40 Days to Peace

Our 40 Days to Peace daily devotional is now available for you to order to your door, or download and view from this page. The devotional is free of charge, and covers the period April 1st 2020 to 10th May 2020. It's designed to help people reflect in a spiritual way the work that God is doing, as well as highlight the struggles and sacrifice of so many during the conflict.

40 Days to Peace Devotionals will commence delivery from 1st February.

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40 Days to Peace Devotional

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April
1st April 2020

In the beginning...

Reading: Genesis 1:1-25

Text: Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

The Bible begins with a basic and yet glorious statement. It begins with the eternal, sovereign almighty God who has always existed. When He speaks, His word is powerful, sovereign and creative. He is an awesome God of majesty, He is the only God, He is source of all of creation, and He is the basis of all knowledge and truth. He is a personal God who acts, speaks and creates. This God can be known personally through faith in the Lord Jesus.

His creative power, wisdom, knowledge and goodness are seen in the way He speaks and creates out of nothing and brings order and design from chaos.

The Bible would want us to find great help and comfort in the truth of the God who in His awesome power created all things. We are to be helped and strengthened to realize that our help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121.) There is great peace to be found in appreciating that the God who placed the stars in the heavens is the same God who gives grace and help to all those who trust in Him.

The apostle used the great truth that God created light to illustrate the glory of the light of the gospel that is found in the Lord Jesus. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor 4:6

Invasion of Poland

In 1938 Hitler started his programme of unifying all German-speaking people. He annexed Austria and then demanded the liberation of German people in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. The leaders of Germany, the UK, France and Italy met in Munich and agreed that Hitler should have the Sudetenland. Hitler assured the world that this was the extent of his ambitions for expansion. Despite this in March 1939 he invaded Czechoslovakia and occupied the country. On 1st of September Hitler invaded Poland.

Please pray:
  • That the comfort and help of our almighty creator God would be given to those who serve our country in the Armed Services
  • That Scripture Readers would be given opportunities to proclaim, "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
Evan Richards
Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Portsmouth
2nd April 2020

... it was very good

Reading: Genesis 1:26-31

Text: Genesis 1:31

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

'All good things come to an end'. That's a phrase that I'm sure we've all heard before! Cars break down, clothing wears out, our bodies become weaker and more painful (any soldier can attest to this!), and loved ones die.

Compare some of the pictures of beautiful towns, cities, villages, and countryside in 1938 to the same locations in 1944; destruction and desolation replace beauty and serenity. Looking at one good thing after another fail, it can be hard not to become cynical. For servicemen and women especially - who will often have a greater glimpse into the suffering facing the world than many civilians - cynicism can soon take hold. A few doors down on my street lives a former RAF Spitfire mechanic. He got used to bright young men taking off, never to be seen again - the effect of this on his thinking over seventy years later is a testament to the world-weariness of seeing good things end.

The Bible tells us that God looked at His creation - animals, birds, fish, plants, the sun, sky, and stars, and human beings (unique in creation as we alone were created in God's image!) - and He saw it was very good. It was pure and perfect. It was a testament to the power and skill of the One who made it this way. God is the ultimate source of good. He creates and defines it. If you are struggling with cynicism, look to Him. In God is a goodness that will not come to an end, and a perspective to see the good things in this world.

Please pray:
  • Thank God for the good things in your life.
  • Pray that people - particularly servicemen and women - struggling with cynicism would come to know the Author of all good things.
Pastor Josh Fortune
Woolwich Congregational Church
3rd April 2020

On the victory side

Reading: Luke 10:1-24

Text: Luke 10:18

And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."

Being sent out on a relatively unknown military mission, when all you know is that the enemy is vicious and the fighting will be fierce, must be incredibly daunting. Jesus here in our passage sent out 72 of his followers, on a daring spiritual mission right into the heart of Satan's territory. But imagine being commissioned and sent out by our Saviour and captain, Jesus!

He warned them in the previous chapter in no uncertain terms that to follow him would cost them everything. Yet all this still applies to us today as Jesus' followers and his amazing words in our text.

Jesus heard the 72 return from their mission and excitedly share how in Jesus' name and power even demons were cast out. He told them he actually witnessed Satan's dramatic and sudden fall from heaven. Teaching them and us today, that Satan's power and authority over people has been broken. His power is limited and his days are numbered. How remarkable to know and believe this from Christ our captain's lips. That he promises us, ultimate victory in our own daily struggles against the world, flesh and devil, as we trust him.

