Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We are So Much More!

The knowledge of our true identity is a vital key to getting through the tough times in life. From a faith perspective it is important for Christians to remind themselves often of who they are in Christ. Our identity is not just what our parents, our education or our training have made us. We have a much higher and more significant identity than that.

Knowing who we are in Him makes a very real difference to our attitude towards the circumstances through which we are passing. Revelation 1:5 & 6 offers a wonderful benediction: ‘To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.’ It says that God loves us and that he has made a kingdom and priests to serve him. That means we are not just a number in a hospital, school or anywhere else. We have royal blood in us! We are princes and princesses in the kingdom of heaven! When you accepted Jesus, He accepted you and put a royal robe around your shoulders. You have a throne beside his. You are seated with him in heavenly places, (Ephesians 2:6).

When we pass through hard times the pressure can force us to forget all this. We feel wretched, small and insignificant. Our future may be befogged by fear, while present problems loom large through the murk. What we need is a magic mirror - like the one above! God's Word, the Bible is just such a mirror. We look into it and see the state of our hearts, but we also see the greatness of what God has made us in Christ! Hold on to that when the going gets hard.(I have written much more about this in my book Storm Force: winning the battle for the mind which you can obtain by clicking on the left)

Inside every pussy cat there is a lion waiting to be set free!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Update on Opdate

We have returned to Guernsey after two more trips to the University College Hospital in London and are now booked to have major corrective surgery there on 10th July (provisionally).

This is a tough time for us both because we have been through similar surgery before in 2005 at the old Middlesex Hospital and we know what is involved. It will be hard for me to face going down the steep valley of a big operation once again, but it will also be tough on Diane staying in a hotel in central London for the duration. At least we know the area well after more than 50 visits there for treatment in the last five years, and we know that a lot of you will be praying for us at that time and before.

Speaking of prayer, there are a few practical requests for prayer at this point. Please pray:
  • for pain to come under control (the recent celiac plexus block has not worked)
  • that I will not have any of the serious attacks of cholangitis prior to surgery
  • that the op will not spark off another acute attack of pancreatitis
  • that the surgery will go ahead on the due date or before
  • that the surgery will be successful
  • that God will provide the place for Diane to stay and the needed resources
  • that we will both keep the faith and dignify the trial by trusting God throughout.

It's great to be linked with you through the amazing network of the Web and to know that we are not alone in this ongoing nightmare. Sometimes people ask me how I go on being a Christian when so much trouble has come our way. The only answer I have for them is the words of St Peter 'where else can we turn Lord, You alone have the words of eternal life'.

If you have not yet read either of my books, 'Braving the Storm: survival tactics' or 'Storm Force: winning the battle for the mind' then click on the links to the left and get hold of a copy today.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A step beyond thanksgiving

This time of the year is breathtakingly beautiful in Guernsey. Diane and I wander around the tiny lanes with eyes agog at the handiwork of our glorious creator God. The hedgerows are alive with colour, and the gorse is not only a blaze of burnished yellow, it's fragrance fills us with nostalgic impressions and heady remembrances of our youth in this lovely island.

For a Christian the effect is immediate. 'Wow, look what God has done! Praise Him!' That may not be the same for everyone, but most of us feel some sort of stirring in our hearts in the great outdoors.

But there is a step beyond that in my heart at the moment. In our church last Sunday we were looking together at the Bible's teaching about worship (you can hear it on http://www.rock.gg/). Jon told us that the first mark of true worship is intimacy with God. I remembered the New Testament Greek word means literally 'to kiss toward' or as Jonathan put it 'to turn towards as if to kiss'. Now you can experience that whether you are in a garden or a prison cell, in a church meeting or a hospital bed.

And then I recalled how Job reacted when disaster hit his life. When all his possessions were taken from him and his children were all killed, Job bowed before the Lord and worshipped. He turned his tear-stained face to kiss the God who had allowed all this to come into his life. And then I feel like saying 'Wow'! At the moment my life is blighted by acute and chronic pain and frequent hospitalisation, but I pray for the ability, by God's grace, to go beyond praising Him for the beauty of His creation, and to kiss His hand in worship.

'I worship Thee, sweet will of God,
And all Thy ways adore,
And every day I live, I long
To love Thee more and more.'