Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas again? How does it come around so quickly? And how is it there still seems so much pressure?

I wonder. Are you looking back with nostalgia to the warmth and excitement of those Christmases of your childhood? Or maybe you are much too busy creating the mystery and thrill of Christmas for your own children?

Yes, we know there is so much commercialism and partying associated with Christmas and, for many, it is a pagan festival, the Christ of Christmas forgotten or  unknown.

Even so, I hope we may not ever become cynical about Christmas, for it is a time for us to remember and spread abroad the wonderful story of Jesus. It is Christ-mas.

I love to tell the children the Bible story; of the Babe,  lying in a manger, because there was no room in the inn; the child sent from heaven, announced by angels, described by the prophet as Wonderful, Prince of Peace and given the name Jesus because he is come to save his people from their sins.

I  encourage the children to identify with the little ones of Bethlehem, watching in awe as so many strangers crowd into their little town. Some might have stayed in their homes as they were all in need of a place to sleep.

With our houses full,  might we children have been sent up onto the roof? But doubtless  we would have been too excited to sleep. We might even have seen Joseph and Mary, he so anxious and she so weary, - but there is no room. We can’t help.

Maybe, in the early hours of the morning we are wakened to hear excited voices, and leaning over the parapet of the roof, we could hear the shepherds sharing the wonderful news of the angel’s message and how they had actually found it all to be true. Yes, they had seen him, this very special babe, lying in a manger, just like the angel said.

Having heard that,  would we have quietly gone back to sleep? Did you, when, as a child, you thought you had heard Father Christmas? I don’t think so. I’m sure those children would soon have been creeping into the stable, or cave, or whatever it was (having asked their parents first – we have to emphasise that.)

Sometimes we end the nativity play with the children too gathering around the manger with their toys or lambs, perhaps  singing

          What can I give him, poor as I am

          If I were a shepherd I would give a lamb

          If I were a wise man, I would do my part

But what I have I give him – give my  heart.

But this can’t be the end of the story. You see, by the time the wise men arrived it says the star was over the house where the family were. After all, who would allow a mother with a new born babe to continue to live in a stable?

I’m sure those children, having seen the holy Baby and heard the wonderful story would have begged their mothers, ‘Couldn’t they come and stay with us? We can make room. Please? Please?’

Somebody made room for that holy family, and today that is what God is asking of us. In all the joy and celebration and partying, will we make room for Jesus?

Instead of nostalgia and regrets for the Christmases of long ago, I am so thankful that Jesus is willing to come and share our hearts and homes, and yes, our Christmas too. 

Monday, 2 December 2013


‘I am delighting myself in the Lord, and he is giving me the desires of my heart.’ That is not exactly what it says in the Bible, but it is my response of faith to David’s words in Psalm 37:4, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart,’ and I am doing what God told Joshua to do, to have God’s word in my mouth and in my heart.

It is many years ago since I learned the importance of speaking out these words of faith and my life was transformed, but it was a simple question from a friend that caused me to look back, to remember and to do some revision too. And so, here I am, sharing with you.

‘You don’t mind living alone, do you?’ was the question. ‘No’ I assured her. ‘I am content.’

Recently widowed, she could not accept that she was meant to spend the rest of her life alone. I have another friend, gregarious by nature, who finds great suffering in her singleness. So is it just the way I am made that I find contentment in my single state?

Memory takes me back to the remote highlands of New Guinea. I had always lived with my parents, and if they were away I would stay with my sister. I was expecting Mr Right, for God was calling me to the mission field and I was sure he would not expect me to go alone. Had he not given me assurance that he would bring someone into my life?

In the end I set out, yes, alone, but sure I would meet someone out there. When John, from New Zealand, came to our remote mission station it seemed like a fairy tale romance, but when he walked, or flew out of my life three months later I was left, broken hearted and desolate.

