DAY 98: Wednesday 24 June
Good morning all
So following the announcements yesterday, we can now look forward to some further relaxations in the lockdown rules from 4 July. Is it coincidence that our increased freedoms come into force on American Independence Day? July 4th is also the day in the year when Earth is at its farthest distance from the sun – may it not be the day when we are at farthest distance from the Son (of God). Will it make much difference to most of us, we’re not sure it will as many of us feel we need to continue living in the cautious world to which we have become accustomed over the past 14 weeks. However, such attitude could represent further problems in that whilst we may have felt strangely secure being locked down in lockdown, but now we could be feeling nervous at the thought of being set free.
We will certainly exercise caution in planning re-opening of Chapel activities and you can all rest assured that everybody’s safety will be the high priority. There will be some who have serious worries about coming out of the comparative security of lockdown. We need to experience the real freedom that comes from knowing the real truth and not just reacting to rumours and speculations.
Here’s the story of a man from history who’s name we’ve all heard of, but we may not be familiar with his story of discovering true freedom.
Augustine's influence on both the church and the world is incredible. After Jesus and Paul, Augustine of Hippo is said to be the most influential figure in the history of Christianity. But his path to grace didn't start with a youth of following Christ. Like so many others, he was fiercely chasing sinful desires in the years before he met Jesus.
From a very young age, Augustine had sought positions of power, influence, wealth and fame in order to find peace in his life. But nothing relieved the emptiness in his heart, and he continued to push his family further and further away. His mother, Monica, had cried and prayed for Augustine when he was a disobedient child and throughout his rebellious life, Monica would follow him and continually pray for his salvation.
Leaving his friends and family behind, Augustine set out in search of truth. After years of study, education, and searching various religions, he still could not find happiness. So he headed to Rome to further build his experience and seek fame and fortune. As he gained notoriety and powerful connections in Rome, he caught the attention of the emperor's prefect who offered him a position as the "voice of the emperor"— someone who could convince others not to abandon the pagan gods of their Roman leaders. And so Augustine left Rome for Milan to serve in his most esteemed position yet.
At the time, many people were converting to Christianity because of a bishop named Ambrose and Augustine was set on a mission to destroy his good name. But all the while, Augustine was secretly enamoured with the substance of Bishop Ambrose's teachings. Slowly, his preconceived ideas about Christian faith began to crumble until one day, Augustine ran into a garden weeping and heard a voice saying, "Take up and read, take up and read." He picked up part of the New Testament that he had been reading earlier that day.
As he read Chapter 13 from the book of Romans, he knew deep down that he had to give up living for himself and instead, surrender to God. His lifelong search was over and now he knew the truth and it would set him free from his distress and from his miserable life.
After further study, he was baptized and later became a bishop. He spent the final 40 years of his life fighting against false ideas and teachings that were leading people away from the truth.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Augustine's story reminds us that if we seek the truth, God will be faithful to show us the way. Augustine became a Christian only when the Spirit of God had moved in his heart and opened his eyes to the truth. And once it was revealed to him, he came face to face with the realisation that his only hope was to have faith in Christ. The great lesson in Augustine's life is the triumph of joy in God over personal pleasure.
May we all experience God's grace in a way that drives us into a deeper relationship with Him.
Here’s a Hymnalong for today >>> THE SPIRIT LIVES TO SET US FREE
NEWS: - No news updates received for today
Today we wish a very happy birthday to Nye Hillman, our eldest male Chapel member.
For those of you who like to prepare your birthday cards in advance, here’s the birthday list for July
13 Sally Coulson
14 Brenda Jennings
21 Dorothy Green
22 Katie Jennings
30 Charlotte Green
31 John Wood
MAKE YOU SMILE: