Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (14)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, this is my final blog for now. Thank you for reading my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the Bible.

`Not a cloud in the sky ` was a favourite saying of my Mums in her latter days. She loved the outdoors and she would have loved the clear blue sky that is above me today, as I write this week`s blog from my garden.

(Kev and Carole’s back garden)

I know I have said it before, but what a blessing the Spring and early Summer weather has been this year. It has certainly helped to make lock-down more bearable and enjoyable for many.

Some-days may have seemed grey on the inside; then one glance out of the window or a walk in the garden suddenly lifts the mood and changes the outlook, as you allow the sunshine into your day.

Last weekend, on my day off, Carole and I took our first trip of the year to the coast. We were longing to visit one of our favourite spots that was our regular retreat place before lock down.

Polly (the dog) was also well overdue a bath, that being a swim in the sea. For me, being by the sea is better than any tonic or Mint Mojito (A tasty Cocktail). On our arrival, there were clouds in the sky, but the Sun soon shone through and the clouds were soon forgotten. After Polly had finished her long swim, (she tends to keep going once she is in), we had a picnic lunch. After lunch we lay on the picnic rug and gazed at the blue sky…very romantic! Burdens were lifted and we had a lovely day.

Whilst reflecting back on the day, before going to sleep, I thought about how great our God is. He has already given me so much that I can delight in and find refreshment in. I lay there feeling grateful for all I had and thankful for living in such a beautiful part of the country. If the beauty of what I had seen during the day was just a taste of heaven, then WOW! As I began to feel restful and sleepy, I praised God for shining His light into my life and casting the shadows away.

`Let us acknowledge the Lord;
    let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
    he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
    like the spring rains that water the earth
.`( Hosea 6:3)

Remember on those grey days the Son is still there and shining. Acknowledge Him and allow His light to shine upon your face and refresh your soul.

Have a good week.

Kev

24th  June 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (13)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the Bible.

`Feel the presence of love wrapped up within a hug. `

                                                                                  (R. Hensel)

I found the quote above to be so true last Sunday. For the Cranes, it was Welcome Your Social Bubble Day and enjoy some great hugs. If anyone can give a good firm hug it is my granddaughter, in fact all my grandchildren can give a solid firm hug and yes you feel the love wrapped around you. I hope they felt my love wrapped around them, because feeling loved is one of the best feelings in the world. It was a special Sunday. At last Emily and the girls could join us for our traditional Sunday roast, as we could welcome them into our home again. I know Emily is my daughter, but I am so proud of her. She has coped so well with Lock down. Like many single parents, she has been spinning so many plates at once. Home schooling, working from home, keeping house, entertaining two young children, connecting in with Church and looking after her own wellbeing. She hasn`t complained, she has just got on with facing the demands of each day in the strength God has given her and supported by friends and family via media and phone calls.

After so many weeks, we are now able to come together and hug and support each other. Those firm hugs say so much, more than words could express.

I hope you have been able to meet up with loved ones also. Especially those of you that are alone. Hopefully some of you have been able to give and receive a great big hug. If not, I hope and pray that such a moment isn`t too far away for you. Of course, we can still express our love to those we are close to through words, emails, texts, a card or that good old-fashioned letter.

One of my Aunties has been in hospital, having had a severe stroke a few weeks ago. My Uncle hasn`t been able to visit her. They are elderly and it has been so hard for them both. Even in this tough situation, my Uncle has been able to video call his wife.  I am sure just hearing his voice and seeing his face has been a great source of comfort and help to Auntie. I don`t know what words they have shared, but I know of their devotion to one another and simple words exchanged will have been an expression of their mutual love.

To feel love uplifts our souls, brings healing, wholeness and joy into our lives.

`But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.`(Titus 3:4-7)

Some days we may feel alone, lost and perhaps we even utter the words` nobody loves me.` On such days, and we all have them, go back to the Bible verses above. God has shown the depth of his love for us through Jesus. I love the way `The Message` translation puts some of verse 5. For ` through the washing of rebirth…`

It says `He gave us a good bath.` As we are saved, we are soaked and renewed by the Holy Spirit which He pours out so generously through Jesus. What an expression of God`s amazing love.

