Words of Comfort and Hope during a time of fear and trouble

Although this article was written shortly after the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the teaching and message applies to any war, conflict or trouble. It is quite a long article but it contains very important Biblical information which will help provide understanding and greatly strengthen faith. For this reason I do urge readers to take time out to go through it carefully and then to share with appropriate others. 

“In all our afflictions God Himself is afflicted”. Isaiah Ch 63v9.

As we look aghast at once again how humans abuse their God given gift of freewill, the gift that means we decide for ourselves what kind of person we are going to be in our attitudes, words and actions, we are reminded of the sobering warning in John Ch 3 v 19 “That light has indeed come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light.”

The invasion of Ukraine causing the greatest crisis in Europe since the end of The Second World War as well as the irrational threat to use nuclear weapons, reminds us of the prophecy in Luke Ch 21v 26 “that men’s hearts will faint for fear and expectation of those troubles coming on the earth”.

All these events have come as a seismic shock to many people, but it most certainly has not come as a shock to everyone. Millions of Christians across the world who accept Bible prophecy have not been taken by surprise and this shows the distinctive difference between those who love and serve the Lord faithfully and diligently, and those who don’t.

This difference can be summarised by the  moving description I came across in the wartime diary of a  Church minister when it appeared as though this Country was about to be invaded. He wrote “There is fear and despair all around; but not among those of us who are walking closely with the Lord.”

So what exactly is it that prevents those “walking closely with the Lord” from being fearful and despairing? For the sake of brevity, I am going to mention just two reasons out of many.

First of all, as they observe murderous chaos, as they see the innocent fall in the street, as they see man’s inhumanity to man; they are comforted by the knowledge that the Lord will redress all these wrongs in eternity. This is not the end of the story for such people who have suffered so much. There is not a pang of pain felt on earth which is not more than shared in heaven, as Isaiah Ch63 v9 reminds us. In the life beyond, at the time of Judgement, anyone who has suffered unjustly, anyone who had their earthly life snuffed out by evil, will be more than compensated in ways only the Lord Himself can do and which will be personal to their own set of circumstances. In Luke Ch 12vs 6-7 we are told that not even a single sparrow is forgotten by God, so how much more a human being, and we are told that “even the very hairs of our head are all numbered.” Luke Ch 21v18 reassures us that because of the precise nature of this judgement, “not a single hair of your head will be lost.” (See also the beautiful promise in Revelation Ch21v4 that “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes ….” And Proverbs Ch23v18 “For certainly there is a hereafter and your hope will not be cut off.”)

And of course, this is exactly what we would expect from God Who is infinitely Holy, Just and Loving. The gift of freewill could only ever be given, if there is to be a future time of accountability and redress which is precisely why Scripture teaches “The fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs Ch 9v10). It is often said that if those who carry out atrocities knew what lay before them (unless they repented), then they wouldn’t sleep easy in their beds at night.  “If the righteous are scarcely saved from the judgement to come, what will happen to the wicked and ungodly?” (1st Peter Ch 4v 18). Christians take comfort in the knowledge that God’s character of Holiness, Love, Righteousness and Justice will be totally and utterly vindicated on that Awesome and Fearful Day.

The second reason why Christians have great hope for the future, is of course the ultimate promise of the return of Jesus Christ in order to prevent humanity destroying itself. Bible prophecy clearly states that God will never permit the human race to be destroyed and in the face of mad threats about the use of nuclear weapons, this explains why Christians are able to remain calm. The future of the human race does not lie in the hands of Russia or China; the future of this world will not be decided by a Russian-Sino Alliance or whatever else may happen in the years ahead.

There are numerous prophecies referring to this promise such as in Matthew Ch 24 v 22. In this verse Jesus states that no matter how severe future conflicts may become, “for the sake of the righteous, the days of those conflicts will be shortened so that the world will survive.”

Again, every Christmas when churches conduct The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, one of the readings comes from Isaiah Ch9 vs 6-7. The first part states “For unto us a Child is borne, unto us a Son is given”.  This refers to the birth of Our Lord in Bethlehem. It then continues with a prophecy, “And the government will be upon His shoulders and His name will be called Wonderful Councillor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, and of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end…”  This part is fulfilled at His Second Coming to the world. From then on, the government of the world will rest upon His shoulders. (Isaiah Ch 2v4 further predicts that when He returns, He will judge the nations, armies will be forced to beat their weapons into ploughs and “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”) The next reading in the service comes from Isaiah Ch11. In verses 6-9 it states that upon His return even the laws of nature will be restored to their original condition before sin had entered the world. “The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the young goat…the cow and the bear will graze and the lion will eat straw like an ox.” St Paul referred to this in Romans Ch8vs 19-21 describing how the decay we see in nature, will one day be reversed and nature will be returned to its original perfect condition.

Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with such promises about the Second Coming. There are estimated to be 1,845 references in the Old Testament and of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are 318 references to it, making an average of one in every 30 verses.  They describe how His return will restore peace, justice and harmony to the world, as well as put an end to disease and poverty. For Christians the promise of His return is indeed like a light at the end of the tunnel; a light of hope that can never be quenched by the actions of any dictator or any weapon.

And His return won’t just usher in peace, prosperity and restore the laws of nature, it will also bring an end to wickedness, greed and corrupt behaviour. In Revelation Ch 12v 5 we are told that “He will rule the nations of the world with a rod of iron”. The “rod of iron” symbolises strict law and order. No longer will people be afraid of being robbed, attacked, raped, murdered, and kidnapped or whatever. The world will be a perfectly safe place, wherever one might travel.

