Author Archives: Editor

June 2014

The Big Small Stuff                     

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.  John 16:24

I find it very interesting that our Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need even before we ask, but He still wants us to ask. This was the situation shortly after my husband and I relocated to another country to further our studies.

As I unpacked I found that a number of our things had been adversely affected by their stay in storage, including a light blanket that we would need for the coming winter.  We had recently been gifted with a washing machine to help us settle into our place, so I happily washed the blanket – only to have it completely disintegrate in the wash.  Even worse, the shredded pieces of fabric now blocked the washer’s drain.  After several days and many failed attempts to remove the blockage, I became dismayed.  I had no idea what else could be done to clear out the clogged drain.

Of course, before long we needed to do some laundry, but we couldn’t.  Not with this clogged washer.  I was completely frustrated.  I’d worked and worked to unclog the drain.  Now what was I going to do?  In anger I cried out to the Lord, ” God please work a miracle for me and fix this washing machine!”  It was as though God was standing right beside me waiting for me to ask Him for a miracle, because as soon as I finished praying I filled the machine, then in faith, attempted to drain the water I’d just put in it.  To my surprise and delight, the water gushed out even faster than it had when we first used it.  The clogs were all gone!

It was truly a miracle, and it convinced me that our God still cares about the “big small stuff” that perplexes us, and uses them as an opportunity to show us that He cares.  Every time I use the washing machine I am reminded of the miracle that took place and that God hears and answers our prayers.

Whatever your challenges, no matter how big or small they seem, they matter to God.  Commit them all to God.  Will you ask God to fix your “big small” problems today?  I am sure He will be glad to help if you just ask.

Taniesha K. Robertson-Brown, Breathe Devotional 

Claiming the Promise

Claiming the promise “All things work together for good for them that love the Lord” (Romans 8:28) requires us to have faith in what we do not see. Often we make general statements proclaiming how strong our faith is. But when the tide comes it really does test and reveal our faith. In my experience tides have come and I honestly have felt like I can’t hear God, not that I doubt His existence I just feel as if I can’t hear Him in that moment. What comforts me is looking at the life of Job, when Job lost His family, health and possessions God didn’t show up and say “Hey Job, everything will be alright soon I’m just showing Satan something”. God  did not explain Himself, He instead said nothing at first but when the time was right He said things like “Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this” (Job 38:18 NKJV).

The manner in which God communicated with Job taught me a couple of things. Firstly, God does not answer many of our why questions not because He isn’t fair but because He requires us to trust His judgement on what is best for our lives. It also made me realise that many times in our lives we want an answer from God straight away, which shows how impatient we can be. God reveals Himself when the time is right, He is never “late” so we need not worry. Lastly I learnt that even when we feel as if God is being silent we need to trust Him. If we look back at our lives we can literally see God working in different situations. So when we are at a place where we can feel as if God is silent let us not forget where we have come from. He’s still there and He has not changed.

Let us cling to and believe the promises that God has given us; all things WILL work together for good for us who love the Lord. He’s not willing that any of us should perish (2 Peter 3:9). He is working in our favour and has our best interests at heart, lets trust Him.

A Recipe for a Christian life

 

A Recipe for a Christian life

 

Believe in the ingredients of:

 

  • Rejoice in the Lord always’ (1 Thess 5 :17);
  • Pray to Him without ceasing’ (1 Thess 5 : 17);
  • Give Him Thanks in all things’  (1 Thess 5 : 17) with each of these being seen as equally important in all aspects of all activities.  

 

 1) Rejoicing in the Lord always, emanates from the fruit segments: peace, joy and longsuffering and triggers a motivation to:

 

2) Pray without ceasing sourced by the faith, love and goodness developed and leads to: 

 

3) Thanksgiving in all things which becomes evident as meekness, temperance and gentleness fall in place to complement all the other fruit segments.  

 

The rejoicing is to be seen and heard, the praying constant and fervent, the thanksgiving generous and spontaneous, And together, these ingredients, in the mysterious way in which they perform their processing, result in the manifestation of lives based on the life of Christ Jesus.

 

Remember, Jesus’ way always turns out to be the best way, Whether at home, school, work or play and finally:

“Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt 4 : 4).

 

Chew over these things.

May 2014

First Impression by Lil Saunders

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1,2

I heard him before I saw him; the tip of his umbrella tapping on the floor as he approached. This was his walking aid. A few weeks before he had hidden behind the local shops within the small shopping precinct to count his collection. He was the local beggar on the High Street.