It was then that I was challenged by God, to have his word in my mouth; not to say, ‘Why won’t you heal me?’ but ‘You are the Lord who is healing me,’ and especially these wonderful words, ‘I am delighting myself in the Lord and he is giving me the desires of my heart.’ I spoke them in faith and in simple obedience, and little by little I found a joy and contentment in my circumstances so that when, a couple of years later, a colleague came, all aglow, to announce her engagement, I was not only delighted for her, but I realised that her joy was not any greater than my own in my present circumstances.

God was giving me the desires of my heart as I worked amongst the Enga people, known now as the ‘little children’s mother.’ It was another ten years before, my work abroad completed, God gave me a wonderful husband. I had 22 fruitful and joyful years with Joel before he preceded me to heaven and once more I am returned to walking alone.

I am so thankful that I had learned to be content as a singleton, for if we are looking to a husband to make our lives complete this will put a terrible strain on a marriage. But it is not easy to be alone, and the older we get the more it seems we are in need of company. After all, it was our Creator himself who said, ‘it is not good for man to be alone.’

But I’ve got my very special verse, and yes, I still have need to speak it out. I am delighting myself in the Lord and he is giving me the desires of my heart.’ In every need I am proving God, and I believe I have a very special privilege to pray for and sympathise with and encourage those who are finding it hard to walk this path of singleness.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Our Family of Grace

We have a very special young man who is part of our fellowship in Porthcawl. His name is Kritchen …… No, you will not have met him. He doesn’t live in Porthcawl, - not even in UK. He is Nepalese; yes, living in the remote and mountainous land of Nepal, but our RE-vive group have decided to adopt him. Not to come and live with us, but as part of our family we are sponsoring him, so that not only do we take responsibility for him to be clothed and fed, but to have an upbringing that is predominantly Christian.

So how did this come about? It began with a  Nepalese young man meeting with Jesus Christ, and stepping out of darkness into light. Jesus gave him a dream and he knew God was calling him to set up a Christian school. Well, guess what? Yes, he ended up in prison. But Christian Solidarity, of which Baroness Caroline Cox is a pioneer, heard of his plight and as advocates interceded on his behalf and now, with strong Christian support the school he had dreamed of has become a reality.
Stand By Me 
‘David, would you be interested in joining us? We are going to Nepal to give some training to the teachers in this Christian school?’

David Spurdle, a head master in the Romford area, didn’t need asking twice. He was always up for an adventure. Besides his home commitments he was already involved with the work of Tear Fund, and had gone on to take over responsibility for an American charity, Kids Alive.

This had begun through his involvement with an orphanage in Lebanon, but the work escalated, until he clearly heard God’s voice calling him to resign from his headship and  go into this work full time. Many of the Apostolic churches UK are already supporting him in the amazing work they are doing in Burma.

Today we hear of them sending out work parties to Ethiopia, and other places in Africa, and even South America, but in our small way we are involved by clubbing together in our house group to pay for the support of one small boy in Nepal.

His name is Krichan Kalakheti, born on 2006. Here he is, looking very smart, standing outside his school. He writes:

          You can call me Krichan. I’m in Nepal, staying in my grandmother’s house. (Sadly he and his little sister were abandoned by his parents when he was two years old.) My sister is studying in same school, in sponsorship.

          I’m happy to study here.’ And he goes on to say, ‘I love to play very much’
(Perhaps too much , for we’ve just had his school report to say he has failed in some subjects, but we trust with the security of our love, prayers and support that we will soon here of much better results.)

It is easy to pray for the whole wide world, but God sees each of us as individuals, and it is wonderful that in this practical way we are able to home in on one little boy and know we are making a difference in his life.

And yes, there are other charities through whom we could sponsor children, but I have a special link with David, who has birthed ‘Stand by Me.’

Garfield Spurdle came to take over as pastor of our Apostolic Church in Ilford, but with him and Sonia came three strapping lads, of whom David was the oldest. I think he broke a few hearts but has remained single through the years, maybe because God wanted him to be a father figure to so many children.     

I’ve been writing his story, ‘I only went to Dig a Ditch,’ but sadly it is not yet published, because David has been unable to spend time with me to check it over. He is either in Ethiopia, Haiti, Burma, - or at home forbidden to work for a few days because of health issues. Do you wonder? I am still praying the book will get published – Have you faith to pray with me? Meanwhile, we at Horizons have become a very small part of this wonderful story.

