are not a people who have died out wandering in the wilderness, but now are a Joshua generation, entering into our possessions. It was wonderful to see whole families reunited for this special celebration, every one of them still involved in loving and serving the Lord.
As we read Marcus’s account we cannot but realise how great was the price paid, not only for the ministers, but for wives and children too, having to forgo having Daddy at home for Christmas because of a Christmas convention, or being left in a boarding school while their parents went off to Africa; and we can only praise God that he has healed those who have perhaps struggled with bitterness. Many of those Marcus has selected to write about we had been privileged to meet, and there have been other mighty men too whose names could not be recorded here. I so well remember Pastor W.H.Lewis, who is mentioned, in his old age, travelling across London to speak at a cottage meeting in Esther’s home and, knowing nothing of my background, leaving his notes to preach on the Divinity of Christ, or the personality of the Holy Spirit which led to me eventually leaving the cult I was in and taking membership in the little church in Barking. Another precious memory is of our friendship with dear Pastor Rosser, and him handing me the book, ‘So Send I You,’ which was a confirmation to me of my missionary call. How we thank God for the privilege of being part of this move of God, and for now having our zeal kindled afresh as we move forward into another century of service, ever looking forward and  hastening unto the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
But many of you may meet these great men of God for the first time if you read Marcus’ book. I recommend it. Read and be blessed.
For more information, contact- Marcus@thebridgecommunitychurch.org.uk