Personal reflections on the current crisis by Filipe Almeida

 The Lord takes care of the birds in the sky! The Lord takes care of us!

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 New International Version (NIV)

 

As the situation we are experiencing intensified, many doubts and concerns came to my mind: doubts about our future; concerns about my distant family;  Concerns about the people I love and who are in the risk zone if they get this virus.

 

A week ago, for one night I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts were taken up by these concerns and doubts that only increased while I followed the news. I stayed up all night and when the day started to dawn, I heard the first birdsong. I love to hear the birds singing! I like to compare the songs of birds in the United Kingdom with those in Brazil and I see how listening to these different songs makes our lives more beautiful.

 

Right after that, I remembered the verse in Matthew 6. 26. It was at this moment that I prayed to the Lord: ‘Dear Father, can you please send a bird to sing right by my bedroom window? The Lord decided to comply with my request and a bird came to my window and sang! I recognized this care of the Lord ‘in the little things’, and I praised Him, for I know that He is taking care of me, the Lord is taking care of us!

 

Today, of course, I still have challenging concerns and feelings in the face of this horrible virus that we have come across. But I reflect on how I can grow in my relationship with God at this time! How I should trust the provision and care from the Lord who feeds the birds in the sky and us too. How I can trust the Lord in a sincere way and rest in Him in a time of suffering, but knowing that He is in control of all things!

 

May we remember that even in the midst of diversity, the Lord gives us peace and joy! So we can also demonstrate the hope that we have in Jesus Christ who is with us every day! That is why we can act as witnesses to the Holy Spirit and in this way bless and care for the people we love, our neighbors or distant family members through something that we have valued much more: technology!

 

While the birds sing in the sky, we can walk in a real life. Reminding us of God’s Faithfulness to us. Reminding us of His love that gives us life! Eternal life!

 

May we at this time be encouraged to live God’s promises for our lives! May we at this time receive all that the Lord wants to do in us!

 

A big Brazilian hug (because virtual hugs are still possible hahaha).

 

Filipe Almeida

Prophecy in this season

by Linda Geevanathan

“Sometimes what people need is not another prophetic directive but an authentic pastoral presence. Pursuing prophetic promises without due process produces a denial of pain that leads to escapism. We need healthy prophetic voices who help us process pain and lament through a hope filled lens. Irrespective of all the revival promises that will be fulfilled, right now the world is in pain. The best thing we can do is be a pastoral presence of love.

Let’s articulate hope in this season.”  Julian Adams

Julian Adams a well-known prophetic voice, makes some really key points about the prophetic in this season; our nation and the nations need hope, a hope that goes beyond this world and situation.  There is a longing and need for voices that bring comfort, strength, encouragement and love. That’s what the prophetic does at its most powerful – it isn’t about denial but allowing people to express their pain, listening to them and in the right way directing them graciously to Jesus, the hope of the world.

Ginny Burgin another prophetic voice shares her wisdom of bringing the prophetic in this season, it is well worth listening to.

https://www.facebook.com/272074410191/posts/10163331693780192/?sfnsn=scwspwa&d=w&vh=e&extid=8H4oct6iXxCpd2BU&d=w&vh=e

 

So, in this uncertain time, Church, let us be a voice of comfort, a voice of encouragement and a voice of love for the many who don’t know where to turn in this stormy season.

 

Linda Geevanathan

Weighing the Prophetic

By Linda Geevanathan

At the moment there are a lot of people sharing prophetic words and I felt as I didn’t get the opportunity to share my preach on the prophetic, it would be good to share some of the key principles from it.

1 Corinthians 14: 3-5

But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.

  1. We prophesy out of love. Love is the motivation for sharing prophesy with one another, to encourage, strengthen and comfort others.  In 1 Corinthians 13 it tells us the importance of love, and emphasises that prophecies will cease, love does not.
  2. The bible tells us that all can prophesy and that we prophesy in part. No-one is infallible with their prophetic words. Prophesy with humility, accepting that it is a grace gift and we may and will get it wrong at times.  This doesn’t mean we stop trying, humbly we step out of our comfort zone sharing words of encouragement, strength and comfort.  As we are willing to take risks we grow in the gift of prophesy.  Remember this as you listen to prophecies given by others, they can get it wrong too – no matter how gifted they are!
  3. Test and weigh prophesy

3 parts to prophecy –

Revelation – What is the picture/ word/ dream/ sense that you are getting from God.  Write or share this literally as you get it.  It is helpful to prophesy with others, go with someone else or a couple of other people and hear God for a person or a situation together, because God uses us as family to hear him together (obviously in our current season this is not easy to do but you could be creative and use zoom or a group WhatsApp to do this).  We all ‘hear’ from God differently, don’t put how you hear Him in a box.

