Hi everyone – it’s Steve Kemp tapping away once more at the laptop keyboard to bring you this week’s Midweek Message! Even as I type, Storm Ciara is still raging across our nation and high winds still persist here in the North West. The adverse weather inevitably diminished the attendance at Sunday morning’s worship service with a number living at a distance unable to join us because of the atrocious driving conditions! We missed you deeply but trust that you nevertheless felt the tangible presence of God in your homes, just as we collectively prayed.
It was so exciting to see Ray Shepherd “back in front line action” again as he brought God’s Word, continuing with this month’s theme which examines our position as Children of God. Get the MP3 if you missed it!
The unpleasant weather resulted in a low attendance at the Sunday evening prayer and worship meeting, but this granted opportunity to again spend time in detailed prayer for Nev and Rose Strickland before their mission to Uganda later this week.
MESSAGE Distance: No Object.
There are very few days when distance does not play some major part in our routine or activities. Whilst we may feel especially safe and comfortable within the protection of our own homes, inevitably there comes times on most days when we find it necessary to leave those welcoming surroundings, albeit sometimes briefly, in order to make our way to another location in order to keep an appointment, obtain provisions, make a personal visit or to attend an important event. Each of these “outings” will involve a journey of varying distance. The truth of the matter is that as lovely as they may be, our homes are not the veritable centre of the universe, and that a considerable number of important activities will involve us departing our abode in order to attend elsewhere. Sometimes these journeys may seem arduous, frustrating, or even unattractive, and each such “trip” may involve travel over differing distances.
I can only imagine how it must have been for them, but for those recently quarantined within their own homes because of contacts with the deadly Coronavirus, I would perceive that such exile quite likely had so them longing to get “out and about” – to go anywhere rather than be stuck in the same place each day.
Being finite beings and possessing physical bodies with very real limitations, each of us are confined to one location at any one time. This often may result in frustration as we are required to carefully examine the financial cost, the time spent in travel and the convenience or otherwise of the methods of transportation available to us so that we can perhaps visit that loved one in need or attend that important job interview. Mandy speaks to our daughter Bridget in New South Wales, Australia each weekend by means of the Skype app on her laptop computer.
The conversation is real and clear and sometimes we even get video pictures from the other side of the world… but each call makes the heart ache that little bit more for the opportunity to spend time together in the same place at the same time (she is so very far away and we have not seen her now for over 4 years!)
Distance is a major problem of us humans, but it is of no consequence to God; he is in all places at all times, and so often we like to quote the old adage that he is “only a prayer away” – actually, he is much nearer than that because scripture reminds us that often he answers before we call! Distance is no barrier to prayer because God is always on the spot. We can sometimes get the notion that we have to be there in person for our prayers to be powerful enough or effective enough! If you think about it, that is tantamount to suggesting that it is our physical presence that is important rather than God’s!
On one occasion. Jesus refused a nobleman’s plea to go to the man’s home to lay hands on his son and heal him, but simply prayed the healing prayer from a distance and the boy was healed (John 4 v 46 – 54). On another occasion, a centurion came to Christ to seek healing for his servant – in this instance, the soldier himself discouraged Christ from travelling to his home, but recognised his authority to heal regardless of distance… and so he did! (Matthew 8 v 5 – 10). Distance is no barrier to him and it is not “second best” for us to sometimes pray at a distance. Those prayers will be just as effective whether we are thousands of miles away in our own home or right at the scene of the need! God is on the case and it is all about his power and wisdom rather than the would-be oratory of our prayers.
- Please pray for Nev and Rose who leave on Tuesday 11th February for a two week mission in Uganda. Please obtain a copy of their itinerary to aid you in your daily prayers.
- Cell groups take place this week. It is in these small groups where powerful relationships are built and increased opportunity for ministry prevails.
- On Friday at 6pm, the boys and girls of Ignite this week “visit” Kenya as our “round the world” peek at God’s universal Christian family continues.
- The next Ladies Fellowship Brunch takes place on Saturday 22nd February at 11am.
- There is opportunity for united prayer at Blackpool Salvation Army Citadel on Saturday 22nd February at 7pm.
- Discovery Sunday is on Sunday 23rd February and will be followed by a hot fellowship meal supplied by Robert in place of the usual buffet
Have a great week,