This is especially true when we go and share his glorious gospel, knowing victory is ultimately ours no matter what opposition and discouragement we face. To know with complete certainty that we are always on the victory side fills us with great peace and hope. Let's live bolder, confident, faith-filled lives knowing our enemy is defeated, and share these truths with any Christians who may be fearful of situations they are facing

Please pray:
  • For believers in our armed forces, tackling real danger.
  • For confidence to always be "prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you" 1 Peter 3:15
Wes McNabb
Pastor of The Slade Evangelical Church, SE London
4th April 2020

Declaration of war

Reading: Genesis 3:1-13

Text: Genesis 3:6-7

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

The day that began all conflict, all division, all battles. The day that humanity fell into the enemy's trap and put its faith in what was seen rather than in what was unseen. This was a declaration of war on the One who created us and loves us beyond our wildest imagination. The war that will continue until the risen LORD returns in final judgement, to bring eternal peace and reconciliation.

Until that day humanity, like Adam and Eve, will continue to put its own distorted desires ahead of God's perfect desires and wisdom. And as a result, like them, we find ourselves utterly exposed before God, and entirely at his mercy. We create our own 'fig leaves' of good deeds and naively expect them to cover us when God turns up; but of course He is not fooled.

What a mercy that the perfect life and sacrifice of the second Adam satisfied the Father's reasonable anger at our rebellion! How gracious was He to provide a way back into the relationship we had rejected! Praise Him that this opportunity and invitation for peace with God is open to all, through faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The war will rage until the last day. But we can choose which side to be on. It's an ongoing choice; we must be continually on our guard to avoid the enemy's subtle and persistent temptations.

Declaration of War

On 3rd of September 1939 Britain and France declare war on Germany.

Please pray:
  • Give thanks for the peace we enjoy today because of the sacrifice of those who defend our nation
  • That many would know this ultimate peace for which our Lord fought and died.
  • That believers within the Armed Forces will know God's presence as they daily live and fight for His cause.
Jonathan Bailey
Minister, Caterham Baptist Church
5th April 2020

The hope of eternal life

Reading: Genesis 3:17-19

Text: Genesis 3:17

Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

These verses describe reality for every human being living in this fallen world. Having listened to the wrong voice (his wife's) instead of God's voice, Adam brought upon himself and all his descendants' (us) the curse with its consequences; continual pain and certain death. Thorns and thistles, cemeteries and crematoria all remind us that we live in a world that is under a curse because of Adam's sin. The second Adam, our Lord Jesus, stepped down into this world of pain and death. He only ever listened to the right voice, but, as our substitute, wearing a crown of thorns, he became a curse for us, in order to make many righteous in God's sight. "For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19).

As descendants of Adam put their trust in the second Adam, they do not escape the realities of physical pain and physical death, but they are given the hope of eternal life. The present realities remind us of the fallenness of this world and the need to proclaim the good news of our Lord Jesus. As servicemen and women often come face to face with the painful realities of this fallen world, pray that many will come to know the hope found only in the Lord Jesus.

Please pray:
  • For the Scripture Readers to have opportunities to share this good news with service personnel
  • That many of those who hear the good news would come to know the Lord Jesus
  • For more Scripture Readers
Jonathan (Johnny) Prime
Associate National Director FIEC (Pastoral Ministries)
5th April 2020

The reality check

Reading: Genesis 3:17-19

Text: Genesis 3:17

Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

As a young reporter for a group of newspapers in Northern Ireland I visited the Falkland Islands in 1992 as preparations were well advanced for the Territorial Army to take over from the regulars as a first line of defence. Approaching RAF Mount Pleasant after a long flight from Ascension Island, an RAF Tornado appeared on each wing of our C130 causing quite a stir. This was the first reality check. And when we landed our initial contact with army and air force liaisons was a briefing on land mines - where to walk and where not to walk in The Falklands. That was the second reality check. The reality? Disobedience will get you killed.

In Genesis 3:17 the reality check for humankind is that it is now at war with God its creator because of sin - we disobeyed God! The cost? Death. The reality check of the declaration of war on September 3, 1939 was that Britain and France were at war with Germany. The cost? Death, and as we know more than 60 million died worldwide. What seemed remote, reconcilable and reparable became a global nightmare.

Yet in Adam's act of disobedience God had a plan to reconcile and repair the relationship between Himself and us. The plan was a person, Jesus Christ, and the reality was that the Saviour would die first and then rise again to life. His death and resurrection would lead to eternal life. That's the reality of God's love for those in Christ; death defeated - SALVATION - rescue!

What's the reality of your life today? Would you disobey a command from a superior? Of course not so why disobey God? Pray today for a reality check, say sorry for being disobedient and receive God's love and ETERNAL LIFE in the person of Jesus?

Please pray:
  • For those service personnel who don't yet know the reality of Christ's salvation
  • For SASRA and Chaplaincy as they seek to serve
Rev Carlton Baxter
Magheralin Parish (Church of Ireland)
6th April 2020

East of Eden

Reading: Genesis 3:20-24

Text: Genesis 3:24

He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

God is the Creator of all things, Who made all things good. This is a refrain going through the creation account in Genesis 1. Mankind is the pinnacle of His works, uniquely created in God's image - to be His vice-regent on Earth. Adam, the first man, was placed in the Garden of Eden - a place of bountiful food and fellowship with God, Who gifted him all things to enjoy - with the exception of one tree. For: 'in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.' (Genesis 2:17)

Well, he took! This may seem trivial to us, but God is infinitely holy: what we consider a small sin, He Who cannot stand sin sees as an infinitely great dividing factor between Him and the sinner. And so we read, in our verse, that 'He [God] drove out the man'. God's presence is no longer accessible for him. He has lost eternal life, fellowship with God, and there is no way back. Or is there?

v20 shines a small glimmer of hope. Why did Adam name his wife 'Eve', the word that sounds like the Hebrew 'living'? Not only because the human race would come from her, but because a very special man would come from her: the Saviour, born to save those who turn to God in repentance and faith for the forgiveness of their sins. God Himself promised that He would send such a man, back in Genesis 3:15. As the Bible story unfolds, this man is revealed to be Jesus (cf. Matthew 1:21). He lived the perfectly obedient life - as Adam should have; He was without sin, and He died on the cross a sinner's death - the death promised to Adam. He rose on the third day after His death, and after forty-or-so days ascended to God's presence - back to Eden.

And here is the good news: through Him, and only through Him, we, sinful human beings, can go back to Eden. Be reconciled to God. All that was lost, and more, can be regained for those who trust in Christ. Have you?

Please pray:
  • For Scripture Readers as they daily share the good news of forgiveness through Jesus Christ
  • For members of the Armed Forces who don't yet know he reality of this forgiveness
Calix Furus
Pastoral Elder, Rehoboth Grace Baptist Church, Horsham
7th April 2020

The Phoney War

Reading: Genesis 4:1-7

Text: Genesis 4:1-2

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord." And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.

These verses reveal a quiet period in humanity's story. Humanity has been separated from its creator, due to the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the reality of death is entering their lives. However, the physical evidence is not yet seen for instead of death the Lord gives Adam and Eve two sons; Cain and Abel.

You can hear creation saying, "where is the death you announced from Eden." Yet death is certainly present as Cain's jealously gives birth to murder.

This was surely Britain's story in the Phoney War period of World War II. Chamberlin had declared war on September 3rd, 1939 yet the conflict Europe feared did not fully commence until May 1940.

Rather those months saw important preparations as evacuees were sent to the country, gas masks were issued, and conscription called the everyday citizen into the people's war. These preparations were for the defence of the innocent and freedom. The fruit of which was seen when the conflict finally erupted; for the preparations enabled Britain and her allies to do what was right.

This call to stand for what is right is a timeless call upon all people born since Eden. Yet we do not stand alone, we stand united with the Lord who helps us do what is right whether the conflict is seen or unseen, (John 14:16-18.)

Phoney War

Lack of any obvious military action by British forces led to the period from September 1939 to May 1940 being called the Phoney War.

Please pray:
  • For those in the Army and Air Force to know God's help in their work.
  • For SASRA to know God's help in its service amongst Army and Air Force personnel.
  • For us, that we may know the help of Jesus to do what is right in our day.
  • That we would enter His peace through the cross and then share that peace with a world surrounded by conflict.
Pastor Jonathan Forman
Blaenau Gwent Baptist Church
8th April 2020

His Kingdom has come

Reading: Genesis 4:8-16

Text: Genesis 4:8

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

In the Garden of Eden Satan launched a blitzkrieg against our first parents, Adam and Eve. They proved a walkover and the impact has been devastating. Humankind, created to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, is now alienated from God. We are under a death sentence and in the thrall of Satan.