Interpretation – What are the possible meanings of the picture/ word?  Is it in line with Scripture?  This step of interpreting the word should not be done alone.  I would encourage you to weigh it with others and leadership if it is directional.

Application – What does this mean for now?  Does something need to change? What could it mean for the near future?

Finally

Let’s together be wise at this moment.  There seems to be a lot of prophetic words being shared out there, we are called to be discerning and weigh what is being said.  If you are unsure then ask those around or leaders you trust to help you with the weighing process.

 

Linda Geevanathan

 

 

Books for this season: None Like Him by Jen Wilkins

 

None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) by Jen Wilkin

 

This season for many of us is causing stress and strains in ways that we didn’t ever imagine or foresee.  Fear seems to be trying to creep in through all sorts of different ways; health, family, jobs, finance, children and the disruption of our regular plans.  The refining fire of God is being felt.

I read this book over a month ago and really appreciated the way it explores some of the characteristics of God, it challenged me to celebrate the freedom that comes when I rest in letting God be God.

In this unprecedented time, it is good for us to keep our gaze on God and to keep reflecting and reminding ourselves who He is in the midst of chaos.  Meditating on some of the truths of who God is and what that means for each of us is incredibly liberating and good for the soul.  I started re-reading the book this week, so that, instead of being swept away in circumstances, I am dwelling on the truth of who God is, and this is helping me find peace in the midst all that is going on.

I would like to recommend this book to you because at this time it is crucial that we keep reminding ourselves of who our God is and the fact that ultimately we can trust him in and with all things.

Linda Geevanathan

Paperback £7.35

https://www.amazon.co.uk/None-Like-Him-Different-Thats/dp/1433549832/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1585241789&sr=8-1

Kindle edition £6.71

https://www.amazon.co.uk/None-Like-Him-Different-Thats-ebook/dp/B01BU6F7RI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1585241789&sr=8-1

 

 

 

 

Insight for this season from Adi Naidu

Jesus and the Leper (Matthew  8:1-4)

Given the chaos a virus has caused and its devastating effects multiplying everyday, many are baffled and many broken beyond repair. In these challenging times, many will Glorify God and many would blaspheme against Him. A Christian will instantly look at the author and finisher of His faith even when his back is up against the wall. Driving strength from the scriptures for him is instinctive.

Jesus’ sermon on the mount is one of the most authoritative and cited biblical text. The incredible words and wisdom of Lord Jesus Christ is still studied and reflected upon. The opening verse in the gospel of Matthew chapter 8 points to the fact that Jesus came down from the mountain after preaching this famous sermon on the mount, and the astonished crowd followed Him. The people who were astonished because of His words were now a few moments away from being stunned because of His acts.

In Matthew 8:1-4 we read a leper came before Jesus, asserting His Lordship he pleaded to be healed, and Jesus touched the leper and healed him. There is a possibility that the cause of astonishment here was more inclined towards Jesus’ act of touching the leper, than the leper being straightaway healed. Because, Jesus on touching the leper, defied the norm and did something that was against the law of Moses. In verse 4, Jesus advises the leper to not say anything to anyone and get himself examined by the priests, offer gifts according to the law.

Observations: In purview of present corona virus pandemic condition, what lessons can we learn from this section of the scripture?

I want to derive 3 observations.

