“Streams in the Desert” – Spirit Soaking

Sometimes all we want to do is sit with Father God and let Him tell us how much He loves us…
Pauline will be leading another Spirit Soaking event on Saturday 11th June, from 10-12, in the sanctuary.

SPIRIT SOAKING ~ 10:00-12:00, Saturday 11 June 2022, SSCB

Again, this will be a time where we meet together to let Holy Spirit encourage and refresh us. The session will begin with a short, guided reflection to help us focus on God. We’ll then spend time both in small groups and alone, listening to what Holy Spirit may be saying to us and praying for each other. Numbers will be small so that the morning is as relaxed as possible, and there will be a break for beverages and cake.
As always, if you’re thinking you have to be “super-spiritual” to take part, this is not the case! You can sign up via the SSCB website or speak to Pauline or to Jacqueline Young.
Looking forward to welcoming you on 11th June!

[from Pauline Dalrymple]

Spirit Soaking Registration Form

Spirit Soaking - "Streams in the desert" is an opportunity to be refreshed by the Holy Spirit, to be refilled with the love, grace and power of God in a safe, church family setting. It is run by Pauline Dalrymple, one of our church family. Spaces are limited (only 15 people at a time), therefore it is recommended to register. We plan to repeat the event in the future, about once every three months. Our next Spirit Soaking event will be at 10:00 -12:00 on Saturday, 11 June 2022 at SSCB.
Name(Required)
Email(Required)

Recent Posts

Summer Day of Prayer for Revival

Days of Prayer have been refreshing blessings in our church family for many years, now. We give thanks to God that after the pandemic now we can be back in person in the church for a Day of Prayer. Our Summer Day of Prayer is from 10:00 to 22:00 on Saturday 28 May in the New Prayer Room!

Summer Day of Prayer 10:00 – 22:00, Saturday 28 May 2022

Our New Prayer Room is compact and cosy, welcoming and ready for prayer warriors to fill it and decorate if with their prayers! It is what was known as the Vestry! Now it is the home base and powerhouse of Prayer at SSCB!

We are inviting you to make good use of this space and opportunity to come into the presence of God Almighty, our Heavenly Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ with your prayers, devotion, and love.

Specifically, we invite you to pray for revival! Make this day, 28 May a day of prayer and fasting for revival. Pray and fast as the Lord and His Spirit leads you. Make it the beginning of your committed prayers and fasting for Revival!

Why should you pray for revival?

Revival is an in-breaking of God’s kingdom into our broken and suffering world with the grace, mercy and love of God and reorders our lives, reorders our church, and transforms the world so it will be never the same again! Revival humbles many and saves many! That’s why you should pray for revival! Here are some suggestions how to pray and what to pray for. These are only a few, add your owns as the Spirit leads you.

  • Pray for revival, pray for God’s power to be manifest around us and in us, making us faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8)! We, humans have got power and ability to do great things, achieve amazing feats, but our power and abilities have been corrupted by sinfulness and we can never achieve and do what God can do in the world! Pray for Holy Spirit to be poured out in greater measure into your life, into our church family!
  • Pray for revival, pray for a great awakening (Acts 3:19-20). We have become so sleepy towards God, not just towards sermons! Pray to be awakened, refreshed to the full majesty and glory of God, as Isaiah did (Isaiah 6:1-8)!
  • Pray for revival, pray for the salvation of people around you, in your home, workplace, in our schools, hospitals, police stations, shops, neighbourhood, and not forgetting the church! A revived church is noticed by others, and they will ask the questions: What does this mean? What shall we do? (Acts 2:12; 2:37), which brings them to faith in Jesus! Pray that Jesus will be lifted up in our lives as a church family, He will be honoured, and people will be drawn to him!
  • Pray for revival with expectancy! Trust and expect God hearing you and acting in immeasurable might in response to your prayer (Ephesians 3:20)! Don’t pray for God to help us in our work but pray that He will pour out his Holy Spirit immeasurably greater than we can imagine, to do His work in us!
  • Plead with the Lord in your prayers, persist, don’t give up but pray for revival consistently (Luke 11:5-13). Ask God to do once more what you read about in Scripture! Pray and ask Him to be faithful to His great Name! Ask the Lord: Will you do this again? Glorify your name among us, in our city once more! Do it for the sake of Christ!
  • Wait for the Lord! Don’t just ask Him but wait and listen. Wait for His timing, and action, and when He moves, you must move also! Listen, obey, and act as He moves you by His Spirit (Acts 2:1-12)!
  • Pray for revival because God is still God! He is our God, and he alone is our hope! The world around us seems to fall apart, sin is powerful, evil seems to be winning. But our hope and trust are in God Almighty! He is still God! And nothing can move Him! Jesus is alive and He is on the throne in heaven and has authority over heaven and earth, and He will not be moved from there! He is your hope, our hope! Pray with hope for revival!
  • Pray for revival with humble, repentant heart! Ask God, what is hindering Him and His purposes in your own life? What hinders Him moving in power in our church family? What hinders Him to move in might and grace in the church in Scotland? What hinders Him to move in saving grace in our land and nation? Ask Him what do we need to change, cleanse, purify in our lives, in our church family life, in your own life?  And when He answers, respond to Him in repentance and let Him move the hindrances, obstacles away! ‘Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.’ (Acts 3:19-20).

So, make time and come and pray and fast! Book a time period on the sign-up sheet below and: Pray with passion! Pray with humility! Pray with urgency! Pray with expectancy! Pray without ceasing! Come and pray for Revival! For the only way to blot out evil, sin, and darkness in your own heart, in the church, and the world is letting the glory of God shining forth in power! Come Lord Jesus!

[from GV, inspired by and based on David McLemore: Why Your Church Should Pray for Revival]

Sorry. This form is no longer available.

Recent Posts

What is Faith?

At Lunch Club this month, I spoke about what faith is.

I had been wondering where Jeremiah found his resilience to keep going back to the people of Judah to tell them that they had turned their back on God – again – and bad things were going to happen – again – unless they turned back to Him – again!

And it brought me to thinking about FAITH.  It can only have been the strongest, the most resilient, the most trusting faith that carried Jeremiah through.

But what is faith?

As many of you know, I wasn’t a Christian for many years of my life.  In fact, I still have more years behind me as a non-Christian than years as a Christian.  But going on an Alpha Course changed everything for me.  And one of the things that is brilliant about Alpha is that they tell amazing stories to make complex ideas more simple.  I wonder where they got that idea from?

One of the sessions was called ‘How can I have faith’ – and I am going to shamelessly plagiarise a story here that they use to illustrate faith.

The story is about a man called Charles Blondin.

He was a famous American tightrope walker and acrobat in the nineteenth century.  He drew large crowds to watch him, particularly when he started crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope.  His act began with a relatively simple crossing using a balancing pole – but his crossings became more and more complex and theatrical – and drew ever bigger crowds.

There is the story of an occasion when our royal family were in the US and went to watch him perform. He started with his simple crossing with the balancing pole.  Then he crossed the tightrope on stilts, then blindfolded; next he stopped halfway to cook and eat an omelette. He then wheeled a wheelbarrow from one side to the other as the crowd cheered. He put a sack of potatoes into the wheelbarrow and wheeled that across. The crowd cheered louder.

Then he approached the royal party and asked the Duke of Newcastle, ‘Do you believe that I could take a man across the tightrope in this wheelbarrow?’

‘Yes, I do,’ said the Duke. ‘Hop in!’ replied Blondin. The crowd fell silent.  The Duke of Newcastle would not accept his challenge.

It was then that Blondin posed the question of the crowd – “Who will get in the wheelbarrow?”

No one was willing to volunteer.

Eventually, an old woman stepped out of the crowd and climbed into the wheelbarrow. Blondin wheeled her all the way across and all the way back. The old woman was Blondin’s mum, the only person willing to put her life in his hands.