If you are interested in following our example, contact ‘Stand by Me’ at

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Catch the wave

We were booked in for a week at Nicholaston House, we were so disappointed when we heard that Adrian & Bridget  Plass, taking the theme ‘Catch the wave,’ was unable to come. We could have cancelled, but Nicholaston is a very special place, and we were confident God would still meet with us in his own way. In the heart of the Gower peninsular, described as one of Britain’s best kept secrets, this very special place is a secret which needs to be shared.

Overlooking the wide sweep of Oxwich Bay, its headlands curving around the quiet waters of the bay, picture for me the sense of peace and security I always experience when I come here. The old house, once a hotel, has become a haven of healing and hope for many. ‘In this house you will find peace,’ are the prophetic words written large in the porch, and I have always found them true.

Claimed by faith by workers with the Swansea City Mission, and trusting the God of abundance, it has been turned from a run-down hotel to a house of beauty and excellence. Each time I visit there is some further outreach, from the extensive conservatory, to the craft room and self-catering flats, the quiet garden and bird-watching facilities among others, and now the Celtic chapel, so conducive to prayer and worship.

No wonder almost all of us who had booked decided to go. After all, God is not dependant on special speakers to meet with us, though he so often delights to use them. Young and old, we gathered. I was grateful I was not the only one glad of some gentler walks along the Pennard cliffs, or over Worms Head, but others were game to walk up the Bryn to the highest point on the Gower and make the challenging clamber down from the house to the bay. We began and ended each day with devotions led by staff members when God was speaking into our lives, and he was also using times when we prayed or just gelled with one another.   

I think I felt like you surfers must feel sometimes when you quietly tread water. Though some of us had come out of turbulent waters and had great challenges ahead, I too am quietly waiting, watching and trusting I will be ready to ride the next wave that undoubtedly will arise.

Adrian’s challenge was to have been, ‘Catch the wave – Do we dare?’ Well – do I? Do

N.B. Do look up Nicholaston House. It was opened as a Christian centre specifically to help those who came to them for counselling, but Joel & I first went just for a holiday break. (B& B is an option, but their food is mouth wateringly good.) Then  I was able to join in a prayer week the first time I went alone, and now it is home from home for me, being just over an hour’s drive away.

Monday, 1 July 2013


I have always dreamed a lot. My husband said I lived a double life, but usually my dreams fade away as morning mist and I struggle in vain to hold on to them.

But occasionally I have a dream which seems to have some significance. Many years ago, I had been having night mares. I asked God to give me a happy dream. That night I dreamed I was dancing before the Lord. I awoke full of joy, and I believed from then on that one day I would do it in reality. Wonderfully this came true when I was in Ghana, but that is another story. 

This week I had a dream which did not fade away and somehow seemed to be very real. It concerned one of our precious ‘Bubbles’ as we call our toddlers group. Each of our children is loved and special, but this little lad won my heart when his mother suggested he gave Auntie Pauline a kiss. Willingly he trotted over, solemnly took my hand and kissed it.

In my dream he was appealing to me, his little eyes full of tears. ‘They say I am too little, but I really do love her. I am not too little.’

I assured him that he was not too little. I suggested he drew a picture to express his love and give it to the fortunate person. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind, the grief of this child at being told that he was too little.

Can you imagine my great joy when his mother told me that this little one had come to her with his great desire, not for some unknown person, but for the one worthy of all our love and devotion. Thank God, this wise mother knew he was not too little, and with great joy she helped him to express his love, and to welcome our Lord Jesus into his heart and life.

I had thought my dream might have been inspiration to write a romantic story, but it was to point me to the greatest love story of all time. What a privilege we have to teach the children that they are never too young. If they are not too young to sin, then they are not too young to need a Saviour. They can give as much as they understand of themselves to as much as they understand of the Lord.

