Tuesday Update 16
Dear brothers and sisters,
I’ve been reflecting a bit on Ps.145:18 – the verse I started the service with last Sunday: “The LORD is near to all who call on him …” It’s a great word of reassurance for us in the present time, when many of us have felt very keenly the sense of isolation and separation from family, friends and fellow-believers.
God is NOT watching us from a distance – as one of the famous songs says. On the contrary – he is the God who comes close; who assures us that he is near. The Bible describes God’s nearness in different ways:
God is a LOVING FATHER – who hears all those who call on him. Having created us and given us life, God does not abandon us, but graciously draws near to us in so many ways, providing all that we need, as does a father for the children he loves.
God is a MIGHTY SAVIOUR – in the incarnation, as the Word becomes flesh, God comes even nearer to become one of us, and the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary is sufficient to save to the uttermost all who come to God through him.
God is an INDWELLING-FRIEND – through the gift of the Holy Spirit God comes even nearer still, to dwell in the heart of every believer. The Spirit comes to lead and guide us, encourage and empower us, sanctify us and make us fruitful.
What an assurance we have – God the Father who loves us; God the Son who saves us, God the Holy Spirit who indwells us – how blessed we are by the God who is three-in-one! God is certainly near to all who call on him – so let us ensure that we are those who (Ps.145:18) “call on him in truth.” May our seeking after God (not just his presence, but also his glory, his kingdom and his will) be genuine. And so may our experience of him be real.
Do remember, also, your fellow-believers during these days. While the easing of lockdown continues, there is still much separation, and I know that it has been a great encouragement to many to receive phone-calls, letters and messages of various different kinds. As God is near to us, may we be near to each other, insofar as that is possible in the present time, until such time as we are able to resume the regular pattern of the worship life of the church family.
Service this week
This week (DV) we’ll be looking at Q.21 in the Shorter Catechism, which looks at the Redeemer of God’s people. Then we’ll be concluding our studies in the Book of the Prophet Joel, coming to the final chapter where Joel looks way ahead, to the end of time, predicting God’s judgment of his enemies and his redemption of his people.
Joshua Truesdale update
The following is from the latest alumni news from Edinburgh Bible College: “My placements in Rathfriland Baptist (NI) and Falkirk Free Church of Scotland were of great benefit to me. I gained experience in areas I hadn’t yet had, confidence in both my giftings and assurance of my calling, and encouragement from the people I ministered with. It all suddenly came to an abrupt pause and end, but it was a very worthwhile year. I appreciate your prayers as I seek God’s next step for my life. I have some ‘draft ideas’ as to what that may be, but I’m sure we’ve all learned over recent months that ‘My ways and thoughts are not your ways and thoughts.’” (Psalm 116:12)
Free Church Books Summer Sale
Over the summer, Free Church Books is normally busy providing lots of great bargain books to camps and conferences all over the country. Since we can't do that this year, we are instead running an extended summer sale throughout July and August. We've picked 13 exciting products, and with our 'SUMMER20READS' discount code, they all have 25% off RRP - or more!
We really can't recommend these books enough, and we hope you enjoy them! Full details can be found at thefree.church/books20sale.
I’ll be compiling the prayer update tomorrow, Wednesday. If there is anything you’d like to be included, please call or email me by 12-noon – especially if you or your family are self-isolating/ symptomatic, or have any kind of particular requests.
With prayerful good wishes,