The story of Charles Blondin paints a real-life picture of what faith actually is. The crowd had watched his daring feats. They said they believed, but their actions proved they still thought it was all too risky.

Faith is trusting in God.

When I first heard this, it took my breath away – could I get in the wheelbarrow?  What were the risks of getting in?  And more importantly, what were the risks of not getting in?

Then and now, I chose the wheelbarrow and have literally never regretted that decision in the years since, though it changed my life in all sorts of ways I would not have imagined then.

What have you chosen?  And what do you choose today?

[from Alison Franks]

Recent Posts

Written Word: 7. Samuel and Kings

In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. (2 Samuel 11:14)

Through one piece of writing, David ensured the death of one of his most trusted officers. David (already married to seven women, from Michal to Eglah) wanted Bathsheba (already married to Uriah). He arranged Uriah’s death and married her. It may be appropriate to remember Deuteronomy 17:17’s command to kings from a couple of articles ago: “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.” Be careful of the power of writing. It can seal someone’s fate, for worse and for better.

In both 1 Kings and 2 Kings, there are various stories of, appropriately enough, kings. The focus is on those specific stories, but we are not to lose sight of the fact that the kings did many other things besides – these acts did not define them entirely. We are told in each instance that the rest of the acts of [insert name of king] are written in [insert name of book]. The invitation is there – go and research this person and his deeds; see what is recorded and note the evidence. In the same way, we can cross-refer when tracing evidence. We have already seen how Erastus is named in Acts as being an Aedile in Corinth, and how cross-referencing evidence was found engraved on paving slabs unearthed in Corinth in 1929. 

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. In those letters she wrote: “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them bring charges that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.” (1 Kings 21:8-10)

Ahab wants Naboth’s vineyard but Naboth refuses to exchange or sell. Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, says she will get the vineyard for him. She writes letters in Ahab’s name that culminates in Naboth’s death with Ahab grabbing the vineyard. There is little that Naboth could have done about this: the letters were in the king’s name and sealed with his seal – how would Naboth know that they had been written without Ahab’s knowledge. But Ahab was quick enough to take advantage and claim the vineyard. The Lord sent Elijah to call him out. Despite behaving in the ‘vilest manner’ Ahab knew when he had been found out and humbled himself in remorse, as a result of which the hand of punishment was stayed. There is a lesson there that the spoken word of God trumps even the written command of a king.

The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” (2 Kings 23:21)

Josiah was unlike Ahab. As he honoured God, so he found himself led to honour God further. And this led to Josiah being blessed. After reading the Lord’s command and then celebrating the Passover (which had not happened for many years) he was emboldened enough to rid his kingdom of mediums, spiritists, idols, gods and other ‘detestable things’ until eventually we are told “neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did” and (crucially) that he did so “with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength” (v25). Remember with all your ‘muchness’? What a compliment to be remembered for that! Write that on your heart.

[from Timothy Pitt]

Recent Posts

A Visit to La Jolla Christian Fellowship

Our Session Clerk, Tim, recently visited our brothers and sisters at La Jolla Christian Fellowship, San Diego. Here is His account of his adventures over the pond.

What went before: Many of you know Adam Stadtmiller already. He is the Senior Pastor at La Jolla Christian Fellowship (LJCF) in San Diego, USA. He has worshiped with us in Edinburgh a few times. Last October, he and Pastor Sean ran a Holy Spirit Workshop with us and sat in on a Kirk Session meeting.

Setting the Journey: I had a week of annual leave to use or lose. I had a standing invitation from LJCF (we all do!) and my lovely wife’s blessing for me to enjoy a week’s holiday in the sunshine. So off I went to San Diego.

First Impressions: The building is similar to ours: old wooden panelling and pews (light brown, not our dark stain), the rear ones replaced by a foyer and glass wall. And the LJCF church family themselves? They are us! I had a strong sense of not just a warm welcome, but of being amongst family. It wasn’t a smothering welcome, but a familiar one of genuine affection; as if we had always known each other even though some of us had only just met. It was lovely to meet people who have been praying for us and our church.