  1. Jesus defied the norms. Jesus being fully man and fully God, in His sovereignty touched the leper physically and healed him instantly. Only God could do that, and the leper who rightly asserted His Lordship on approaching Him (V. 1) was given the due reward for his faith which was coupled with his action (initiative) to take a step towards his Lord. In these challenging times and restricting days, there are only a handful of things we can do. It is important we take a step in faith and reach out to the affected and the vulnerable. Jesus was and is God, so he could physically touch the leper; we being finite men, need to understand our limitation and in today’s context maintain distance, yet do our best to help the affected and vulnerable. Our thoughts and actions can defy the norms of the present world, yet be in sync with Gods words and teachings. There are numerous acts of love and spiritual generosity you can carry out to help and support your extended families, neighbors, colleagues, clients and fellow Christians. The world is stockpiling perishable goods, we Christian should stockpile the imperishable – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This is our ammunition in every warfare.
  2. Jesus was and is still willing! Throughout the Bible we do come across numerous instances where God answered to groaning, calls, prayers, and supplications of His people. Corporate and personal prayers, He respects them all and is willing to provide our needs according to His will. The urgency is enormous and scale of devastation is like never seen before. How much more earnest should we be in these troubled times to call upon the name of our Lord and seek His divine intervention. The one who is the radiance of the glory of God, who upholds the universe by the word of His power is mighty, able and willing to save!
  1. Jesus demands allegiance to the authorities. After speaking authoritatively on the mountain, and later demonstrating His Lordship over all aspects of human life by touching and instantly healing the leper, Jesus does another stunning act here. As paradoxical as it may seems, Jesus did asked the leper to go and show himself to the priests and offer sacrifices as suggested in the law. Jesus knew these were the people (in authority) who were reprobate; who abused their power and influence and later would kill him on the cross, yet he demanded that the healed leper should respect the authorities and the Law. In conjunction with His teachings in the Bible, Jesus demands that we His people should obey the authorities, then and now. We must meticulously pay heed to the government advisories and keep our conduct blameless, doing everything in our capacities. Social Isolation is the need of time, lets precisely do everything required of us.

This passage in the Bible speaks to us so relevantly in present time of crisis. Glory to our Lord, His word and His Spirit who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Adi Naidu

 

Advice for this season from those who know!

posted in: People of Hope 0

Hello !! 👋
How is everyone today ?

A few people had asked of we have any tips for surviving this funny old time we’re in …having been extremely restricted ourselves since 2015.

I didn’t know what to share at first as each person’s journey is different and ours won’t look like yours especially as we’ve been dealing with chronic illness as the reason for the restriction.

But then I thought I could tell you what WE do and if it helps you great!

So we have plenty of not great days but this is what tends to happen on a good day or week.

I try to get up early to have quiet time . For me that means connecting with God . I often write my thoughts and feelings down ( type them into my PC then can say what I like , delete it afterwards and not cause trauma to anyone might read it after my demise)
We try to have a routine ..in a time when you can do anything making a structure helps . But the elements can be interchangeable and moved around like blocks.

As an OT I was trained to ask people what most brought them to life and to build it into their days or week to keep well -being topped up . For each person it was different . For me writing, tending to plants on our balcony ,connecting with friends and family and doing my nails (amoungst other things) give me life. So I try (don’t always do it ) to build those things in.

We try to do at least one thing a day that we both enjoy …usually watching an episode of a great box set. Well chosen tv / films a life saver. Not so much mindless watching of tv. For us anyway.

A roast meal once a week ( a fave of ours)

Regular prayer together. As much laughter as we can make or find together.

Sowing seeds in our balcony pots. Making up stories. Reading alone or together .
Really intentional things . Different things for everyone

Some days I just feel tired and sad and being intentional is tiring . Thats ok. I just let myself feel that and sometimes have a cry. Then we distract ourselves again and don’t stay there too long. .

The real secret in our lives is something called ” Soaking prayer ” . Obviously not everyone believes and that fine. But this is our journey . I’m sure alot of you know what it is ..but for those who don’t … It’s the opposite of performance. It’s getting comfortable ( lying down for me ) putting on some quiet music and asking God to fill you and give you more strength. Letting your body and mind rest .
For those who don’t believe in God , just stopping, slowing down and resting to quiet music or using relaxations techniques can help to reset.
I always have more energy after that.
Try to eat lots of fruit and veg but throw in a treat too.
Well …that what I do.

What about you ?
It’s seriously hard for us being confined but with some intentional activity and planning it can be ok and even rewarding.

PLEASE don’t think I’m telling you should do what we do. I’m simply sharing what had worked for us. And we don’t always do it either. Sometimes I just look at face book 😂.

Praying for all who find themselves in new territory. May you find the love grace and strength that we have found to carry on.

With much love

Glen and Christa xxxxx
Obviously I have to do housework cooking, caring duties etc! But not ALL the time …

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