A few weeks ago I was invited attend a service where a very special young man was to be ordained as an elder. Related to my husband, he was in his mother’s arms when we first moved to Porthcawl. A few years later he had gone out, with his older sister, to receive Jesus as his Saviour. We had no doubts about his older sister, but had he really understood? His consistent walk with his Saviour through these long years has proved that he had. What a very special invitation this was for me, to see his faithful life of Christian service acknowledged.    

It was because they had heard the children praising that the lame and the blind had come to Jesus in the temple and had been healed, and Jesus had had to remind the disapproving priests that ‘From the lips of children and infants God has ordained praise.’

No, they are not too little, and we older ones need to remember that unless we humble ourselves and have the faith of a little child that we will have no place in God’s kingdom.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Let's Face It

Faces are important. That is how we recognise each other. Many of us have difficulty in remembering names, but if, like me, you don’t always remember faces then you have a problem.

As each snow flake is different, so is each face. If we all looked alike, how difficult life would be – and yet, I wonder how many of us are satisfied with the face we have been given?

I don’t know if it is only the women who are always trying to improve their appearance. Often it seems the more beautiful they are the more money they spend on trying to add to it with various cosmetics or even on having a face lift.

I know of two, to me, very lovely ladies, who, as children were teased and bullied into thinking they were ugly. And yet beauty, at best, is fleeting.

Have you ever heard, ‘Pretty in cradle, plain at table,’ and the opposite? Those who appear plain as children often grow into the greatest beauties, and vice versa.

Horrified at seeing the ‘mug-shot’ I had taken for my passport, I wondered whether some make-up would help. I began to laugh. In my eighties, was I still hoping to be pretty? In the end I decided it was best not to draw attention to my visage.

I think God wants us to think more about the beauty of our inner man. If we are Christians then we should want to be like Jesus. It says of him, that his face was so marred that there was no beauty about him at all, and we know this prophecy was fulfilled when he underwent the agony of scourging and crucifixion.
And yet now he is lighting up the courts of heaven with his radiant beauty.

I once met a woman who was so vivacious, full of fun, she lit up the room, and yet her face had been terribly disfigured by a fire.

I’m sure we all have deep respect for Simon Weston, survivor of the Falklands War,  his face beyond recognition because of the terrible burns he sustained. He could so easily have stayed in a corner, unable to meet people, grieving for the handsome athlete he once was, but instead he is listed as an inspirational speaker, often appearing on television.

A pleasing adornment is the natural glow of good health, but even when health is gone we can still have that inward adornment that Peter speaks of, of a meek and quiet spirit.

David Spurdle, director of the charity ‘Stand by Me,’ received a letter from a little girl rescued from a terrible life of poverty and abuse. She wrote, ‘God is good looking.’ She knew what God was like from the faces of those who cared for her, in Jesus’s name. She saw the beauty of the Lord in their faces.

Her letter continues, ‘God loves the children, because they are beautiful  like him.’ 

So yes, let’s make the best of the face God has given us, but let’s enjoy the wonderful relationship that Moses had, in being able to talk face to face with God. After all, Jesus experienced the terrible pain of having his Father turn his face away from him, that we might be able to enter in and live day by day in God’s presence. David prayed, May the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.

May we all have the confidence of that little girl, that we are beautiful to our heavenly Father.

Friday, 19 April 2013


Asked to write a review for Helena’s book, with a view to getting it published, I thought I would begin with you, who not only read but encourage me in the writing of my blog. Maybe there is someone you know who would be interested in reading this book?
Why not ask for it at your local library? They would order it for you and then it is on their shelves for others to borrow.
So, here is my review of Helena’s book.
Insight into Child and Adult Bullying
‘Insight into Child and Adult Bullying', by Helena Wilkinson. Published by CWR. This book is one of the Waverley Abbey Insight Series, and should be made available as a resource for anyone with a heart for hurting people.

Bullying is a painful subject, but I was delighted to be asked to review this book. I had been horrified, as I read of Helena’s own experience of physical and emotional bullying when, as a small girl, she was sent to boarding school; bullying which left her struggling with eating disorders and which could well have caused her death.  But God has delivered her and raised her up so that for many years she has had a ministry to others who have been suffering in similar ways.

‘Couldn’t something be done to prevent a recurrence of such terrible bullying?’ I had asked Helena. Surely she was equipped to take up such a crusade? It was then she told me she was working on this book. She has put years of study, research, and prayer too into its writing, and I pray it will become recognised and widely used as a helpful resource for those who may be coming alongside those suffering from bullying, or even those still struggling with this painful situation or who need healing from past memories.’
This is a book every one of us would do well to read, though it is necessarily a painful subject. Helena looks at bullying in school, work, church and relationships and addresses why people are targeted and why bullies bully. Not many of us have to face Goliaths, as David did, but the enemy is always out to undermine our confidence and in our own battles and those of others, especially our children, we need to know who we are in Christ, and that the Lord of Hosts is with us.      
Thanks, my Blog-reader. Please do let me know if you can help me to spread this word abroad.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Why didn’t I ask?

I had been into the school to take an assembly. I love the story of Joseph, how his brothers had planned evil against him and God turned it all to good. So now I had a free hour to do my shopping.

I had parked on the side of the drive in, as all the parking spaces were full. Yes, there was room to pass me. So now I drove around, only to find the way out was blocked. My free hour was being eroded as I tried to turn in a confined space.

I knew I could have run back in and asked for help. The obliging head has got me out of a predicament before. All I had to do was ask. So, why didn’t I?

Someone had complimented me the other day on my humility. That is a dangerous thing to do. After all, it would be awful if I took pride in being humble, wouldn’t it?
And maybe what appears as humility is just lack of confidence.

So now, why didn’t I go and ask for help? I confess. Yes, it was pride, pure and simple. They were already laughing that Mrs Lewis has lost the Mediterranean. (all I’d lost was a blue flash card for when we made the classroom into a map, not the entire sea.) So now they would be laughing at these hopeless women drivers. So no, I didn’t go and ask for help. Somehow I could do this.

I would bump the car up over the verge and squeeze past by driving on the grass.

Oh! You should have seen me! The curb was steeper that I thought and the grass it protected soggy from so much rain that I found I had landed in a bog. I thought I was back in New Guinea. My wheels were spinning, mud being splattered all over my lovely shiny car.

So in the end I had to ask. It took the head master and every man jack on the staff to get me back on the road.

I hope I will learn this lesson, to ask before I get deeper into trouble. We all need help, and especially from God. Maybe the trouble hasn’t come yet? But if or when it does, let’s take David’s advice, who said, ‘This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and delivered him from all his fears.’

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

A Tree Felled

I think there are few sights sadder than a forest decimated by the woodcutter’s axe.  Each tree is beautiful, and sometimes the time comes when it has to be cut down, but it is rarely without some sadness.

In our beautiful land of Wales, many chapels have had to be closed, and this too has not happened without much sadness, and as in any bereavement we have to grieve, but also open our hearts to God to allow Him to bring  healing.

I have a dear friend, a farmer’s wife, who for years struggled to keep her chapel open, but eventually the axe fell and she is grieving and hurt. In praying for her I have been recalling my own experience and felt that I should share it, not just with her, but with you, my faithful blog-readers.

A tree had been planted in Porthcawl. Joel’s father had helped in the planting, and so Joel, retired, felt  called to help to build up the work.

The tree was struggling. ‘Pot bound’, Joel said, to mix my metaphors, but there was growth, and fruit. However, the great Gardener allowed the woodcutter not just to prune, but to cut it right down.

We were heart broken, but thank God were able to bring our hurt to the one who binds  up broken hearts. The Lord showed us a picture of a tree but right down to the stump, but out of that stump came a strong bough.

Comforted in measure, we attended Cornelly Apostolic Church, but had many opportunities to minister in other struggling churches; then, shortly before my husband’s sudden and unexpected death, God spoke to us that now was the time to build again in Porthcawl. Joel was full of faith. Almost his last words were, ‘I believe God is going to do great things.’

Soon after his death I heard that Brackla were planning a church plant in Porthcawl. I am privileged to have been involved in Grace Community Church and believe that this is the strong bough God had shown us.