The First Sunday: I positively revelled in praising and adoring our Saviour, Jesus, surrounded by this family, drinking in new yet familiar surroundings. I have watched their services on-line for some years, choosing a pew at the back of their church and gradually being encouraged to move forward as I became more involved (on-line Scripture readings and devotionals for them). Now I was in that seat near the front, joining them in person as we praised God. Life is good! I delivered our gift – a communion cloth in Church tartan with a verse that was supposed just to represent our thrill at the link with LJCF, but which spoke a deeper note to them as it was the very verse they had chosen this year as part of a ‘unity response’ to civil unrest in the USA last year. The verse is at the end of this article. That alignment was an astonishing moment of blessing.

Through the Week: I sat in on a staff training day. Bathed in prayer and worship (the praise band leader was part of the training, so of course we had some praise songs!), we focussed on effective and efficient working – what must happen each week, what ideally happens and what (even though it has just ‘always been done’) is actually a bonus extra and should not be a priority. We had a Holy Spirit Workshop, similar to the one we held at SSCB. It was an amazing evening – the praise music not just an outpouring of worship but helping to set the tone. People came forward for prayer, connected with Holy Spirit, receiving healing, comfort and encouragement. Not a dry eye (of joy!) in the house.

The Second Sunday: Adam invited me to preach as it (a) allowed a different insight into the Word of God and (b) further introduced SSCB to LJCF. Despite the preaching, there was an amazing response of fellowship and simple interest in us. Prayer works, and I saw that to Pray Across the Pond yielded so many positive results beyond our own immediate requests of God.

The Follow-up: LJCF want to come and visit, and a group is looking at coming over, perhaps at the start of Advent. Are you interested? Can you help welcome them? They really are interested in us. They support us. They pray for us. They love us. Let’s return that through our own support, prayer and love. In unity, loving Jesus.

“How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
[from Timothy Pitt]

What is Faith?

At Lunch Club this month, I spoke about what faith is. I had been wondering where Jeremiah found his resilience

Read More »

Written Word: 6. Joshua

Appoint three men from each tribe. I will send them out to make a survey of the land and to write a description of it, according to the inheritance of each. Then they will return to me. (Joshua 18:4)

Joshua had led the Israelites into the Promised Land. They had conquered the land and most of it had been divided and claimed by the tribes of Israel. But some land had still not been taken; seven tribes had not yet claimed their allotted land and received their inheritance. In truth, they had become accustomed to resting where they were and did not push on to complete God’s mission for them. Joshua assembled all the Israelites and spoke out. He asked how long they would just wait, not even beginning to take possession of the land the Lord had given them.

Perhaps this is an instruction to us today that the Word of God to us is not necessarily “This is what I want for you … and here it is on a plate.” Perhaps, rather, “This is what I want for you … now are you prepared for your actions to show your faith in my plan for you? Are you prepared to act; to claim what I have made ready for you?”

Joshua was perhaps alert to the likely response of a people who had grown accustomed to inactivity: the active response may not be whole-hearted. Have you ever been tempted to short-cut? To take a guess, even an educated one, and then present it as if it is your personal experience? Joshua wanted them to claim ownership of the land and to claim ownership of its Godly provenance. So he instructed them to appoint representatives who would walk the boundaries and survey it, writing it all down so that there would be no doubt or argument. No person or tribe could guess at their land boundary and claim, even innocently, what they were not entitled.

The people would, through their writing, provide evidence that they had carried out the task and actually seen the land in order to claim it; seen and claimed their own land and not another tribe’s.

And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. (Joshua 24:26)

After the land was allotted, Joshua summarised the Israelites’ history, showing God was always there with them. He asked them to decide if they followed the gods of the Egyptians they had left behind, the gods of the Amorites whose land they had taken over, or God, who was – and is – with them. He made that famous statement: “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”(Joshua 24:15). They reaffirmed their choice and promise to serve God, so Joshua made a covenant for them, reaffirming decrees and laws: you don’t just follow God in name only. God has given a way to live, and this is the way to be followed. We know that Jesus is the way (and the truth and the life). The Israelites chose the way of God. And it was important for them that, having made this choice, they would hold each other accountable to this choice. It really mattered to them that they had made this covenant, this promise renewed. So it was written down, and a stone memorial was set up as a witness to the promise. The law was written by Joshua and written in stone for us all. Salvation was won by Jesus and written in love of us all. Write that on your heart.

