LETTER FOR JANUARY 1989
MESSAGE FOR 1989
If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and he will give it to us.
THE LORD IS WITH US.
Do not be afraid of them.
The message for 1989 which heads up this first magazine of the year I believe is Godís message for us as we enter this year. God spoke to me powerfully by these words as I contemplated all that this new year holds, not least the decisions we will be faced with in regard to our Church Extension.
I see a strong parallel between the situation the Israelites were In at this time, and ourselves at the end of four and half years of ministry in this new parish.
Firstly, God has led us and blessed us greatly, as he blessed the Israelites. He had brought the Israelites to the borders of the promised land, having triumphantly led them through many difficulties, and given them victories over their enemies. God has triumphed these last four years over Satanís kingdom amongst us. Many have been brought from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God; and God has caused his work to grow to such a level, that the lovely church building we have been blessed with has become too small to cater for what he is doing for us.
Secondly, God brought the Israelites to a new land promised to them. A new phase of blessing and victory lay before them. God has brought us in a similar way to a new phase in his work here. Not just a new extension to our building, but the promise of further growth and blessing, and gathering in of precious souls into his kingdom. It is not merely an extension to our building, but the promise of extension in his spiritual kingdom which he will give when he has given us the facilities to cope with such blessing.
Thirdly, the Israelites were faced with a task beyond them in their own capacity and strength. They sent spies into the promised land. One spy for each tribe - twelve in all. They spied out the land. It was a good land as God had told them it would be, but they felt the people of the land were too powerful for them to overcome (Num. 13 v 28,29). The spies - 10 of them - felt the possession of the promised land beyond them, and spread the report amongst their own tribes, that Israel could not take the land (Num. 13 v 31-43). In other words they doubted God and rebelled against the Lord who had commanded them to go forward and possess the land (Num. 14 v 9).
We are at the same place of decision. We spy out the task before us. We may well say, as those ten spies said, that the task is beyond us. We may say in out hearts and even out loud to others that we should not go forward to build, and that the extension project is a mistake, and that the cost Is far too great and beyond our means. This would be, I believe, disobedience and rebellion against God.
The result of the Israeliteís disobedience and faithlessness was that they had to wander another 40 years in the wilderness, and none of that generation saw the promised land. I wonder in my mind how many churches have had to wander many years without blessing, and with declining growth, because they failed to believe and obey God at the moment of decision when God was telling them to go forward in faith and trust him. I donít want our church to suffer like the Israelites did, and see God withdraw his blessings because we could not trust him.
Fourthly, there is the words of Joshua and Caleb from which our message for 1989 are taken. These words are Godís message to us to go forward (Num. 14 v 8,9). God will lead us as we please him by faith and obedience. He will lead us to greater blessing than he has so far given us. He will be our provider and guide. THE LORD IS WITH US, therefore we need not be afraid of the difficulties. The Extension is impossible to us, but entirely possible to God who commands us to go forward and build It
Do you hear God speaking to us through the words of Joshua and Caleb? Let us take this message to heart. Let us act with the same faith, and not falter through fear and unbelief. Let us constantly remind ourselves we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Let us be obedient to his command, and not hang back through fear or unbelief. Let us encourage each other from these words.
Your servant for Christís sake,