God is love, allow Him to hug you and bathe you in His love today.

Have a good week.

Kev

June 17th 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (12)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the Bible.

How welcome the sound of rain was over the last weekend. I was so pleased to see the dry garden being soaked and the bare lawn watered. It would have been nice if the rain had come overnight, but my water butts are full and I am happy. On reflection, I am almost happy. Although, my bedding plants enjoyed a good drink, some provided a good meal for the slugs! Yes, the rain brought these slimy creatures out in force. On Sunday, I found myself picking slug after slug off quite a few diminished plants, gradually getting annoyed. A common battle for any gardener. Avoiding the use of pellets, I have tried the beer in a container idea, the problem is the dog enjoys a drop of beer and soon licks up every drop. That`s fine because the result is one happy dog, but it doesn`t help in the destruction of the beastly slugs.

Why did God create slugs?

Answers on a post card please! OK, I accept God created all kinds of creatures, including odd and strange ones, and they need to eat. I would prefer them to eat the weeds though and not my lovely plants.

Life is full of irritants both large and small. It is surprising how a little irritant can get into our lives and upset our happiness. A small niggle soon becomes a big niggle and takes over our emotions and thoughts. We get stressed and anxious.

That is not good for the soul.

What things really bug you?

Someone talking loudly on the phone for the rest of the bus to hear (remember those days of taking bus rides?)

Drivers who tailgate you?

People throwing litter on the ground?

Constant repeats on T.V.?

People not observing social distancing?

OK these are more of my bugbears also.

How important it is that we keep a grip on life and not allow these irritants to overwhelm us and disrupt our well – being. When things do irritate us, annoy us or stress us out then it is important to put into practise the words of Jesus:

`Come to me…`

This was the instruction Jesus gave those who were struggling and irritated by religious practises in Matt 11:28-29.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. (Amplified Bible)

Jesus is a good listener and He gives rest and peace to any troubled soul.

Keep calm and keep safe.

Kev

10th June 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (11)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the Bible.

One of the highlights of my week, during lock down, has been having chats with some of our Church attendees. I have certainly been given a motivation boost as some have shared new things that they have attempted during recent months. Here are just a few of the new achievements made or new things attempted by attendees at CornerstoneKLBC:

  • Completing a flat pack storage unit.
  • Spanish classes on-line
  • Attending Webinar seminars
  • Writing new songs
  • Art
  • Cooking new recipes
  • Growing produce for the first time
  • Decorating
  • Cutting hair
  • Buying and riding a bike
  • Making & sending greeting cards
  • Using Zoom
  • Home Schooling
  • Bird watching

I am sure there are many other new achievements that you could add. I have found it so inspiring to listen to people sharing their excitement over a new thing conquered.

Have I attempted anything new lately? Well I did cut the back of my wife`s hair today and it was OK….result!!  We are still together anyway.

I enjoy writing my weekly blog, which I started at the beginning of Lock down. I have redesigned a part of the garden and I have been riding my bike to the Church a couple of times a week. The latter isn`t new as I use to ride my bike to Church in 2018.

Last year I lacked motivation, but I have been inspired by others to get the bike out again and to use it. The glorious weather has helped also! I have read more books and I have tried a new exercise regime to replace my Gym visits.

So, my conclusion is that as we have been at home more, we have resisted procrastination. It would be so easy to settle into the comfort zone of our homes. We have been told to stay home and our homes have been a safe place for us during troubled times. The danger is that we settle in and don`t grasp the opportunity to use the time wisely and set ourselves new tasks to achieve. As the famous quote goes: `

Lock down continues to be an endurance test for us all. It isn`t easy to keep strong under endurance. From our chats, I know how difficult some of us are finding it. Paul reminds the Church in Thessalonica that endurance is inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus. He is our Hope each day and we will be inspired, as we spend time in His divine presence, to press on and to grow in new gifts and talents that may well inspire others.

`We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ` (1 Thess 1:3)

Be inspired! If you have achieved something new then do share it with us. Email cornerstoneklbcoffice@gmail.com

God bless and keep safe.

Kev

28th May 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (10)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the bible.

How things have changed over the past couple of months. The atmosphere and vibe in our neighbourhood is so different. There has been a shift of garden seats and tables from the back gardens to the front gardens. In the evenings, especially at weekends, folk are sitting in their front gardens and watching their children play on the green and nattering to their neighbours across the gardens. This takes me back to my childhood and glimpses of the past. My sister and I, along with the children of the neighbourhood, would roller skate on the pavements whilst parents watched from the front door steps and had a good natter over the fence. This period of time in our lives has not only seen a change in our lifestyle and circumstances, but I also believe we are seeing a cultural change as our social behaviour takes on a new normal. I say a new normal, but maybe our communities will be more like they used to be some years ago? I hope we keep talking and looking out for our neighbours. I hope our communities will be communities.

I am not sure if it is due to the times we are living in, or whether it is my age, but I am spending more time reflecting on the past. Little things trigger glimpses of the past, most days. For example, Eden our granddaughter sent us this lovely photo of herself.

 ( Eden)

Eden loves a hat and Carole and I both said:” That`s Emily (our daughter) all over. She also loved hats when she was a young girl. Carole and I enjoyed a short time chatting about our children growing up. Happy memories.

 (Emily)

People say: `don`t cling on to the past` and there is some wisdom in that as we need to look forward and move forward. However, I do believe that memories are important. Those happy glimpses of the past can be a comfort, a way of restoring hope and building faith.

In the Bible, the prophets reminded the people of Israel to remember what God had done for them in the past. This was when they were stuck in difficult circumstances and on the verge of abandoning God`s ways. God was urging them, through his spokesmen, to believe in Him, remembering the former things and what He had rescued them from. He was the same God who would bring them through again.

Paul, in his letter to the Church in Thessalonica says:

`But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. ` (1 Thess 3:6)

The times that Paul and his church leaders had spent with the Christians in Thessalonica had been happy and fruitful. Those times shared, became pleasant memories which formed a foundation block in their relationship, from which new things would come.

Now I know that Jesus encourages us not to look back, but those glimpses of the past (our pleasant memories) are important foundation blocks in our lives from which new things come. Let them be: reminders of God`s faithfulness and love toward you, gifts of blessing from our Father, whispers of encouragement when you feel a bit low, experiences used by God to shape you into who you are today and gifts that God has brought into your life for an eternal purpose.

Enjoy those glimpses of the past as they come into your mind.

God bless and keep safe.

Kev

20th May 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (9)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the Bible.

‘Stay Alert’ is an instruction we have heard a lot during this week. I must try harder on this, especially when I am found napping in the evening whilst Carole is telling me something important!

Last Sunday evening, like many, I tuned in for the latest update on Covid-19 lock down restrictions. The media had us convinced that there would be changes and changes there were. The changes delivered by our Prime minister were small but still seemed to have the power to muddy the waters and send many into confusion.

The public began asking questions like ` Do I go to work on Monday or not?`, or ` Can we meet with friends and family, still keeping a distance?` or ` As we are free to go out and exercise, can we now go to the Lakes for a walk?` I am sure our questions will get answered eventually.

The muddied waters will become clearer.

We had all got use to the slogan ` Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives` now a new slogan has been presented:

 The instruction ` Stay Home` may have been a difficult one for us social beings but it was a clear one. `Stay Alert` appears vague. The change implies that we can now go out from home, but we must stay alert. What does that actually mean? How do we stay alert to an invisible enemy like Covid 19?

Again, this is a question many have asked since Sunday evening. I turn to the Prime Minister to bring us some clarity:

He said: ‘Stay alert will mean stay alert by staying home as much as possible, but stay alert when you do go out by maintaining social distancing, washing your hands, respecting others in the workplace and the other settings that you’ll go to.’