Immediately upon His return there will be a time of Judgement with everyone being called to account for their attitudes and actions, as it states in 2nd Corinthians Ch5vs9-11, “We make it our aim to be well pleasing to Him, because we must all appear before the Judgement seat of Christ….knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men to repent…”. (See also Hebrews Ch4 vs 12-13, “all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to Whom we must an account”.) It will be at this point that the prophecy in Romans Ch 14v11 and Philippians Ch 2v10 will be fulfilled; “At the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow”.

Matthew Ch 25 vs 31-46 also vividly describes how people will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will say to the wicked “When I was hungry, you gave Me no food, when I was thirsty, you gave Me no drink, when I was a stranger, and you did not take Me in….And they will say, ‘When did we see You Lord, hungry and thirsty or a stranger?’ And He will answer ‘inasmuch as you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to Me.” Notice in this parable that Our Lord so identifies with those who suffered that He states that inasmuch as you didn’t help them, you didn’t help Me.

Matthew Ch 7 vs21-23 states that at this time a clear distinction will be drawn between those who are genuine in their repentance and striving to obey Him, from those who are not. In verse 21 Jesus warns 

Sadly this shows that there will be a vast group of individuals who think they are Christians but who are not.  They may indeed go to church services and even raise their hands in praise, but the reality is that they have never given their heart to the Lord. (Matthew Ch 15v8). He isn’t first their heart or first in their lives, in spite of the great Price paid by Him for their salvation. (1st Corinthians Ch6v20 and Hebrews Ch2v3). They do not obey Him first and foremost. They don’t know Him personally and don’t have a real and living relationship with Him. They have not made Him the Lord of their life and He is not their first love. (Revelation Ch2v4).  Being a Christian means loving the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbour as ourselves. (Matthew Ch22vs 37-40) Those who  “talk the talk”, but don’t “walk the walk” will be revealed on that Day and it behoves us all to regularly examine our hearts to make sure that our relationship with the Lord really and truly is the most important thing to us. Let us regularly ask ourselves, how does our heart, mind, attitude and life look, under the intense scrutiny of a Holy God?

These were the questions which challenged Lieutenant General Sir William Dobbie, (who was Governor of Malta during The Second World War), when he was a young man. He wrote, “I realised for the first time that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had come down to this earth for the express purpose of laying down His life as the atonement for my sin, in order to deliver me from its penalty and power, so that I might go free. Burdened as I was with the guilt of my sin, I realised that this remedy exactly met my need. I then and there accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour. As time passed I entered more and more into the meaning and implications of this wonderful transaction. This was the turning point in my life.”

Years later, as an old man looking back on his life he added “Vital and uninterrupted contact with our Heavenly Father is the most wonderful thing in the world.” This intimate relationship is the reward which comes by truly putting the Lord first in our hearts. Sadly, there are many who think they know Him, but they are merely deceiving themselves.

Wing-Commander Edward Howell, also experienced this intimate relationship when he gave his heart to the Lord. During The Second World War, he was taken as a prisoner of war by the Germans but his personal life was in such a mess he felt that the real prison he was in, weren’t actually the stone walls around him, but the stone walls within. He had major personal issues and he knew he would never be free until he could deal with those issues and lay them to rest.

He wrote afterwards, “What if God could set me free from being my own prisoner? I decided to try. As I lay there in the darkness and despair of my prison cell, far from home, I gave myself and all I have to God-for better for worse, for richer for poor, in sickness and in health, forever. I entrusted Him with my life, my possessions, my career, my family and my friends. I committed myself to choose what was right, to do and to be, from then on, in so far as I could honestly see it. At that moment of decision, God spoke to me. It was as though by that simple act of will, I had switched on the light in a dark room. I saw the meaning of things for the very first time. With an intense thrill, I perceived ‘God is Love’, and I began to see what that meant for me personally. My heart filled and overflowed. This was home at last, where you loved and were loved beyond all knowing. Nothing could ever separate me from it, so long as I chose to stay there. I was free at last and no walls or sentries could take my freedom from me, so long as I chose God’s way. I found myself praying, a thing I had not done for ten years or more. I was ecstatically happy and tears of joy flowed down my face. I now knew the secret of living.”

Let us not be overly disturbed by world events around us, but let us have faith and trust in the promises and prophecies of Scripture.

Truly, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not be afraid.” Psalm 46v1. “There is fear and despair all around; but not among those of us who are walking closely with the Lord.”

Free film for the use of Churches, Bible study and Prayer groups

The Wartime Miracles Leaflet which was posted to 25,000 churches across the British Isles two years ago has now been turned into a free film, ideal for use during these distressing times.

This ten minute film initially explains how the Lord answered the prayers of the Nation, bringing about the Miracle of Dunkirk with a calm sea descending upon the English Channel. It then goes on to show how the Nation has turned away from Him and rejected His Commandments. As the film points out, "How can a Holy God bless or protect a Nation from evil, while it rejects His Laws?".

This punchy film will cause much soul searching and is a clarion call for both personal and National Repentance. While on the one hand it clearly shows that the Lord is willing and able to deliver a Nation, showing that help is indeed available, it also soberly explains that such Divine help is conditional upon repentance. In short, the film explains that there is hope, but only through repentance. The widespread sharing of this film will both inspire and challenge those with faith and those with none.

"Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear, but your iniquities have separated you from your God so that He will not hear." Isaiah Ch. 59vs 1, 2.

The film can be viewed either below, by clicking on the link or by visiting YouTube and searching for "A Dramatic Answer to Prayer. The Miracle of Dunkirk".

Wartime miracles and a national scandal

There is an old fable which tells the story of two spiders, one the mother and the other her son. The story goes that mother spider made a lovely home in her web and she suspended this web from a single strand hanging from a tree branch far above. One day, her son paid a visit. As he surveyed her home he noticed this single strand seemingly ascending into empty space. Thinking it useless he cut it and instantly to his horror the whole web fell and was destroyed.

