As the sand on the seashore…
Tests and trials are common place in our lives. Although they aren’t necessarily welcomed they offer us insight into our character and faith. Through tests we see what we are truly made of, we workout areas of growth and areas of weakness.
Abraham had an enormous test of faith on his hands. He was instructed by God to take Isaac, his one and only son, up a mountain to be sacrificed as an offering to the Lord. Can you imagine what must have been going through his mind at this point? I like to think that the one thought that kept replaying in Abrahams mind, as he bound up Isaac and lay him on the altar ready to be killed, was that God promised to make his descendants as numerous as there were stars in the sky and God never breaks His promise.
Sure enough on the mountain God stopped Abraham just in time after his faithfulness and provided a ram as an offering instead.
Finally the story ends with God reinforcing the promise He made to Abraham. “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore”. So by day as Abraham looked out and saw the sand he would be reminded of Gods promise and as he looked up at the stars at night, he would be reminded of the promise. Day and night, night and day, Abrahams promise was always in front of him.
For many years I held on to the promise that one day I would Pastor a church. It would be my greatest test of faith to date. I would replay Gods promise to me over and over again. And as the years passed by, I would hold on even tighter than before until the day it was realised.
What promise does God have for you today? Through your tests and trials hold on to the promise. Don’t let it go. Keep pressing into God because God never breaks His promise.
Well it’s all happening, we have our tickets, we’ve all had our necessary medical shots and now we are into the final preparations for our trip to the Philippines. There is a small team consisting of Viv Halliwell, Samantha Barnes and James Price and myself going. Our main goal is to visit Ps Edgar and Beth Martin to re-establish links for future Elim Church missions’ trips. To investigate opportunities to help locals establish small self-sustaining businesses, work with children and youth and their families and of course support the church that Ps Edgar leads. We hope that God would open up divine connections and opportunities for ministry. I believe the timing is so right for this trip and that out of our time there we will be able to establish potential ongoing work in partnership with the local church. We leave straight after the Replenish conference, 2nd July – 14th July.
Also I’m pleased to give you an update from Margaret Hunt who felt a deep desire to support one of the local schools in some way. With the help of a small team, they have made to date over 500 lunches for approximately 20 children. She tells me that the school is very impressed and pleased with what she is doing and they are very thankful.
Let’s keep praying and looking for ways to reach out to our city. Bill Hybels says: “The local church is the Hope of the World”. Let’s keep making a difference.
Don’t forget this Sunday we are blessed to have back with us, Brendan and Cathie Clancy. They are truly amazing with an International children’s ministry. So we are putting on a special “Elim Family Service”. Invite your family and friends to our services this Sunday.
This morning at my Mentoring group we discussed the issue of making Godly decisions. Now not every decision requires us to “seek” God. He has given us the ability and wisdom to make some decisions in our lives. But there are times when it takes a lot of wisdom and guidance from Him for us to make the right choices as was the case with Sarai and Abram. With the promise of a legacy so big it could not be measured but seeing no signs of it after a number of years. Sarai and Abram with their maidservant Hagar took matters into their own hands and forced the issue. What resulted was a lot of heartache and mess. Here’s some lessons from this for us today.
1. It’s not a good idea to make life changing decisions from a place of desperation, anxiety, stress. Always from a place of security and strength. Tension is not your friend!
2. It’s not a good idea to force Gods hand. Be patient; be faithful with what you have. Doors will open at the right time. Gods timing is always perfect.
3. It’s a good idea to seek God and seek wise counsel for the big life changing decisions. Get a second or third opinion. Advice from others may have saved Sarai and Abram from a lot of heartache and pain.
Have a great week, see you Sunday.
This Sunday the country takes time to honour some of the true heroes of our Nation…our Mothers. Their selfless sacrifices, unrecognised efforts, unwavering faith have helped to shape us and in doing so, the world in which we live in. When I think about the various Mums in my life, I’m left both grateful and humbled.
So I am excited that we at Elim will spend both services honouring our Mums, giving them the acknowledgement and praise they all deserve. I want to encourage every Mum in our church to be there and if you’re Mother doesn’t attend our church why not send her a special invitation on our behalf and bring her along. We have items, video clips and each Mum will receive a small gift from the church on the day. We at Elim just want to say thank you Mum, we love you.
See you on Sunday.