[from Timothy Pitt]

What is Faith?

At Lunch Club this month, I spoke about what faith is. I had been wondering where Jeremiah found his resilience

Read More »

Revival Challenge

Lord, I have heard of your fame;
    I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
    in our time make them known;
    in wrath remember mercy.
” Habakkuk 3:2

As we continued our sermon series ‘Shaping Our Story’ last Lord’s Day, we reflected, with the help of Isaiah 6:1-8, on how a revival starts. Isaiah saw and personally experienced the awesomeness, holiness, and glory of God.

In Scripture we find countless stories about the majesty and greatness of God, the power and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the sweeping, purging might of the Holy Spirit transforming lives and changing history. Habakkuk, living and prophesying about a century after Isaiah, longed to have the experience and vision of Isaiah in his own time. This was not a selfish desire, just for himself, but for the people of God.

When we read passages like Isaiah 6, we also kindle similar yearnings like Habakkuk to see God acting mightily in our lives as he did in the past when He stirred up people and His church to revival. When we hear of revivals of the past or at other parts of the world we long to be par to it, hungering for God’s presence, peace in our hearts and in our world, thirsting for His justice, and just having more of God in our lives.

We need more of God in our lives and in the church! But how can one start a revival? How can I be part of it, or experience it? It is not us who start a revival! It is the Lord God Almighty! He starts it and completes it! But He never forces it upon you or on His church! He moves when His people seek His face and ask for revival! In His time he responds to their prayer!

That’s how it began on the Isle of Lewis and that’s what we saw in Isaiah 6. At a time of crisis God’s people called out to Him. God revealed Himself in fullness and Isaiah met Him as He was, in His holiness, glory, and might. In the presence of holy God Isaiah met himself as he, Isaiah was, sinful and unclean, just like the people among whom he lived! In his brokenness and repentance, he met God full of mercy, his guilt was taken away and his sin was atoned for! Being revived Isaiah was ready and willing to go and meet God’s people with God’s message for revival, spreading it across the land.

When we long for revival the revival must start with us before it will spread across the land.

 

When we long for revival the revival must start with us before it will spread across the land. The question is, are you willing to get it rolling? Do you want revival here at SSCB? Will you pray for revival? Will you ask God to revive you first, then His people here at SSCB, and across the city and beyond? Will you pray as Isaiah and Habakkuk did? Will you pray as the old, housebound sisters prayed at Barvas, Isle of Lewis! Will you pray for revival as the minister and the elders, challenged by those sisters, did?

I challenge you to pray and fast for revival. Pray that God will send His Holy Spirit to cleanse us, wash us clean, making us ready and strong for His service. Pray that Holy Spirit will revive our church family, visit us with His fire and power. Pray for more of God in your life, in our church, in our community and city!

If you heard of God’s fame and you stand in awe of His deeds of the past – will you pray that He will renew them in our day?

[from GV]

What is Faith?

At Lunch Club this month, I spoke about what faith is. I had been wondering where Jeremiah found his resilience

Read More »

Enviro-Lent Review

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted. John 6:12

The Enviro Lent challenge is over – for this year!  What a blessing to try new things to care for God’s creation.  Now the challenges are over, here are what the participants thought.

Sholto

Sholto attempted to take on all the challenges! “Most of the challenges are what I try to do anyway, but this stopped me getting complacent, it made me keep plugging away at making small changes. Except the meat-free, I’m an unashamed carnivore, so that was the hardest one for me, but for ethical and practical reasons I wanted to try it out. Individually we can’t make a huge difference, but collectively all our small changes make a huge difference. It’s like John Lennon said – imagine – well imagine all we can do to help our planet. It’s easy if you try.” 