The spiritual lesson behind this fable is very simple. Many people today look back upon the wartime generation and regard their faithful belief in Almighty God as something really strange and peculiar. As a minister I have often heard comments like “Oh Granny and Grandad went to church every Sunday. I don’t know why”. Or “Granny read her Bible every day. How boring that must have been!” They might occasionally add “We have no interest in anything like that, being religious is a waste of time.” It is this kind of attitude which has led many people today to cut the thread of faith in God which supported previous generations and now to their horror the whole structure of our society has collapsed in a myriad of social and moral problems.

That thread, that faith in God; that Hope in Him, that Eternal Light which could never be extinguished, is precisely what kept previous generations going, through war and bloodshed. Today’s generation has largely dismissed this faith as being unimportant and we see the ruinous results all around.

It is often said that the past is like another country with regard to belief and behaviour and I am reminded of this truth time and again as I study the attitudes of those who experienced wartime. As a minister for over thirty years I have immersed myself in researching wartime events from both World Wars. I have personally talked to those who served in the trenches during the First World War and I have talked to numerous ex-service personnel from the Second World War. It has been a unique privilege to have been able to do this and I can say with total conviction that an underlying faith in Almighty God was absolutely integral to keeping people in this country strong and keeping them going. They believed that God was real and in turn they witnessed profound examples of God being at work in this world of chaos which men have made.

An example of just how strong and how widespread this belief in God really was, can be seen in the response of people, when King George 6th called for a National Prayer Day at the time of the Dunkirk crisis. In May 1940 when France had fallen and the British Army was trapped at Dunkirk where they were to be annihilated, King George 6th called for a National Day of Prayer to plead for Divine Intervention. So widespread and so deep was faith in God that literally millions of people flocked into churches to pray. The special service held in Westminster Abbey was so inundated that there is a famous photograph showing a queue a quarter of a mile long as people desperately tried to get in to pray. That’s how important and how widespread faith was in that generation. They knew God was real and they knew He could be petitioned through heartfelt prayer. The result of that National Day of Prayer was of course the miracle of Dunkirk, without which none of us would be here today.

History shows that the faith of that generation was regularly rewarded. Only those who study the events of the Second World War can fully appreciate just how close we came to losing the war and losing our freedom. The facts show that at numerous crisis points when it seemed all was lost, the people of this nation witnessed God’s Hand at work, changing what should have been the natural outcome of an event into a deliverance.

Recently I came across an article written by no less a person than the actual head of the British and American Planning Staff, the body responsible for planning D-Day and the liberation of Europe. He was in the unique position of knowing fully what was happening on the war front. His name was Lt General Sir Frederick Morgan and he wrote this article two years after the end of the war, as he looked back on events. These are his words;

“Miracles still happen. How many of them have we not seen enacted before our eyes in these past few years? There was Dunkirk and its flat calm sea. Who planned that? We saw no way out barring a miracle. Then came the miracle. Two years later, the British and American military convoy was sailing in order to land in North Africa. All the enemy submarines were on the lookout. A breath-taking moment came when a U-boat caught sight of the tall ship of one convoy. The rest of the convoy was obscured by a squall that appeared to be travelling along with our ships providing cover. The result was that the Nazi observer thought that what he saw was merely worthy of routine report. Then just as General Patton was due to land on the Casablanca beaches, open to the full Atlantic swell, at the very moment it seemed inevitable that the whole affair must be called off, the wind changed from on-shore to off-shore and let the small craft land successfully. There was surely more than human planning here too. Then there was the miracle of D-Day in 1944 with a last minute change in the weather. The history of other theatres of war tell of many similar happenings.”

When you read the reflections of those who were in authority, individuals who had direct knowledge as to what really happened behind the scenes during the War, they all describe the same thing. An over whelming sense of Divine Intervention at critical moments.

Wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill is another example. He like Morgan knew everything that was going on. Towards the end of 1942 as the tide turned in the War he wrote, “I sometimes have a feeling of interference. I want to stress that. I have a feeling sometimes that some Guiding Hand has interfered. I have a feeling that we have a Guardian because we have a great Cause and we shall have that Guardian so long as we serve that Cause faithfully.”

Then there is the testimony of Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding. He was the actual Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. He knew all too well what was really going on and how desperate things were. After the Battle was over he wrote, “I pay homage to those gallant boys who gave their all so that our nation might live...but I say with absolute conviction, that I can trace the intervention of God, not only in the Battle itself, but in the events leading up to it. At the end of the Battle one had the feeling that there had been some special Divine Intervention to alter some sequence of events which would otherwise have occurred.”

Or what about the account of General Sir William Dobbie who was Governor of Malta during its siege which began in 1940. It was absolutely vital that this outpost be held from the Germans because its capture was key to gaining control of the Mediterranean Sea. Looking back he wrote, “God in His Mercy, answered our prayers and in the two years and more of the siege, His help was very obvious and very real…. God’s protecting Hand was so much in evidence that on a number of occasions officers came up to me and said quite spontaneously ‘Do you know sir, I think Someone up there (pointing upwards) has been helping us today.’ Such conversations took place not once nor twice but a number of times.” Dobbie was so overwhelmed with the sense of God’s help during the siege that he later wrote a book about it entitled “A Very Present Help”.