Got it! The muddy waters are now clearer. I must stay alert to my actions and play my part in stopping this invisible enemy getting a grip.

This is not only true in our battle against Coronavirus, but it is essential for our battle against the Devil. Peter reminds early Christians of this who were suffering. In his letter he encourages them to:

`Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So, keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are! —will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. ` ` (1 Peter 5:8-11)

So, no napping in our spiritual walk …. stay alert, rebuke the enemy and save lives in Jesus name! .

God bless and keep safe.

Kev

13th May 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (8)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the bible.

Good `out of the blue` moments are always great to experience. You know those unexpected things that happen suddenly. As the origin of the saying describes: ` It’s as if the unexpected thing has just dropped out of the blue sky`. It was just another day as Carole and I tucked into our salad wrap lunch (very healthy!!) when an unfamiliar sound rang from the kitchen area. It was Carole`s face – time ring tone, which we hadn`t heard before and to our surprise it was our nephew, Darren, calling from Adelaide. We spent the next thirty minutes catching up on all the news from Australia, comparing lock down experiences and having a good laugh. How refreshing and unexpected. Maybe you have experienced similar `out of the blue` moments during this time of lock down as families and friends want to connect via phone or media more than ever. Darren`s call really cheered me up as I had been annoyed earlier in the day. A jogger had passed me whilst I was walking the dog and spat in the road. I said aloud “that`s not pleasant and out of order during this time of a Pandemic”. He may have needed to clear his throat, but hasn`t he seen the many NHS posters asking us to ` Catch it and Bin it`?

Each day brings it`s highs and lows and I always try to focus on the highs. The lows then just evaporate into thin air as I discover there are better and more enjoyable things to thank God for.

Now I know my low of the day, that`s the man spitting, was nothing compared to the lows some people are experiencing at the moment. For those people I hope and pray that some good `out of the blue` moments will come and ease the pain.

Job seemed to have many low moments didn`t he? Word of Job`s troubles reached three of his friends. ` Out of the blue, ` these friends set out to find Job. On seeing Job, they were distressed at what they saw. They just sat with Job on the ground and no one said a word for seven days. What amazing friend,s eh? Eventually Job speaks and one of the friends Eliphaz replies. He reminds Job of two important truths.

1: `Man is born to trouble as sure as the sparks fly upwards` (Job 5:7)

2:  `God is famous for great and unexpected acts; there’s no end to his surprises`.

Look at the rest of this passage, it is so inspirational:

`If I were in your shoes, I’d go straight to God,
    I’d throw myself on the mercy of God.
After all, he’s famous for great and unexpected acts;
    there’s no end to his surprises.

He gives rain, for instance, across the wide earth,
    sends water to irrigate the fields.
He raises up the down-and-out,
    gives firm footing to those sinking in grief.
He aborts the schemes of conniving crooks,
    so that none of their plots come to term.
He catches the know-it-alls in their conspiracies—
    all that intricate intrigue swept out with the trash!
Suddenly they’re disoriented, plunged into darkness;
    they can’t see to put one foot in front of the other.
But the downtrodden are saved by God,
    saved from the murderous plots, saved from the iron fist.
And so the poor continue to hope,
    while injustice is bound and gagged`. (Job 5:8-16 – The Message)

I am just so glad that there is always hope in whatever situation we find ourselves in. God is the God of the unexpected. He is the God of the `out of the blue` moments. Each day of this lock down time and whatever each day brings, I am going to remember the wise advice Eliphaz gave his friend Job: `If I were in your shoes Job, I`d go straight to God`

Do email the Church office if you have good `Out of the blue` moments to share.

God bless and keep safe.

Kev

6th May 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (7)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the bible.

One of the highlights of each week for Carole and I is the Thursday night clap for all Key Workers. The houses where we live form a circle round a green. This is great because as everyone comes out to clap, we can see one another and give a wave. The clapping has developed into saucepans being banged, a trumpet blasting and flags waving. The purpose of the clap is at the centre of our noise as we salute our neighbours, who are Key Workers at the hospital. A small idea of a clap that someone had, has now become a national weekly event across our country and across the world. Little things count and can grow into something huge and powerful. Isn`t this what Jesus tells us about faith?

`Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field……truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’

This small thing of a weekly clap in our neighbourhood has broken barriers and got neighbours talking. We are now looking forward to the VE celebrations as we have a front garden tea party. Each household has been asked to decorate their windows with bunting and we will go into our front gardens with a picnic. We will be apart but together, waving and raising a glass across the pavements. I can`t wait. It will be another chance to dress up in my 40`s gear!

What was a small housing estate where people kept themselves to themselves mostly, has now become a community of people chatting, looking out for people and caring. This is being duplicated throughout the nation and the world.

We all applaud our Key workers who lay their lives on the line each day for us. The images we see of doctors and nurses in tears as they receive: bouquets of flowers, cooked meals, special greetings and a national applause is a reminder to us all that little things matter.

I close this week`s blog with these words from a Dr Yohannan (Gospel for Asia):

One of the most powerful ways to see the Lord, on a constant basis, is to be aware of events that happen every single day, seeing God at work in the little things—the email you receive or the telephone call; a letter or just someone saying a word of encouragement; a song you heard or something you read. Perhaps you were driving on the road and switched lanes, only to realize that a change of lanes spared your life from a terrible car accident. The Lord orchestrates the circumstance of our life with His own hand. We need to develop a habit of seeing the invisible with the heart’s eye. Dr K.P. Yohannan

Thanks for reading these ramblings and enjoy giving and receiving those little things each day. God will use them and grow them.

God bless and keep safe.

Kev

30th April 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (6)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the Bible.

Talking to people across roads from one side of the pavement to the other seems to be the new normal and how good it is that this whole situation has got people talking, even if at a distance! This week I was chatting to one of the ladies I see regularly on my morning dog walk. Once the dogs had finished their usual noisy greeting of one another, we passed the time of day from either side of the road. The lady (I only know her as Amber`s Mum, Amber being a labradoodle) started the conversation by saying, ` I am beginning to go stir crazy now, being in most of the day`). How many of us feel a bit like that?

Keeping a focus is not always easy when each day seems much the same and usual routines and plans are put aside.

I am sure we have all been inspired by the heroic efforts of Captain Tom Moore. The 99-year-old war veteran has become the nation’s hero after raising nearly £28 million for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic. His goal was to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. Initially his focus was to raise a thousand pounds. He far exceeded his goal and he has achieved so much; a world record for raising the most money on the ` Just Giving` site, opening a `Nightingale Hospital` and reaching number 1 in the charts with Michael Ball.

It is amazing what we can achieve if we put our mind to it.

The apostle Paul understood the influence of one`s thoughts on one`s life. What a person allows to occupy his mind will sooner or later determine his speech and his actions. He writes:

`Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realised. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. ` (Phil 4:8-9 The Message)

Let us try and keep our minds focused on all that is pure and comes from God our Father. Even in lock down we can continue to move forward toward that which God has for us. He keeps on giving and He continues to lead us.

The footnote to this verse in my study Bible says: `The combination of virtues listed in Phil 4:8-9 is sure to produce a wholesome thought pattern, which in turn will result in a life of moral and spiritual excellence`

 `Here are my thoughts, Lord,

here is my mind.

Here are my deeds, Lord,

help me unwind.

Here is my strength, Lord,

here is my will.

Here is my life, Lord,

help me be still.

Here is my heart, Lord,

here is my hope.

Here is my love, Lord,

help me to cope.

Here is my time, Lord,

here is my might.

Here, I am thine, Lord,

bless me tonight.`

Text: David Adam – sung on the CD” Sacred Weave” – music by Keith Duke

Thank you for reading this week`s ramblings.

Stay safe, stay focused

Kev

23rd April 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (5)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the bible.

