Who’s afraid of Bengal Tigers?

CONFRONTED with a snarling Bengal tiger how would you feel? Confident? Scared? Fearful? Probably completely petrified!

The problems we face in our lives can have the same effect. Illness, exams, work —all can hit our confidence and fill us with FEAR!

More than that, fears from this life can be compounded by spiritual fear. Do we serve God as we should? Is God there? Is God for, or against, us?
Here’s one view of fear:

“Fear is life’s only true opponent. It can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary. It has no decency, respects no law, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, and it finds it with unerring ease (sounds familiar?). It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy.

“You can’t believe this doubt in your mind, and fight back. But you are poorly armed. Doubt beats your disbelief with little trouble, turning it into anxiety.

“So reason steps in. You are reassured—reason is well prepared.

“But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety turns to dread and now fear hits your body. Every part of you, in the manner best suited to it, falls apart. You make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. And there you have it: you’ve defeated yourself! Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed.”
We’d love a life without fear. To conquer it every time. How much more could we do for God then!

Yet, it is when we are at our weakest that God is strongest. Fear creates the vacuum into which God steps.

In 1 John 4 & 5 fear is tackled, with 1 Jn 4 v18 at its heart. These chapters of love explain why, with God’s love, we need no longer fear FEAR.

No need to fear God: be in awe of His power, yes. But not quake with fear. He loves us. And living in His love, there is no need to fear what the world throws at us, be it snarling tigers or far worse. God is in control. Just trust!


Recycling Messed Up People

GOD’S plan is all about recycling broken, messed up people and making them into new creations through Jesus, Rob C exhorted us recently.
We are a part of that plan, which moved into effect when Jesus rose from the dead. The Kingdom is now among us, because the thoughts of it, the message of it, has been put out into all the world.

And we are ambassadors for this wonderful process. The principles have been initiated. Jesus has risen. We can be baptised. And we can secure repeated forgiveness through the love God has lavished upon us, represented to us by the bread and wine.

So, how can we live for Jesus, when we are so pernicious and self-centred?

Simply believing should help, believ-ing that we are new creations, forgiven, each and every day.

So, do we believe, and do we act like we do —showing by our actions that we believe we are an active part of God’s great plan, and that it is our role, our duty and our privilege? Do we extend this message to others?

Paul wrote to the Philippians about our citizenship in heaven, where God is, and that through Christ’s work we are already closer to where God is.
We are ambassadors, part of the plan and part of the challenge too. We do well to reflect on the renewal God offers us, and to think of our role in creation, as stewards, doing something with it for God, to steward what we have been given for Him, seeing it as a token of more to come, as we look forward to the restoration of Eden and better things to come.

God promises a new heaven and a new earth, the ultimate restoration of His Creation, all dedicated to its creator. This “new” in Rev 21 is kaianos “renewed” – not neos “brand new.”

This renewal will take place on earth, all very different from a “pie in the sky when you die” Heaven.

Through baptism we start to go through the process of transformation, which will ultimately end in the Kingdom. We are already a part of God’s new Creation, IF we believe, and accept that through God’s grace we are reconciled to Him through Christ.


Fraternal 2010

We extend a warm invitation to you to attend our fraternal gathering

On

Saturday 2nd October 2010 at 4:00pm
(God Willing)
In The

Main Hall, Oakwood School
Balcombe Road
Horley RH6 9AE
Starting at
4.00 PM

Who do you say I am?

Speaker: Joe Warwick – Barnet

Please click the image for the programme details


Praying On Your Travels

PRAY in all things, especially in our travels, Russ exhorted us last week.

In 2 Kings 3 the three “wise monkeys” – the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom—did not seek God’s guidance or support as they set out on a journey, to attack Moab (v8). Indeed, they did not really prepare for the journey at all. Choosing the desert way, a circuitous route, they ran out of water within 7 days! Elisha was called for, and this holy man explained how God would provide a miraculous intervention— supplying water for the men and their animals, and confusing the Moabites, who thought the water was blood and went to plunder the camp, only to be completely routed themselves.

God met the needs of the men and their animals, and overcame the Moabites too, by providing water in valley. “This is an easy thing in the Lord’s eyes” (v18). It is a salutary lesson for us all.

Whether we are travelling for leisure, work or to preach the Truth, we should approach travel wisely and seek God’s support through trusting prayer. Indeed, we should bring all matters to God in prayer, no matter how great or small they may be. God is Lord over all things, great and small.

A simple walk in Wales, highlights the point. The weather seems fine, the boots are new and a walking guide has been bought. All goes well. But the walk is tiring, over fields and hills. Soon it becomes apparent that with no food, or water, or survival equipment, the walkers are very vulnerable. One trip, one fall, a twisted ankle, a broken leg—and then what?We have an obligation to prepare for our travels carefully, taking a responsible approach. And an essential part of that preparation is prayer.
In Jeremiah 51 travel occurs again. This time God is sending a force to destroy Babylon. “I will send foreigners to Babylon” (v2), he explains. And their purpose? To rescue God’s children, even though they continue to sin. “For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord Almighty”(v5). Encouragement indeed!

What might Jesus say to the World Bank (and us)

The World Bank is an organisation that started in 1944, with the aim of providing support to countries ravaged by the Second World War, explained Rob Evans last Sunday evening. Today, 66 years later, the World Bank has 10,000 staff and 187 members countries, offering low- or no-interest loans to help some of the most needy people in the world.

In 2009 it gave $47 billion in loans to finance 300 new projects and 1800 that were already running. That sounds like very good work indeed! But the World Bank has also been accused of losing $100 billion to corruption since 1946. It has an expensive, modern headquarters and has been criticised for forcing Western finance models on beneficiary countries, including deregulation, privatisation and budget equalisation, things that may not best suit those countries.

So, what might Jesus say to such an organisation? Indeed, what might Jesus say to any organisation involved in managing money—be it the world’s banks, which caused a $14.5 trillion loss in global wealth recently, or…….us!

The Bible provides plenty of pointers. 1 Sam 2:7-8 reminds us that the poor have always been with us, and always will be. Matt 25 21-30 explains the importance of managing what God gives us properly—the importance of good stewardship. 2 Cor 8 14-15, emphasises the need to share and share alike, for everyone’s benefit. Ecc 11 1-2 urges us to be astute and think about risk and reward, spreading our investments wisely. We should give as we receive from God. We should give out, because God gives to us, and He has much more to give than we can ever match.

And most poignant for us, the banks and the World Bank: 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”