And then there is the testimony of General Eisenhower. Eisenhower was none other than the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces responsible for D Day and the ultimate liberation of Europe. Like the others I have quoted, he too held a unique position where he knew everything that was going on. In June 1952 as he reflected on the events of D Day he stated “This day eight years ago, I made the most agonising decision of my life. I had to decide to postpone by at least 24 hours the most formidable array of fighting ships and of fighting men that was ever launched across the sea against a hostile shore. The consequences of that decision at that moment could not have been foreseen by anyone. If there were nothing else in my life to prove the existence of an Almighty and merciful God, the events of the next 24 hours did it…The greatest break in a terrible outlay of weather occurred the next day and allowed that great invasion to proceed, with losses far below those we had anticipated…”

When the war in Europe ended in May 1945 with the surrender of Germany, Field Marshall Montgomery, Commander in Chief of the 21st Army Group sent a personal message to all the Troops under his command. In his position as Commander in Chief he too had knowledge about what had really gone on during the War. My uncle served under him and he passed onto me a copy of this personal message. The opening part of the message sent to all troops, goes like this; “On this day of victory in Europe I feel I would like to speak to all who have served and fought with me during the last few years….We all have a feeling of great joy and thankfulness that we have been preserved to see this day. We must remember to give praise and thankfulness where it is due. ‘This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes’.” (Psalm 118v23).

I have quoted from six highly intelligent and gifted individuals who held the most profound key positions during the Second World War. These people where the most informed and knowledgeable of any in the Country and as they reflected on events, they recognised that Almighty God had answered the prayers of the Nation as it pleaded for His Intervention. The wartime generation knew God was real, they knew He would listen to prayer offered in a spirit of humility and repentance, and in turn their faith was rewarded with deliverance.

And just as there were great and mighty deliverances through wartime, there are also numerous examples of small and localised instances of Divine help. Listen to this personal letter written from a soldier to his mother. The soldier was called Joel, he was serving in Patton’s Third Army and he describes how the entire platoon narrowly escaped being wiped out as it faced the Germans in Luxembourg. He wrote “One of my best friends, Tom, with his whole platoon were pinned down by mortar and artillery fire. They were given the order to move but they couldn’t because the enemy had full view of them from a hill and were zeroing their fire on them accurately. Tom is the most conscientious Christian boy I have ever met in the services. He knew something had to be done to save the fifty men. He crawled from his foxhole and looked things over. Seeing the hopelessness of the situation, he lay down behind a tree and prayed earnestly for God to help him. This is true mother…after he prayed a mist or fog rolled down between the two hills, and the whole platoon got out of their foxholes and escaped. They reorganised in a little town behind the lines where there was a church building. They all went in and knelt down to pray and thank the Lord, and then they asked Tom to take the service. This is true mother, and it just shows how much prayer can mean. If that was not an answer to prayer I don’t know what is.”

In April 1945 the Bishop of Chelmsford Dr Henry Wilson wrote in the press, “If ever a great nation was on the point of supreme and final disaster and yet was saved and reinstated, it was ourselves. That is a fact which should be written on the souls of us all in indelible letters of fire. It does not require an exceptionally religious mind to detect in all this the Hand of God. It has been a miracle and the person who does not recognise that, is impervious to the deeper significance of events.”

Challenging people as to why we had been saved, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr William Temple said in his sermon at St Paul’s Cathedral on Battle of Britain Sunday in 1943 “Why has God preserved us? We may, and we must believe that He Who led our fathers in ways so strange, and has preserved our land in a manner so marvellous, has a purpose for us to serve in the preparation for His perfect Kingdom.”

It is plain to see that between the wartime generation and today’s generation the thread of faith has broken. In matters of faith it really is like a different Country between then and now. Just imagine if those individuals whom I have quoted, individuals who had personally witnessed God’s intervention first hand, were by some miraculous means sent back to speak to our Nation today, what do you think they would say? Their message would surely be; “This Nation must take Almighty God seriously and people must take the Bible seriously. They must carefully apply the Lord’s will, as revealed in Scripture, to their own personal lives because faith does matter, it makes all the difference; it is the single strand that holds the whole web secure.” But along with this message I think they would also have a question to ask of those holding positions of influence. They would surely want to know why the events they witnessed which were so profound and are so well documented, are at the same time so rarely taught, talked about or even mentioned in churches, Parliament or schools today. This is a National Scandal and a betrayal of the very freedoms and democracy which this generation claims to appreciate.

Faith is so important after all, that if it hadn’t been for the faithfulness of the wartime generation praying to Almighty God, none of today’s generation would ever have been born. This truth needs to be expounded from every pulpit and taught in every school, right across this Nation of ours. “Thank you Granny for reading your Bible every day and going to church. Your faith and the faith of your generation meant I could live.”

We must urgently pray for our nation

Guidance notes for prayer and reflection. Please circulate and share with others.