Diana

“At first glance eating local seemed a fairly straightforward challenge and on the whole it was. Shopping locally and visiting local farm shops was interesting.  What we were finding is that we became aware of some of the other challenges facing us.  I think we are now more aware of where our food comes from, where we can buy loose fruit and vegetables, and how we can support local shops.”

Cat

“A small group decided that we would attempt to go through the whole of Lent without buying anything new. Food, medicines, and second-hand purchases were allowed. For me it was a fabulous conversation piece, I was able to tell people what I was doing and why.”

Emma

Emma attempted to reduce household energy use. “It was amazing to see how normal it became to use less energy and be more conscious of what we were using and why. I found it inspiring to remember even little changes could honour the Lord and his planet.”

Grant

Grant led the group attempting to ditch single use plastics. “Our group was very mixed from those who had already gone some way along this journey to those of us who were just taking our first baby steps. We now have the pleasure of – fresh milk delivered to our door; homemade yoghurt; taking tupperware to the supermarket for our fish and meat.  We now regularly visit the Refillery in Corstorphine which is excellent.  There were some nuts we failed to crack, but every little helps. We are thankful that we shared this experience and hopefully made some permanent changes.”

Elspeth

“Folk who joined the meat-free challenge had a varied time. Whilst some found that it was hard to make vegetables interesting, others found that simply cutting down meat meals or bulking up their standard dishes was more veg successful. A number agreed that it was an achievable lifestyle step in their contribution towards fighting the climate emergency.”

Pray

Father God, we give thanks for our church family who participated in Enviro-Lent.  Help us to remember this world is Your creation and we are trusted to care for it. Show us how You wish us to do this. In Jesus name. Amen.

Keep an eye on E-pistle for updates on All Things Eco and their progress. If you have any comments or queries please email eco@comelybankchurch.com

[from the Eco Group]

What is Faith?

At Lunch Club this month, I spoke about what faith is. I had been wondering where Jeremiah found his resilience

Read More »

Written Word: 5. Deuteronomy

You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:9)

Write them, show them in public, understand them and claim them as your own. But what are ‘they’? Verse 4 onwards reveals this is the Sh’ma, a prayer to be recited daily. It begins “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad or the LORD our (plural ‘us’) God (plural ‘God’) is one God, the LORD: our Lord is Father, Son and Holy Spirit; three in one. It says we are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and strength (all our muchness!), to impress these commandments on our children, talk about them in daily conversation, and write them on our door-frames and gates. Never forget; never stop being reminded.

“Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.” (Deuteronomy 17:18)

Thrones and kingdoms? Some 400 years before Saul was crowned, it was recorded (in Deuteronomy 17:14) that the people would call for a king:When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, ‘Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,’ (Deuteronomy 17:14). The king was told expressly how to behave, how to reign. He must not take many wives, he must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. And when on his throne, he was to write out his copy of that law. Again: learn it, understand it; take ownership of it. Saul and all the other kings failed. But they can’t say they didn’t know. Either follow God or disobey Him – it is your responsibility to choose.

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favour in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, (Deuteronomy 24:1)

Everyone must take responsibility. In those days, only the man had the power to divorce, but he was commanded not to abuse that power. A man should not just evict her, ignoring that they were ever married. He would have to take responsibility for the act, providing the certificate, telling the story. Sadly, man abused the power, ducked the responsibility and failed to love woman as he was commanded.

So it shall be on the day when you cross the Jordan to the land which the Lord your God gives you, that you shall set up for yourself large stones and coat them with lime and write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over, so that you may enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you. (Deuteronomy 27:2-3)

Make an effort to remember the events of your life; of God being present with you. Make the effort of preparing stones and writing on them; a cairn memorial. Or do as Mary did many years later, and treasure them, pondering them in her heart. Remember, treasure and ponder all that God does for you. Write that on your heart.

[from Timothy Pitt]

What is Faith?

