DAY 29: Thursday 16 April
Good morning all
Thanks for the many messages of appreciation for these daily emails – yes they do occupy many hours of my time each week but I enjoy putting them together. Whilst some of you are able to serve others in practical ways in these times, being pretty much confined to home it’s my way of trying to serve and bless others.
I’ve had messages of appreciation for the many hours spent putting together the daily messages. One of the messages also included – When Chapel services do eventually start up again, you won’t need to preach for at least a year!
Now I could take that to mean I can put my feet up for a year and not worry about preparing talks for the Chapel. OR did it imply that having read all your stuff every day for ??? weeks, we don’t really want to hear any more from you at the front of the Chapel for at least 12 months!
During this time of lockdown we can sometimes feel trapped, feeling isolated or stuck in a rut with each day's routine looking exactly the same. Maybe we feel that we're facing the problems and challenges of life on our own so we become discouraged and downhearted. But take heart because we certainly aren’t the first child of God to feel that way—nor will we be the last!
John Bunyan - The story is told of a church minister who came to visit John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, while Bunyan was in prison back in the seventeenth century. He said to Bunyan, "Friend, the Lord hath sent me with a message for thee and I have been half over England to find thee."
"Nay," Bunyan replied, "for had Lord sent thee to me, he would have directed thee directly here since I have dwelt in this prison the past twelve years and the Lord knoweth all time where I dwelt."
Bunyan understood that even though his circumstances were bleak, his Lord Jesus was totally aware of his trials and that was enough to sustain Bunyan in that prison cell for so long.
Prisons Come in Different Shapes - Jesus has promised He will be with us in our ‘prisons’. Some people may feel they are in a ‘prison’ of a hospital bed. They would love to get up and walk about but can’t. Even so, Jesus is there in that hospital room, care home, or bedroom, saying, “Be courageous. You are not alone - I am fully aware of your suffering.”
For some, it could be a prison cell of mourning following the loss of a loved one whilst for others it’s a financial prison feeling trapped by debt.
For many of us, perhaps ‘Stay at Home’ is our prison; our personality makes social distancing feel immensely restrictive compared to what we would normally be doing
Whatever our prison, Jesus is there with us now and He knows what lies ahead. Sometimes, ignorance can be bliss. Many times, it’s really a good thing that we don’t know everything that is swirling around us in both the supernatural and natural realm. God reveals to us as much as we need to know, when we need to know it. Not necessarily more and certainly not less, but just precisely what we need to know. Our troubles, though unexpected, never come as a surprise to God. If it is necessary for us to know something, it’s on a need-to-know basis and God will reveal what we need to know, when we need it. God knows, and that’s what really counts.
Quote from C. H. Spurgeon - The Lord knows all about your troubles before they come to you; he anticipates them by his tender foresight. Before Satan can draw the bow, the Preserver of men will put his beloved beyond the reach of the arrow. Before the weapon is forged in the furnace, and prepared on the anvil, he knows how to provide us with armour of proof which shall burn the edge of the sword and break the point of the spear.
During his final days on Earth, Jesus knew His departure was at hand, so He wanted to encourage His disciples. First, He warned them that they would face hardship and difficulty, but then He told them, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)
But suffering imprisonment can also result in blessing as the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian believers – (Philippians 1:12-14) Now I want you to know, brothers, that the things that happened to me have rather furthered the advancement of the gospel, so that my imprisonment has become known in the whole palace guard and to everyone else, and most of the brothers, having put their trust in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have even more courage to speak the word fearlessly.
MAKE YOU SMILE:
Two elderly couples were chatting together. One of the men asked the other, "Fred, how was your visit to the memory clinic last month?"
"Outstanding - they taught us some of the latest techniques for remembering things. It was great".
"What’s the name of this clinic?" asked the other man.
Fred's mind went blank.
Then he smiled and asked, "What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?"
He turned to his wife - "Rose, what’s the name of that memory clinic?"