  • What is my own personal standing before the Lord? For Almighty God to hear my prayer for the Nation, I myself need to be in a right relationship with Him. We come before God’s Throne of grace trusting not in our own righteousness but His Mercy.
  • Psalm 107v34 “A fruitful nation will become impoverished because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.” Proverbs Ch14v34 “Righteousness will exalt a nation but sin will destroy any people.”
  • Pray most especially for the repentance of the Nation and that people may come to truly know the Lord and follow Him. May there be heartfelt repentance at the neglect of His Church and His Laws.
  • We have driven the Lord Jesus Christ out of our culture, out of our government and out of the education of our children. In the void we have replaced Him with idols, greed, carnality, materialism and immorality. We have polluted the land with pornography, profaned the sacred and sanctified the profane. No Nation that does this can expect God’s blessing of protection to remain.
  • Many people are increasingly frightened by events around them. This world and this Country is in turmoil. Nationally we are in a mess socially; morally, politically, economically and spiritually. Pray that people may humbly seek God’s guidance and help regarding these issues.
  • Pray for the protection of the Nation from acts of terrorism and that God may show mercy rather than judgement upon a Nation that has rejected His Laws and Commandments. We urgently need His blessing of protection from the threats around us and within.
  • A Nation or Society will reap what it sows. Ask that God may open the hearts and minds of the spiritually blind in order that they may see that the way of salvation, peace and safety lies in following Him.
  • Pray that the Lord may raise up Godly people to take on positions of responsibility and influence. The Church is a battleship and not a passenger liner which means that every devout “able bodied” Christian has a role to play in some way. Pray that Christians may recognise their responsibility to be a strong Christian witness wherever they are. Every Christian is a missionary and every unbeliever a mission field.
  • Pray for the Queen, royal family and political leaders. Pray that God will raise up more Christians to guide and direct the thoughts of the Nation. The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. For example, pray that the Lord may call more Christians to be pastors and clergy, politicians and journalists, judges, magistrates and law makers, teachers, councillors, school governors, nurses and doctors etc, in order that a Christian influence may extend throughout every strata of Society.
  • Pray for greater support for Christian run charities, missionary societies and organisations both at home and overseas.
  • Pray that while being bold in our Christian witness we remain gracious, kind and loving towards those with whom we disagree.
  • Pray for those Christians who have lost their jobs or livelihood because of their faithfulness to Christ.
  • Pray that the issues arising out of the EU referendum will drive us toward, rather than away from God. Pray that God in His Providence will overrule the events of these troubled times to advance His Kingdom.

In Conclusion, as Christians we seek God’s mercy, forgiveness, healing, restoration, protection and revival upon our Nation. A true spirit of repentance will result in such blessings. Let us be encouraged by the moving promise in 2nd Chronicles Ch7v14 “If my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

Take heart and be of good courage. The Lord can save by many or by few. See 2nd Chronicles Ch14v11. Also remember the story of Gideon and his 300 (Judges Ch7) and the reassurance given to weary and distressed Elijah when the entire nation seemed all but lost. (1st Kings Ch19vs11-18).

Suggested bible readings:

Joel Ch 2 vs 12 onwards
Isaiah Ch 58
Isaiah Ch 59 vs 1-8
Jonah Ch 3
Psalm 130
Daniel Ch 9 vs 4-19

“O God, Who has graciously preserved our Nation through two World Wars, and hast led us in wondrous ways; we confess that as a Nation we have turned far from Thee and have neglected our national responsibilities before the World; we have misused the liberty for which men and women gave their lives, we have pursued pleasure and not the Living God; we acknowledge that You will not bless or deliver our Nation from the future enemy until we have returned to Thee. Therefore we entreat Thy Divine Majesty, to turn the hearts of the people of this Nation to true repentance. Purge out the sins that dishonour Thee. Give us true religion; crown our faith with righteousness, and lift us up, a holy people, to Thy praise and honour, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

To read about how God delivered our Nation against overwhelming odds, through two World Wars, click on the topic entitled “National Deliverance” located towards the bottom of the right hand index.

Please do share these prayer topics, readings and the above information with other Christians so that they too can use them and be encouraged in spirit.

The urgent need for national repentance

This year on St Georges Day (23rd April) many Christians attended prayer vigils across the UK, focusing in particular on the state of the Nation. Nationally we are in a mess, socially, morally, politically, economically and spiritually. We have driven the Lord Jesus out of our culture, out of our government and out of the education of our children and the result has not been peace and harmony but turmoil and discontent. Many people are frightened not just by world events but they are also frightened by what they see happening here on our own soil and in our own society. Each day, many watch the news with a certain sense of trepidation wondering “What has happened now?” It is against this backdrop that numerous Christians across the country met up to pray.

In Psalm 107v34 it states “A fruitful nation will become impoverished because of the sinfulness of those who dwell in it,” and in Proverbs Ch14v34 it adds “Righteousness will exalt a nation, but sin will destroy any people.” With this teaching in mind, they prayed that people in this Country would really come to understand why we are in such a mess and that this insight would then be followed by a spirit of true repentance.

Some time ago I came across a story which clearly explains this Biblical truth. Several years ago a certain woman had a strange dream. In her dream she found herself wandering around some shops in a large shopping centre. All of a sudden she noticed a particular shop which took her fancy. She wandered in and found the Lord Jesus behind the counter. Jesus then said, “You can have anything your heart desires.” Astounded, she immediately asked for “peace, joy, happiness, wisdom and freedom from fear”. Then she added, “And not just for me, but for the whole of the Country.” Jesus smiled and then said, “I think you misunderstand Me. We don’t sell the finished product, we only sell the seeds.”

In Galatians Ch 6v7 it warns “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that he will also reap.” This verse could just as easily read, “For whatever a nation or society sows, that it will also reap.” God wants to bless our nation and our individual lives; He wants us to enjoy good things. He wants to deliver us from the misery of sin and to give blessings of protection and deliverance. The problem is that over many decades we have refused to plant, tend and nurture the seeds which would have grown into these blessings. Instead, there has been an increasing neglect of His Church and His Laws; the very things which would have brought blessings.

As a people we have sown “the wrong seeds”. We have gone our own selfish ways, let ourselves become
consumed by greed and materialism and ignored God’s will for our personal lives. What message does this give to Almighty God, Who so loved us, that He sent His own Son to die on the Cross for our sins? Was the Cross some trivial thing? Was the sending of His Son some minor act of no great consequence? The Bible describes God’s Gift of His Son as being so stupendous it is “indescribable”. In spite of this, since the end of the Second World War, our Nation as a whole has rejected God’s Gift and while God would love to shield and deliver us from trouble, we have consistently refused to obey those very Laws and Commandments which would have brought blessings of peace and protection. As a nation and as a society we are now reaping what we have sown.