As he tapped his way into the shop crowded with customers, I ignored him totally. I was convinced he was coming to beg money from me or the customers and I didn’t want to encourage him. He stood patiently waiting to one side, saying nothing. Having dealt with all the other customers, I finally turned to him and asked him if I could help him. He handed me a slip of paper. On it was an order for a packet of hair colour 613, hair length 18ins and a bottle of glue. Guilt washed over me and I breathed a silent prayer, “Lord, forgive me for judging this customer.”

My preconceived ideas of this gentlemen had placed him in a category where he was not connected with any immediate family, and now, here he is in my shop buying products that were popular with the younger generation. This experience taught me an important lesson. It made me reflect on my behaviour and my attitude towards others.

It is so easy to judge others by their appearance, and while we are content with our relationship with friends and families, we hold at arm’s length the beggars, the homeless, the teenage mothers, the drug addicts; the very people in our society who are crying out for help. Matthew 7:1,2 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others you will be judged, and the amount you give to others will be given to you.” In verse 4 we are told to look at ourselves. Look at your faults and shortcomings before you look at those of others. How many times have we judged others without knowing their background?

  • In our ever changing world we are daily encountering people and communities that present a new experience. How are we responding to these individuals?      
  • That experience made me realise that the world around me is changing and that I need to adapt, and not to be so judgemental when dealing with my fellow man.
  • The ability to be adaptable and embrace others will be one of the characteristics of God’s people at the end of time. One of our favourite authors tells us, “God in his providence has brought men to our very door and thrust them as it were, into our very arms, that they might learn the truth” (Ellen White Evangelism p 597).
  • Look at the opportunities I will miss if I keep judging others! Matthew 7:12 reminds us to treat others the way we would like to be treated. May God help me to remember that each person is a precious individual to Him, despite their circumstances, and to treat them as my own family.                                                                                                                                

 

Same-Sex Marriage

On my way to work, I was sent a link of an article from the Guardian. This is what I read:

David Cameron has hailed the first same-sex marriages in England and Wales as sending a “powerful message” about equality in Britain.

The law changed at midnight, with a number of gay couples vying to claim the title of being the first to be married in Britain by trying to time it perfectly so their vows were said just seconds after the clock struck midnight.

The prime minister said the reform was necessary because “when people’s love is divided by law, it is that law that needs to change”.

Writing in Pink News he said “this weekend is an important moment” because “we will at last have equal marriage in our country”.

What do you think of this happening? The church has a choice (at the moment) choosing whether they will marry a couple of the same sex but how long will this choice last?

April 2014

Don’t Ask Me

John was 13 years old and regularly met with a group of friends after school. They did all the usual things that boys do, tearing round on their bikes, throwing stones in the local river, climbing things that shouldn’t be climbed…..

Martin was slightly older than the rest and one day he said to his friends:

“Let’s do something exciting! I have this great idea, we could sneak out of our houses after midnight and go around knocking on peoples’ doors and run away.”

“We’d get caught!” exclaimed John.

“No we won’t,” Martin replied, “Who would be expecting thirteen year olds to be out at that time of night? They’ll blame it on the older lads”.

It all sounded so feasible and fun, that John decided to go along with it. Just after midnight he slid down the drainpipe outside his bedroom and ran off to join the gang. They had a brilliant time hiding, watching irate neighbours coming to the door in their dressing gowns.

The next evening there was a knock at the front door. It was Mr Jones from down the road. He confronted John’s mother with the fact that he had looked out of his window and seen the lad running away down the street.

Mrs Owen looked shocked and said “No it wasn’t my son; he would never do anything like that. I’ll bring him to the door and you can ask him.”

John, of course, denied it all, his heart pounding.

“There!” said Mrs Owen, “I told you you were wrong, my son wouldn’t lie, he’s a Christian.”

The same evening John laid on the bed in his room feeling hideously guilty. He had let his family down, and his church and God.

Read Matthew 26: 69-75 for the account of Peter’s denial of Christ.

  • What effect did this denial have on John,  that was similar to Peter’s?
  • What has been your reaction to a bare-faced lie?

Additional Reading 

  • Proverbs 28:13           
  • Luke 15: 11-24
  • 1 John 1:9

 

March 2014

Amazing Grace                                                                                                   “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7

It’s hard to shake off a mother’s influence. John Newton’s earliest memories were of his godly mother who, despite fragile health, devoted herself to nurturing his soul. At her knee he memorised Bible passages and hymns. Though she died when he was about seven, he later recalled her tearful prayers for him.