We have just had our third ‘Church Away Weekend.’ From tiny babies, through to every age, I was the oldest, and was thoroughly spoiled.
But the wonderful thing for me was that the one who had the painful duty of wielding the axe was now with us as minister for the weekend, gently nurturing new growth, and strengthening God’s planting.

How happy I am that Tom & Lorraine have been able to see all that God is doing, but also that there had been healing of hearts and relationship in the long years in between; those years when we had not understood why God had allowed this to happen but had been able to trust Him in it all, and had allowed him to keep us sweet.

Thank God for Wild Goose Lodge, by the canal in Slimbridge; for Tom & Lorraine Stables who ministered to us in so many ways, and that God Himself came among us to bless and speak to each one of us.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Bible Explorer

Asked to write something about Bible Explorer, I thought I should first tell you how it was the doors are open for me to teach in our local schools.

I thought I had gone into teaching because I didn’t have confidence to do anything else. Surely it would be less daunting to deal with children? But children too can be scary, especially on mass.

Teaching in London’s tough East End, God asked me to love these needy children for him. I wasn’t a very good disciplinarian, but God did love them through me and lives were changed. Somehow along the line I realised it was God who had called met to teach.  In a remote village on a mountain in Papua New Guinea, I read the verse in Hebrews, ‘the children God has given me,’ and knew that, though spoken of Jesus, it was also God’s word to me.

After my adventures abroad and five years in UK as  a pastor’s wife, we retired to  Porthcawl. There were a few young families in our close and I felt I had a responsibility to these children. Our plans to rent a hall for a children’s club fell through, but then God put a key in my hands. My first book, the High Hill, had been published. Advised to promote our own books, I sent a copy into each of our four primary schools, offering to speak to the children about it.  I went on from there to taking assemblies, always using the Bible, the ‘world’s best seller’ as my source.

When I heard of ‘Bible Explorer,’ a course for 10 & 11 years olds, which traces through the Bible stories, beginning with the story of creation, and leading on to the death and resurrection of Jesus and the spread of the Gospel to all the world, I felt all my previous years of experience had qualified me to teach this. I wasn’t free to go away to train at that time, but a few months later, not only had my husband died, leaving me with more time on my hands, but Chris Thomas had taken over responsibility for the work in Wales.

She arranged five days of intensive training, at the end of which I had learned the 77 hand signs which enable us to trace through the significant people, places and stories we teach as we travel through the Bible. And if you think you couldn’t do that, I thought so too, but God enables me, and he will you too of you will step out in faith.

Bible Explorer is written to fit in with the school’s syllabus, and the Old Testament lessons are accepted in Jewish and even Muslim schools too, since they too accept the bible as a Holy book.  

Primarily, Bible Explorer is fun. The children vie with each other to dress up as Abraham, or one of the kings. You will even get a reluctant Boaz to stand under the canopy to marry Ruth, and of course Joshua, and the kings too, are very happy to have a plastic sword. I have two blue shiny cloths which we lift up to allow the Isrealites to cross the Red Sea, letting them drop on poor old Pharoah and his gang, while my gold cloths are not only for the kings, and Queen Esther too, but draped over a cardboard box, with long carrying sticks and a lot of imagination, becomes the Ark, carried around the walls of Jericho. I have a dear little lamb which, sadly has to be killed so that the angel of death passes over the houses of the Israelites, and a lovely rag doll who not only passes for Baby Ishmael, Isaac, and Samuel too, but only just escapes being cut in two by King Solomon’s guard. 

Oh yes, Bible Explorer is fun. And in all the fun the children are learning, not only the wonderful Bible stories, but that there is a God who is there for us too.

Pray the schools will remain open for us to teach this wonderful course; pray for those who teach it, yes, and listen; maybe God will call you to step through this open door of opportunity.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Daddy, My Daddy

I was greatly helped in my prayer life after reading Rosalind Rinker’s book, ‘Conversational Prayer.’ I learned to put a chair for Jesus ( for we only know what God is like through Jesus) and imagine him sitting there. Now I can tell him all about my troubles, or desires, and then imagine what he replies. God uses my imagination, and my knowledge of his word, and I find that he has indeed spoken to me.