Many politicians and economic experts have come up with all sorts of packages and ideas on how to sort out the problems confronting our Country– but this is really just tinkering with the symptoms, not dealing with the cause. The root cause of the problems we have is a spiritual one – and being spiritual, then only a spiritual solution will solve it.

Today I read from an ancient source of wisdom which gives the answer to all our problems. This ancient source goes back many millennia and has been passed down from generation to generation. Previous generations who followed its teaching in the UK used to be very much in the majority, but in this present age they are temporarily very much in the minority. These people know the real answer to our national problems. The Ancient Book is of course the Bible, and those who follow its teachings are devout Christians who genuinely take Almighty God and His Commandments seriously.

Scripture teaches that the solution to our national decline and the disintegration of our society is wholehearted “National Repentance”. There needs to be a genuine and widespread change of heart, whereby the people of this Country repent of their disobedience, selfishness and greed, and start obeying the Laws of God, both in their hearts and in their daily lives. Instantly, this would allow God to bless, protect and prosper us, as He did so in previous generations. Almighty God regularly intervened to help previous generations and He can do exactly the same for our generation, provided there is a true spirit of repentance and change of heart regarding His Commandments.

When Britain was close to defeat during the Second World War, and the entire British Army was trapped at Dunkirk, in desperation King George 6th called for a National Day of Prayer to be held on 26th May 1940. In a national broadcast he called for the people of the UK to turn back to Almighty God in a spirit of repentance and plead for Divine Intervention. Literally millions of people across the British Isles responded to his call and flocked into churches humbly praying for deliverance.

Two events immediately followed. Firstly, a violent storm arose over the Dunkirk region grounding the Luftwaffe which had been killing thousands on the beaches. And then secondly, a great calm descended on the Channel, the like of which hadn’t been seen for a generation, which allowed hundreds of tiny boats to sail across and rescue 335,000 soldiers, rather than the estimated 20-30,000. God’s response to the National Day of Prayer was so clear and so dramatic, people referred to it as “the miracle of Dunkirk”. Sunday June 9th was officially appointed as a Day of National Thanksgiving.

National Days of Prayer where held at several crisis points throughout the War and after each one, God responded with His blessing and protection. Looking back at these events the Bishop of Chelmsford Dr H.A. Wilson wrote, “If ever a great nation was on the point of supreme and final disaster, and yet was saved and reinstated it was ourselves…it does not require an exceptionally religious mind to detect in all this the Hand of God.”

What God dramatically did for that generation, He can also do for ours. Our Nation urgently needs His help and protection. May we, like the Wartime generation before us, turn to God in a true spirit of repentance and plead for Divine help. In 2nd Chronicles Ch7v14 He promises, “If people humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.” If our Nation, once again sought God’s help as it did during Wartime, now, just as then, miracles of blessing and protection would begin to happen.

Look carefully at the evidence

Some years ago a university professor took a small group of students on a field trip into desert country for intensive study. Miles from civilisation, their vehicle broke down and the group set out on foot to complete an estimated three-day trek back to their campus. After two days of hard travel, they came to the summit of a huge sand dune. Thirsty and sunburnt, they looked around them and to their delight, far off in the distance, they clearly saw a lake with small trees surrounding it. They jumped and screamed for joy. Their professor, who prided himself on understanding desert phenomena remained calm. He explained that what they were witnessing was a mirage. It was just an optical illusion.

A rather unpleasant argument followed. The professor insisted that he knew best because he was an expert in this sort of thing. The fact that they could see the trees and see the lake in the distance was no proof it was real. The argument ended with the students walking off one way, while the professor went in the opposite direction. He made them promise that after they discovered it was a mirage they would stay put and wait for him to return with help.

It took the students three gruelling hours but finally they arrived at a plush new desert resort which had only recently opened. It had four swimming pools and six restaurants. Two hours after that, they set out in a Land Rover with rangers to search for the professor. He was never found.

This true story has a spiritual parallel because it is a reminder of the way in which two different groups of people view Holy Scripture. The first group represented by the students, after making a proper investigation of Scripture, take what the Bible teaches “at face value”. In other words when they see with their own eyes a command in Scripture, they realise that what they see is true and therefore something which must be obeyed. When they read verses calling for people to repent, they recognise those verses as having come from God; when they read that people “mustn’t be deceived, because the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (1st Corinthians Ch6 v9), they take it to heart, and when they study verses of prophecy, they accept that one day those prophecies will indeed be fulfilled. They see these things in God’s Word and because they have properly looked at the claims of Scripture, they realise that they are true.

The second group is represented by the professor. This group indeed sees and reads the same things as the first, but they blindly refuse to accept what they see as being true and utterly refuse to take a proper look at them. The very thought that there could be any truth in them is simply rejected out of hand without any examination whatsoever. Just as the professor in his pride, refused to properly look at the scene his students were intensely viewing, so likewise this group refuses to properly look at the evidence that the Bible really has been inspired by Almighty God.

The outcome for both groups couldn’t be more different. The group which thoroughly investigates what they see in Scripture soon come to realise what a profound treasure it is. After assessing the evidence, they discover that the Bible is indeed true and it changes their lives at the very deepest level, bringing salvation, forgiveness, joy and eternal life.

The other group which rejects the Word of God out of hand, are left wandering and confused in the desert of their life. There is no watering hole for their thirsty souls, no shelter from the storms of life and no shade from the sun. They have rejected out of hand the very “Map” which would have shown them the Way, the Truth and the Life. There are many such people and they are their own worst enemy. Jesus describes this group in John Ch3vs19-20; “This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, but many love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. For those practising evil hate the light and will not come to the light lest their deeds should be exposed.”

