PartingThis Thursday was Ascension Day, the day that remembers the moment that Jesus left to be with God in heaven and promised that someone would come in His place to help the disciples and believers as they started to share the Gospel message. You can read all about this is Acts 1:1-11.

But in reading that account you can almost feel the anxiety of the disciples. Their beloved Jesus, who they thought lost on Good Friday, who then returned, is now leaving again. They watched him go, they heard his words… and then they just stood there rooted to the spot. And it is this thought that made me think of the quote from Romeo and Juliet, ‘Parting is such sweet sorrrow’, where the thought of being apart induced a sorrow only matched by the hope and joy of seeing each other again. Yet in this scene laid out before us in Acts 1:1-11 I do wonder if they had actually got to the hope and joy part.

Psalm 57The Holy Spirit gives us purpose to glorify God

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfil his purpose for me. (Psalm 57:1-2)

Difficult situations can at times make us lose our purpose in life. When clouded with negative news, doubts and uncertainty, we can lose our focus and orientation in life. We get lost in the minds and spirit. This can make us feel useless, unworthy and frustrated.

2 Timothy 1The Holy Spirit gives us power

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)

In times of difficulties, it is normal to be filled with fear, feel helpless and powerless. We do not do well with helplessness; it is uncomfortable, and we can find ourselves with very few or no choices to encourage ourselves to find strength. In such situations, we can find hope if we see life from God's perspective. He can help us to not just cope but also to live His life of peace and have strength to encourage others. Paul and Silas when they were in Prison with little choices, chose to worship God by singing and the other prisoners were listening (Acts 16:25).

Romans 5We can rejoice in our sufferings because the Holy Spirit gives us hope,

No only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Romans 5:3-5, NIV.

One preacher has said that difficult times are the seedbed for spiritual growth.  Times of ease and comfort rarely result in significant deepening of our relationship with our creator.  It is the hard times that strengthen us for all God would have us do and be. 

1 Peter 4We need each other

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

The current pandemic has brought out gifts we never thought we had. For the first time, I heard the word Zoom and learnt how to use it, with a lot of help from James. The online Service, Zoom prayer meetings, Zoom Coffees, calls and texts from the people in the Fellowship have really kept me going and felt connected with the Fellowship.

Isaiah 43God is always present with us

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2NIV)

In times of trouble, we find it hard to sense or experience God’s presence. The current situation can get us worried about losing job, getting sick or worsening financial circumstances.
Many of David’s Psalms are about him not experiencing God especially in difficult situations. In Psalm 10:1 he says, “Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” We can be encouraged that even David who was very prayerful and described as a man after God’s own heart, experienced such moments as well.
But it is good to know that whether we experience God’s presence or not, He is always there with us, in good times and even in times when we face difficulty or trouble. He says in Isaiah, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2NIV)

In HimWe are God’s dwelling place

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2: 19-22)

Welcome to our Pentecostal Prayer Week which starts today and ends next Sunday with Pentecostal Sunday celebrations.

After celebrating the Easter in lockdown, missing those activities that comes once in a year; the Walk of Witness and Easter Service outside the church with other Churches, I was looking forward to celebrating the Pentecost Sunday with other believers at CHBC. I did not expect the lockdown would extend this far.