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

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

Kevan`s Weekly Devotional Blog

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