I love this time of the year especially as we enjoy such beautiful sunny days. There is so much colour and beauty around. The fresh green leaves opening out on the trees, the spring flowers and my favourite Lilac tree, in the garden, will soon be in full bloom.

As we spend more time in our homes, during this period of lock down, many of us are experiencing a greater appreciation of the good things, the gifts, our friendships and relationships and the great outdoors. We find we have time to walk and take in the beauty of God`s creation that we see all around us. What a wonderful gift sight is. Helen Keller says `Of all the senses, sight must be the most delightful`. Of course Helen Keller was blind.

I just can’t imagine what it must be like to be visually impaired. I have just finished reading a most inspiring book written by Dr Amit Patel. He tells his own story of how whilst working as a trauma doctor, he is struck by a rare condition which causes him to lose his sight within thirty six hours.Unable to continue the career that he had worked so hard for, he becomes totally dependant on others. He learns to use a white cane, but following one trip out when he was assaulted, he hits rock bottom. Amit refuses to leave his house for three months. He had been married a year and his wife was so supportive. Slowly he adapts to his new situation and with the eyes of a guide dog, he goes on to become a disability rights campaigner, fundraiser, an independent diversity, inclusion and accessibility consultant and a motivational speaker. *

I get frustrated because I have to rely on glasses to read etc. Carole will tell you how often I misplace my glasses. Recently, I was trying to read the instructions on a packet, without glasses, whilst cooking tea. I couldn`t do it and had to give in, find the glasses and accept I needed them.

As I read Amit`s story and see how my granddaughter, who is registered as a visually impaired person (VIP), cope with everyday life and achieve great things, I know I have no reason to moan or get frustrated. 

When we cannot see a way ahead, we rely on the guidance of another. For Amit his faithful and amazing guide dog became his eyes and guided him along the way.

Helen Keller also wrote:`The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.`

How true that is. Living by faith is a daily challenge. It often involves; stepping out into the unknown, trusting another who we cannot physically see and only seeing in part what is yet to be fully revealed.

Remember the words Jesus spoke to Thomas? `Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ (Jn 20:29)

Without Jesus we are spiritually blind. We rely on Him to open our eyes and to birth His vision, for our lives, deep within. He is our daily guide as He enlightens us and goes before us and walks alongside us.

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
    along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
    and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
    I will not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)

How lost I would be without Jesus in my life. I would never find my way through each day let alone life itself. Life would seem so dark and hopeless. A crisis would seem insurmountable and the purpose of my existence would seem of very little value.

I finish this week`s ramblings with the final words from Amit`s book

`I Hope my journey inspires you to be brave, be strong and ask for help. Remember you don`t have to do it alone`*

Thank goodness we have Jesus.

Keep safe.

Kev

*`Kika and Me`- Amit Patel – Macmillian

16th April 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog (4)

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the bible.

Music is a wonderful gift and look at how music is bringing people together during this period of social distancing. Virtual choirs have become most popular and a means of uniting people in one voice. Last week, I listened to a virtual choir called ` Couch Choir` singing the Carpenters hit ` Close to you`. People of all ages, some alone, others with partners and children united over the internet in harmony and music. It was both moving and uplifting and so good for the soul!

Music not only has the ability to unite us, it also soothes and calms. Music is therapeutic in so many ways as it often eases our stress and anxiety. Music is powerful as it can stir our spirit and bring to the surface memories of the past.

How often have you heard a track on the radio and immediately it takes you back to a previous moment in time? I only have to hear an ABBA track and I am back on the dance floor at the College disco. Mama Mia!

Music also has the ability to connect us spiritually with our creator God by helping us come into his divine presence.

There are many Bible references concerning music. Music has always been important in the worship of God for all people, Jews and Christians alike.

“Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!”

[Psalm 150:1-6]

The Psalms tell us that there are many reasons why we should praise God. These include his mighty deeds, his greatness, his love, his justice, his salvation, and everything that is so wonderful about him.

We all have different tastes in music. We have different gifts concerning music. Some are well blessed with musical gifting others are not. I fall into the latter. However, I can listen to music and enjoy the gifts of others as they sing, play and compose. Thank you Nathan for sending us those songs last week. What a blessing it was to listen to them.