At Lunch Club this month, I spoke about what faith is. I had been wondering where Jeremiah found his resilience

Read More »

Believe

Last Lord’s Day we explored at our service what we see. Do we see things, people, the church as God sees them? We might see only scattered very dry bones without hope, and yet God sees there a Vast Army!

If you missed the service, I would love you to read prayerfully Ezekiel 37:1-10, and engage in the exercise here, please, befeor4 you would read on this post! Thank you. When you are done with the reading –perhaps you want to read it a few times, I often need to do that and find it helpful, myself– spend time to answer the following questions for your own personal benefit:

  • What do you see when you have an honest look at your church and community?
  • Do you need to be revived personally in order to have faith for the future?
  • Do you believe in God’s sovereignty and the power of His Word and Holy Spirit to revive a person, a church, a nation?
  • What ‘dry bones’ situations are in your life (church, community) where God’s life-giving Word needs to be prophesied into? Are you willing to do that?
  • Are you open to God’s calling and commissioning you to play your part in His Vast Army?

Thank you for engaging in the above exercise. Here is the reason I asked you to do this:

  • Did you find it easy to see things differently – to see things from God’s perspective?

Perhaps you did not. There is nothing wrong there. I doubt Ezekiel found it easy and natural to see a vast army instead of a valley of scattered dry bones!

This is the million-dollar question:What kind of ‘spectacles’ do I need to see things as God sees them?

Or to put it differently, what kind of vision do I need to have to see the world, people, the church as God sees them? The prescription for those special spectacles are to be found in the Bible.

In the story of ‘The Rising of Lazarus’ (John 11:1-44) Jesus makes a profound and encouraging statement: “‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’”

In this passage we find eight (!) examples for what it means to believe! The Bible does not give us an encyclopaedic definition of what BELIEVING means. Rather it reveals the dynamics of a believing life!

“To believe means that we do not expect anything from God that He did not promise us. But we are looking forward with great belief to everything He has promised us!” – Kálmán Cseri –

I love the description of Kálmán Cseri (a Hungarian pastor, who is in glory already): “To believe means that we do not expect anything from God that He did not promise us. But we are looking forward with great belief to everything He has promised us!” The Lord did not promise that we will not meet suffering in life, so I am not disappointed when it comes my way. But God has promised that the believer will remain in God’s presence even in the most adverse circumstances. He will not leave him/her or forsake him/her! (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5)

To believe means that whatever happens to me I turn to Jesus first.  When Lazarus got ill, his sisters sent for Jesus straight away: “Lord, the one you love is sick.” (John 11:3). Mary and Martha did not appeal to their or to Lazarus’ merits, but to Jesus’ love and completely entrusted into His grace and love the timing and the method of help!

To believe means I take seriously and accept what Jesus said – even if I find it hard to comprehend it with my mind, or it is not supported by my personal experiences so far.

Believing is an attitude, it is the basis of the life I live, the foundation of the things I do, the structure of the things I say. The one who believes sees things differently to those who don’t believe. Many of the people who were with Mary and Martha criticised Jesus, saying: “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (John 11:37). But Martha and Mary do what Jesus told them to do, even moving the stone from the tomb. The request does not seem to make much sense, as Lazarus has been dead for days, the decomposition of the body has begun and the smell must have been pretty bad (John 11:39-41), but they did it, nevertheless. They perceived it only afterwards why Jesus asked them to move the stone!

Believing means I stick with Jesus (I follow Him, obey Him, confess Him) even if I get into trouble because of this. The raised Lazarus became a living and walking testimony of Jesus’ divine power and identity. Therefore, the chief priests wanted to kill not only Jesus but Lazarus too (John 12:9-11). Living faith, true belief is, I share with Jesus in everything – in suffering here in this life, and in glory in His Kingdom.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)

To see things as God sees them you just need to believe in Him and the One He sent for your salvation: Jesus Christ, the living Lord!

[from GV]

What is Faith?

At Lunch Club this month, I spoke about what faith is. I had been wondering where Jeremiah found his resilience

Read More »