I was sharing this with some women, and when I said how sometimes I would kneel at God’s feet, placing my hands in his, a woman told me ‘I always picture myself climbing into his lap.’

I pondered on this for a long time. How was it that I had never dared to think of God in this way? Was it because I had never been able to come to my own father in this way? Yes, he was a good dad, and I’m sure he loved me, but because he had bad nerves and an unpredictable temper, my childhood trust was replaced by fear.

While in Ghana I was told, It is no use preaching about the fatherhood of God, for many do not even know who their father is. (Sadly, not just in Ghana)
I could not accept this. Jesus told us to say, ‘Our Father.’ He died so we might know this wonderful relationship of a child reconciled to his father. He wants every one of us, you and me included, to know that we can run to him, climb on his knee and know his arms around us; his words of comfort whispered into our hearts.

I’m glad I am not too old to go on learning. God has given us a minister who has his own special ‘Sermon Illustrator’. Having preached on the fatherhood of God, and explaining how we have been adopted into his family through the sacrifice of his own Son Jesus, he thought he had closed the service, but no. His own little boy, released from sitting with his mother, ran joyously up the aisle, into his father’s arms crying ‘Daddy, my Daddy.’  

That, to me, was the most poignant part of the sermon.

There was another occasion. Again we were being taught of God’s forgiveness and how he has reconciled us to himself and once again, as soon as ‘Daddy’ had sat down there was his son on his lap. I guess he knew he had sometimes been naughty, but there was not a doubt in his heart that he was loved without any reservations.

‘Therefore we joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the atonement.’

This special ‘Sermon Illustrator’ has been teaching me that that is how God wants me to come to him. Whatever our past experience of fatherhood, and I know there are many who have suffered neglect, and abuse too, in so many ways, God is able to heal us and enable us to find perfect fatherhood in our God.

A friend, blessed with many children and grandchildren, was disturbed when he first heard of his son’s plan to adopt. It wouldn’t be the same.

No, it wasn’t the same. Even before he saw this special little girl he said he was falling in love with her in his heart.  Of all his very special grandchildren, he finds he has the closest relationship with this one, now a beautiful teen-ager. This to me is another wonderful sermon illustration of the miracle of our adoption into God’s family.

Perhaps it is because he was late in arriving in his parent’s hearts and home that my first little ‘Sermon Illustrator’ has such a very special joy in his relationship with them. And may it be so with us. Whatever we lacked as children, God can bring us healing and wholeness as we find our security in our relationship with our wonderful Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A Happy New Year

How are you feeling about facing this New Year? I recall a time when my heart was filled with dread.  Staying with a friend at a remote mission station  in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, we were invited to see in the New Year with  friends on the government station.

I was shortly to move to an even more remote place, and what to me was worse, there was no immediate prospect of having my own house. My heart filled with dread, if only we could have prayed as we entered the New Year, but this was far from their thoughts.

I should have remembered the wonderful words our then King, George VI, read to us in his Christmas  speech. It was 1939, and we were at war with Germany. –It was only recently that I heard that it was his daughter, now our Queen who had read it in the Times and passed it on to her father.

‘And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’  (M. Louis Haskins)
Looking back, I realise how foolish were my fears. As it turned out, I had the choice of two houses all to myself. I would have had more cause to be scared had I known what was going to happen; for the one single colleague had a breakdown and was sent home while the family on leave was unable to return as planned. But God was with me and gave me grace to face that lonely situation.

Before arriving in New Guinea He had reminded me that He was pledged to come with me and that I would be able to turn to him at all times, as to a friend alongside. And he was, and always is and will be faithful. * and that is a promise for you too. Read Hebrews 13:5-6.

I don’t worry now about seeing in the New Year, prayer or none. I go to bed when I am tired, knowing God will only give me one day at a time and each day will be filled with his blessings.

So to you my faithful Blog readers, I trust you too will be able to face the future with confidence and joy, your hand in God’s. Whatever the future holds, he will take us through and turn it all to good.

A happy New Year.