Take time to enjoy music during this time of lock down. Let our Lord minister to you through the gifts of others and bless Him by offering your worship to Him .

Thank you for taking time to read this week`s ramblings. Keep safe.

Kev

9th April 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog 3

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog; an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the Bible.

There are those I have talked to recently who speak of how much they are enjoying having more time on their hands at the moment. We may have been forced into this new pace of life by Co-vid 19, but some are embracing new opportunities to spend time on a hobby or in the garden. One gentleman told me that he is so pleased to be able to tick some things off his long awaited `to do` list. A friend of mine speaks of his new found love for bird watching in the garden. My sister in Australia tells me about her wonderful spring cleaning, even though for her it is almost Autumn.

On my early morning walk with Polly, (my faithful canine companion), I have met more people than usual, walking and jogging. We exchange a `Good Morning ` across the road or at a distance. It`s nice and it is a pleasant change from my more solitary dog walk.

Some people speak of their struggles at this time. They feel that they have too much time on their hands and they miss their work mates or the freedom to meet up with a friend or neighbour for a cuppa in town.

My days seem just as busy as ever. Yesterday morning and afternoon I was in meetings for the Night Shelter via Zoom technology. Today, I walked round checking the Church building and spent time catching up on long overdue reports that I needed to complete. I then delivered food parcels to two families in West Lynn. I am now here writing this blog. I am a guy who likes structure and I am pleased to be able to continue to work. I feel for the many who are unable to work, like one of the families I helped out today. They were self-employed, but now they cannot work and are therefore struggling. Even in the shade of this crisis, lights shine as we reach out within our communities.

This crisis that we are living through is full of opposites: light and shade, contentment and restlessness, uncertainty and certainty, turmoil and peace, fear and confidence, despair and hope.

In the picture above we see a pretty garden and a bench. I love a bench! There is nothing like sitting on a bench overlooking the sea or a marvellous country view. In my garden, when the work is done and it is looking at its best, I love to park myself on my bench and take it all in. To me the picture gives this contrast of working and resting. Opposites coming together as they often do.

`Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So, don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way` (James 1:2- The Message)

The tests and challenges we face are tough sometimes. The emotions and thoughts we experience may seem dominant and negative. They need not defeat us if we embrace the good things that this situation brings. In the testing our faith in God will be exposed. If we use this time to seek Him and to enjoy a `sitting on a bench moment` praising Him for the amazing work he has done and is doing in our lives, our faith will mature and sustain us through it all.

Thank you for taking time to read this week`s ramblings. Keep safe.

Kev

3rd April 2020

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog 2

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog, an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the bible.

Goodness me, as each day progresses more restrictions develop. Another week on from my last ramblings and we are now in lock down as a nation. Well most of us are. I am sure I am not alone as I moan under my breath about those people that just carry on as normal and ignore the advice given by the government. I am not including key workers here of course. They are doing such an amazing job and taking huge risks themselves in doing it. Where would we be without them?

Lock down – what does that mean? It means staying at home and restricting our going out, except for obtaining essential supplies and for going a daily walk alone or with a dog. It actually means so much more than that for us. It means a loss of freedom and close physical contact with friends and family.  It means we cannot visit Carole`s poorly Mum in the Care home. It means we cannot pop into a café and enjoy a coffee with friends. It means an empty Church building as we cannot gather together to worship.

It means a quick lesson in how to use social media to stream services.

It is so easy to focus on the things that our lives have suddenly been stripped of, but at this strange time, I am trying to focus on the good things that are happening.

We have just had our first prayer meeting using the Zoom app on the internet. It was amazing as we could see all those that had connected in, on screen. It was the best attended prayer meeting we have had in years. That`s worth thanking God for.

Our first Sunday service, streamed through Facebook, was seen by over 100  people. Just think how many other Churches are live streaming their services now. This is a great opportunity Churches have, globally, to reach more people with God`s word.