After her death, John alternated between boarding school and the high seas, wanting to live a good life but nonetheless falling deeper and deeper into sin. Pressed into service with the British Navy, he deserted, was captured, and after two days of suspense, was flogged. His subsequent thoughts vacillated between murder and suicide. “I was capable of anything” he recalled.

More voyagers, dangers, toils, and snares followed. I was a life unrivaled in fiction. Then, on the night of 9 March 1748, John, 23, was jolted awake by a brutal storm that descended too suddenly for the crew to foresee. The next day, in great peril, he cried to the Lord. He later wrote, “That tenth of March is a day much remembered by me; and I have never suffered it to pass unnoticed since the year 1748 – the Lord came from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.”

The next several years saw slow, halting spiritual growth in John, but in the end he became one of the most powerful evangelical preachers in British history, a powerful foe of slavery, and the author of hundreds of hymns. Here are some things you may not know about Newton’s most famous hymn. His title for it wasn’t originally “Amazing Grace” but “Faith’s Review and Expectation.” It is based in Newton’s study of 1 Chronicles 17:16-17: “King David….said “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet…..You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the rank of a man of high degree…”

And here’s a nearly forgotten verse that Newton added near the end of “Amazing Grace”: The Earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; But God, Who called me here below, shall be forever mine.

Then Sings My Soul, Copyright 2003, Robert J. Morgan, Thomas Nelson, Inc

Thank You For Waking Me Up

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for waking me up this morning”
To me this means although yesterday I was simply a broken vessel as You filled me up with water and whilst I was meant to be pouring you out to so many others I was leaking and wasn’t as useful as I could have been, You still in your mercy decided to give me life. It means You still believe that I will be of use. You’re giving me another opportunity to serve You wholeheartedly although yesterday I didn’t. So this opportunity you give me is not because I have earned it or deserve it because of what I’ve done but it’s simply because You’re full of grace and love. Thank You

Turkey, presents, carols and Christmas hats. Sounds like your typical family Christmas lunch doesn’t it? Well, this Christmas lunch took place around a very large table and the guests were not all from the same family.

On the 25th December 2013, Holloway Church decided to host a lunch for the homeless and other community members in need. Throughout the beginning of December, our church members collected donations of food items, clothes and toiletries to be gifted on the day and these were the highlight of the Christmas program. Our 25 special guests were greeted with a short carol service and then invited into the upper hall for a hearty three-course meal. After which, they were brought downstairs into the foyer to the ‘gift shop’. The generous church member’s donations brought wide smiles to the guest’s faces as they were directed to help themselves and fill shopping bags with whatever they wanted.

From tinned fish to toothbrushes to jeans, the ‘gift shop’ was a thoughtful and practical idea that proved to be just what our guests needed. One gentleman who had just been passing by the church and invited inside by an Elder remarked that he was “so glad he came” because his current shoes were full of holes and he left with a new pair of trainers, a coat and many food items. His excitement brought satisfaction to the member’s faces; many of which were young people in the church, encouraged by Pastor and Sister Gage and had given up their own Christmas day to help others. At the end of the day, we all agreed that it had been a success and we were glad we had come. It was also decided that we should hold the ‘gift shop’ more often.

Being able to offer those in need warmth, food and gifts reinforced our mission as Christians and although we do not know exactly what day Christ came to Earth; we do know what He came to do and through our Christmas Lunch, we believe we were able to help fulfil the work of Christ. 

To God be the glory.

 Hayley Mckenzie-Sealy

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Men’s Day at Holloway SDA church – November 30, 2013

Sabbath November 30 was not another Sabbath day of worship and of fellowship at Holloway SDA Church.   It was Men’s Ministries Day!  The Men occupied the driving seat all day from Sabbath School to Divine Worship and the AY.

The Sabbath’s events were the highlight of weekend packed with activities to celebrate our Men.  The theme for the weekend was ‘God’s Mighty Men’ (2 Samuel 23:8-39).  Elder M Pilgrim, speaker for the day, challenged the Men to stand up and be God’s Mighty as the Men of old. The Sabbath worship ended with prayer of rededication for Men to the service of God and to the community.

The Holloway Male Voice Choir was there, as always, on this colourful day in the church’s calendar.  We also were blessed with visiting family and friends from sister churches.

One of the surprises was the plagues awarded to three men voted ‘God’s Mighty Men’ for the year at Holloway SDA Church.  These men were recognised to have contributed to church life and also to God’s work.   The weekend events concluded with Men only prayer breakfast where the weekend’s theme was further explored with prayers and fellowship.