There will of course be some among this group who feel uncomfortable rejecting every portion of the “Map”. The feeling of these individuals is that some parts of it should be followed, even if the “Map” as a whole is rejected. These people pick and choose which parts of the “Map” they are going to obey. They choose to adhere to the parts they like, and reject the parts that challenges them or makes them feel uncomfortable. These “pickers and choosers” totally miss the point. All that the Lord commands and teaches is important, not just bits and pieces.

The Bible clearly calls for individuals to repent of all their past sins and to start obeying the Lord Jesus in every way. God is Love, but He is also an infinitely Holy God requiring moral conduct and behaviour in keeping with His will. We can’t pick and choose what commands we are going to obey or which bits of the “Map” we are going to follow.

To belong to the Lord, an individual must truly make it their aim to follow His commandments and wishes in every area of their lives; at work, at home, in relationships and in their inner personal life. It calls for a complete change of attitude to life with regard to sexual immorality, ambitions, jealousies, bitterness, the holding of grudges, pride, and hatred etc. (See Galatians Ch5 vs19-21.) In their place, the Lord commands an attitude of self-control, love, gentleness, kindness, long suffering and the like. (See Galatians Ch5 vs22-23.) We can’t pick and choose which of these commands we are going to obey because they are all profoundly important.

The following story is a vivid illustration showing just how important complete obedience and loyalty really is. Some years ago retired astronaut General Charles Duke was talking about his experiences on Apollo 16. Shortly after he returned from the moon Charles himself, was converted and became a devout Christian. What he experienced on the moon is a reminder of our need to follow all of the Lord’s Commandments and not deviate from them in the slightest.

As he was talking about his walk on the lunar surface, someone asked “Once you were there, weren’t you free to make your own decisions and carry out some of your own experiments…you know, sort of do as you pleased, maybe stay a little longer if you liked?” Charlie answered “Oh sure, if we didn’t want to return to earth!” He then described the intricate plan, the exact and precise instructions, the essential discipline and the instant obedience that was needed right down to the split second if they were to be saved and get back. They landed with exactly 60 seconds of fuel to get them away again. The audience was given the distinct impression that a rebel doesn’t fit inside a spacesuit. To be safe they needed total and complete obedience to the commands from Mission Control.

So likewise, there are no rebels or partial followers of Christ in the Kingdom of God. To belong to the Lord and be a member of His Kingdom requires wholehearted commitment to all of the instructions given in the “Map”. Partial obedience or picking and choosing which Commands in Scripture to obey, will only lead to death. As we are warned in 1st Peter Ch4v18 “If the righteous person is scarcely saved, what will it be like for the ungodly and sinner?” And in Hebrews Ch2vs 1-3 it implores; “We must give all the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we should drift away…for how shall we escape so great a Salvation?” Genuine repentance must bring forth genuine obedience. If pickers and choosers have no place on the moon, how much more so, have they no place in the Kingdom of Heaven!

From Atheism to Christ

In Deuteronomy Ch 4v29 it promises “You will find the Lord if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” The Lord promises that if an individual is truly sincere in their search for Him then He will reveal Himself to them. This is the common denominator which links all testimonies and conversion stories together. No matter what the physical circumstances of a person coming to faith maybe, whether they were a university professor, scientist or a drug addict, a young mum struggling to rear three kids or an elderly grandfather, the one thing they will all have had in common is a genuine heartfelt desire to find Almighty God. God is not interested in our educational status, our rank in society or the amount of money we possess. The only thing He is interested in is our sincerity in finding Him.

Recently I came across the testimony of journalist and author Lee Strobel. His background was one of being a confirmed atheist and it is fascinating to read of how he moved from this position of unbelief to one where he genuinely wanted to seek the truth about God. Strobel, who is a modern day CS Lewis has written numerous scholarly books about Christianity such as “The Case for Faith” and “The Case for Christ Study Bible” and he is a reminder that God can even be found by atheists provided they are genuinely seeking the Truth about Life.

Lee Strobel was the legal editor of the Chicago Tribune and described himself as a sceptical atheist. Using his own words; “I thought the idea of an all-loving, all-powerful Creator of the Universe was stupid. My background was in journalism and law so I needed evidence before I’d believe anything. I thought the Bible was a collection of myths and legends…and as an atheist I was convinced that God didn’t create people, but that people created God. In other words, they had been so afraid of death that they decided to manufacture a feel-good fairy tale about a benevolent deity and a blissful afterlife awaiting them on the other side of the grave. In spite of my sceptical predisposition, however, I eventually became a ‘seeker’, someone open-minded and inquisitive enough to sincerely investigate the claims of this bestselling Book of all time.

One day my wife, who had been an agnostic, told me that she had become a Christian. She informed me that after a period of spiritual investigation she had now decided to become a follower of Jesus Christ. I thought that this was the worst possible news I could ever get and wondered if it was the end of our marriage.

Over the ensuing months however, I saw positive changes in her values, in her character and in the way she related to me and the children. It was attractive and it made me want to check things out. And so I went to church one day; mainly to see if I could get her out of this ‘cult’ that she had got involved in. At that service I heard the message of Jesus explained properly for the very first time, in a way I could understand; that forgiveness is a free gift, Jesus died for our sins and we can spend eternity with Him. I walked out of church still an atheist but also thinking ‘if this is true, it has huge implications for my life.’

I decided to use my journalism training and legal training to investigate into whether there was any credibility to Christianity. At the outset I decided to follow the facts wherever they should lead. For nearly two years I studied archaeology and ancient history, interviewed scientists and scholars and combed the pages of the Bible with an attitude of curiosity. Putting my background in journalism and law into use, I scrutinized the words of the Bible and tested the evidence for and against it. What I found changed my mind and, ultimately, transformed my life. I discovered why Christians are convinced that science supports the belief in a supernatural Creator and that history points powerfully and persuasively toward Jesus as being His unique Son. I discovered facts that pointed a cynic like me, to the life changing reality of Jesus Christ.