I love the stories we are hearing of neighbours looking out for neighbours and of community initiatives that are being birthed.

The Health Secretary said during a daily briefing from Downing Street ‘This virus may isolate us but it will not separate us or break the cords that bind us` how true!

I am thankful that life has taken on a slightly slower pace, giving me time to reflect, read, study, pray and catch up with folk on the phone.

What this virus is doing is horrible. What started as a small infectious agent has spread throughout the world, living up to its name which in Latin translates, “slimy liquid” or “poison.” It robs people of life, it creates panic and it isolates people and communities. It is so easy to become overwhelmed by fear and anxiety at the moment, but in the midst of all that is happening there are positives if we look hard.

The act of giving thanks is a mind changer.

Philippians 4:6-7

 ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’

There is one thing far greater and more powerful than Covid-19 and that is the love that God has for us. His love unites us to himself and with one another. Take time to talk to Him and to thank Him for His presence and for the strength that He gives daily. As you connect with family and friends, over the phone or internet, also take time to stay connected to God. Bring him your thanksgiving, your cares and worries, your requests and your needs. Allow Him to change your burdens into blessings today.

Thank you for taking time to read this week’s ramblings. Stay safe and stay close to God.

24th March 2020

BLOG 1

Hello readers and welcome to my weekly devotional blog; an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and reflections on life and on the amazing truths that we find written in the Bible.

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” Isaiah 41:18-20

A few weeks ago I spoke at Church about the times when we find ourselves living in a kind of desert experience. You know those times when we may feel we are just wandering through each day with a lack of clear direction or purpose or when we feel spiritually dry and empty – times when we know our lives fall short of what God is asking of us and we just want to hide, but there is nowhere to hide. Times maybe, when things that really matter to us are taken away. Little did I know then, that a few weeks later, we would all find our lives affected by Covid-19. This pandemic sweeping across the world is stealing lives, changing lives and disrupting the rhythm of how we live; the rhythm of how we live at home, at work and as Christians in the community of church.  All that we considered normal and have maybe taken for granted such as; the freedom to meet for worship, the freedom to grab a latte with friends at the local coffee shop, the freedom to travel abroad, the freedom to walk into the supermarket and buy what we want, the list goes on and on.  We are being encouraged to self-isolate, to avoid physical touch, to connect more on line than face to face, to make use of all the social media platforms.

We have suddenly found ourselves in a kind of desert; we have certainly found barren supermarkets and people stock piling food etc in fear of going hungry and maybe thirsty. Let us try and keep a sense of God`s perspective on life as each day unfolds. God promises to plant in the wilderness the cedar, the evergreen trees.

Hey, God is at work in the midst of this global crisis! He will bring life out of it. He will use you and me to reach out either in person, if able, or over the phone or social media to share hope and to calm fears. He will create new ways of us doing things that will glorify His name, you watch! – Especially Sunday as we do our first live streaming of the sermon. Something I never envisaged!! He will draw communities together in new and modern ways. Our estate, like many other communities, has a community support initiative running on-line. It is the first time in thirteen years that homes in our streets have been able to link with one another, over social media, and support one another practically.

I think our communities will change through this, as will our Church communities. I must admit, I am excited to see what God creates in and through us during the weeks ahead. I feel a birthing of something new as the Old has been stripped away. Communities will not be the same and Church will not be the same. What it will be like I do not know. But it will be new and it will be of God.

Stay connected to God and to one another, the phone lines are still working!

 ` I the God of Israel will not forsake them…`

18th March 2020

There is one thing far greater and more powerful than Covid-19 and that is the love that God has for us. His love unites us to himself and with one another. Take time to talk to Him and to thank Him for His presence and for the strength that He gives daily. As you connect with family and friends, over the phone or internet, also take time to stay connected to God. Bring him your thanksgiving, your cares and worries, your requests and your needs. Allow Him to change your burdens into blessings today.

Thank you for taking time to read this week’s ramblings. Stay safe and stay close to God.

24th March 2020