On the 8th November 1991 I suddenly realised that in the light of the torrent of evidence flowing in the
direction of the truth of Christianity, it would require more faith for me to maintain my atheism than to become a Christian. To remain an atheist, I would have to swim upstream against all this evidence pointing toward the truth of Jesus Christ and I just couldn’t do that. I was trained in journalism and law to respond to the truth. And so on that day I received Jesus Christ as my Forgiver and as my Leader.

Just like my wife, my life began to change. Over time my values, my character and the purpose of my life began to be transformed. The path I was on before can’t be compared with the adventure, fulfilment and joy of following Jesus Christ.”

Strobel’s journey to faith is a “text book example” of the three distinct phases which can be seen in every conversion. First of all he became open minded with a genuine willingness to discover the Truth. In his particular case, the reason he became open minded was because he noticed how his wife had changed for the better and he attended a church service where the Christian message was explained in a way he could
understand. The cause of an individual becoming open minded will be different from person to person. For some it might be because they have become alarmed at the state of the world, for others it might be because they are beginning to find life a struggle and of course with many it will be because something major has happened to them such as bereavement, ill-health or relationship trouble. Then again with some, the reason is that they have become increasingly aware that there is something missing in their life and they can’t rest until they find out what it is.

The second stage of Strobel’s journey to faith was that of exploration and investigation. In 1st Peter Ch3v15 it states “always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” There are numerous reasons why Christians believe Scripture is true. This part of the journey is where an individual examines these claims and investigates them in depth. Never once does the Bible ask for “blind faith” but rather a “reasoned faith”, namely a faith that is built upon good sound reason and fact. This period of investigation can last for weeks, months or even years, depending very much on the “starting point” of an individual. The starting point for Strobel was as an atheist, so his investigation took longer than it would take someone starting off with a belief in God already settled in their mind.

It is during this phase of careful exploration that individuals are amazed by what they discover and numerous misconceptions are laid to rest. For instance, to their surprise, they learn that across the world there are millions of scientists who are devout Christians. Christian belief and science are not opposed to each other, instead God is actually the Ultimate Scientist. Science merely shows us how God makes things work. The Bible on the other hand tells us why He made us and the purpose behind our existence.

They also learn what the Bible teaches about suffering. As with science, it often comes as a complete surprise to them when they discover that the Bible fully explains why there is suffering in the world. The fact that we live in a Fallen World where God’s will is often not done is an entirely new concept to them.

And of course it is often a stunning revelation to them when they discover that one third of the Bible is composed of prophecy and predictions. When they carefully examine how these prophecies have been fulfilled many hundreds and sometimes thousands of years after they were written, it is clear proof of the Divine origin of Holy Scripture.

The final stage of Strobel’s journey to faith was accepting the Leadership of Jesus over his life. It’s all very well discovering that God exists and finding out that the Bible is true, but this knowledge demands a response. It calls for the individual to repent of their past sins and to start obeying the Lord Jesus in their daily life. God is Love, but He is also an infinitely Holy God requiring moral conduct and behaviour in keeping with His will. An individual makes Jesus the “Leader or Lord of their life” by truly putting His wishes and commandments before their own. When a person does this, they will start experiencing the Lord as their Best Friend and will begin a personal and living relationship with Him. Sadly, because many people refuse to put Him first in their lives, they don’t experience this joy. They continue to disobey Him somehow imagining that they can ignore God’s Holy will and yet still belong to Him. Scripture repeatedly warns however that “without Holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews Ch12v14) and “do not be deceived, because the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God...” (1st Corinthians Ch6 vs9-11).

To belong to the Lord, an individual must truly make it their aim and purpose to follow His commandments and wishes day by day. The following story is a vivid illustration showing just how important this obedience and loyalty really is. Some years ago retired astronaut General Charles Duke was talking about his experiences on Apollo 16. Shortly after he returned from the moon Charles himself, was converted and became a devout Christian. What he experienced on the moon is a reminder of our need to strictly follow the Lord’s Commandments and not deviate from them in the slightest.

As he was talking about his walk on the lunar surface, someone asked “Once you were there, weren’t you free to make your own decisions and carry out some of your own experiments…you know, sort of do as you pleased, maybe stay a little longer if you liked?” Charlie answered “Oh sure, if we didn’t want to return to earth!” He then described the intricate plan, the exact and precise instructions, the essential discipline and the instant obedience that was needed right down to the split second if they were to be saved and get back. They landed with exactly 60 seconds of fuel to get them away again. The audience was given the distinct impression that a rebel doesn’t fit inside a spacesuit. To be safe they needed total and complete obedience to the commands from Mission Control.

So likewise, there are no rebels or partial followers of Christ in the Kingdom of God. To belong to the Lord and be a member of His Kingdom requires genuine and wholehearted commitment to His will. Partial obedience or picking and choosing which Commands in Scripture to obey, will only lead to death. As we are plainly warned in 1st Peter Ch4v18 “If the righteous person is scarcely saved, what will it be like for the ungodly and sinner?” And in Hebrews Ch2vs 1-3 it implores; “We must give all the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we should drift away…for how shall we escape so great a Salvation?”

When an individual accepts the Lordship of Christ over their life, they are promised the help and strength of the Holy Spirit to enable them to walk in His ways and obey His Commandments. With His help they are required to bring every area of their lives under His authority and treat all His Commandments in Scripture as important. Genuine repentance must bring forth genuine obedience. If pickers and choosers have no place on the moon, how much more so, have they no place in the Kingdom of Heaven!