The world is under foreign occupation. A usurper, a liar and a murderer has taken charge. The god of this world has blinded us, leaving us to drown in the darkness of sin and death. Is it any wonder the world is riven by enmity, bloodshed and war?

And so, a generation later, Cain, murders his very own brother, Abel. It is the first murder in the history of humanity. Why did Cain do it? For the simple reason that his brother's righteous behaviour exposed the evil of his, and so the trajectory was set for the generations to come.

However, this is still God's world, and with Abel's blood crying out for justice, God confronts Cain, who refuses to take the blame and protests that his punishment is too severe.

What is to be done? Are we to be trapped in an alternate reality, destined to a life of sin, misery, death and judgement? No. Another has come; our Champion and this world's true king, who carries our fate upon His shoulders and Jesus is His name. At the cross the decisive battle was fought, and Satan was defeated. By His death, Jesus lifts our death sentence, by His resurrection He gives us life, and by His Spirit He restores in us the image of God. The world has turned the corner. His Kingdom has come and will conquer all.

'But you have come to Mount Zion... to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.'

Blitzkrieg

In the six weeks from 10th May 1940 German forces defeated Allied forces and conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Please pray:
  • Praise God that He did not leave us under a death sentence, and that He gave His Son to rescue us
  • That you will each day be being transformed into His image by the power of the Holy Spirit
  • For those in the armed forces who do not yet know the reality of this release
Gerard Hemmings
Pastor, Amyand Park Chapel
9th April 2020

On the winning side

Reading: Genesis 3:14-16

Text: Genesis 3:14-15

The Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

All of us have had similar experiences when one of our home appliances breaks down. We phone the repair man and are assured by him that he'll be with us the very next day. He is unable to give us an exact time as to when he will call but he assures us that he will definitely come without fail. We adjust our programme, cancel appointments and make sure that we're at home all day as requested. What happens? No show. We wait in but the promise proves to be hollow. No one calls.

The wonderful thing about God is that when he makes a promise He never fails to keep His word. We see this in today's passage. Having created a perfect world which has been marred by Adam's fall into sin God now promises that He will send a Saviour. 'The seed or offspring of the woman' refers to Jesus Christ. Here, at the very beginning, God is promising that Satan will not have the last word. He, in due time, will send someone who will 'bruise Satan's head'. God is not suggesting that following Jesus Christ will always be easy . The 'enmity' spoken about in our text is a reminder to us that the Christian life is a battle but the good news is that, in Christ, we are on the winning side.

Operation Dynamo

The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War 2 from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk in the north of France between 26 May and 4 June 1940. 338,226 allied personnel were evacuated back to the UK.

Please pray:
  • That we would always be excited at the grace and faithfulness of God who provided a Saviour and who always keeps his word
  • That SASRA Scripture Readers would know the blessing of God as they share this, and other gospel promises, with men and women in the Army and RAF
  • That we wouldn't lose heart in the battle with sin and Satan and would remember that, in Christ, we are on the winning side
Gareth Burke
Minister, Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast
10th April 2020

Safe in Christ

Reading: Genesis 6:1-5

Text: Genesis 6:5

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 6:5 is perhaps one of the most shocking descriptions of the human heart in all of Scripture. We might kid ourselves into thinking that our sin is only a superficial problem, but the LORD sees things very differently; our sin goes to our very core, touching every aspect of our being. We are completely unable to rid ourselves of its staining presence, damaging effects, guilt before God, and eternal consequences. As it was in the days of Noah, so it is today.

In the unfolding story of Noah, the LORD meets the sinfulness of man with two objectives. Firstly, he will rightly defeat evil in the judgment of the flood. Secondly, he will graciously rescue his people by keeping them safely in the ark. These two objectives of the LORD are fulfilled ultimately in Jesus Christ. At his second coming he will defeat all evil in the final judgment, which Scripture likens to the flood, only much worse (2 Peter 3:4-7). But also, God has graciously rescued his people by keeping them safely in Christ, who has already passed through the deluge of God's judgment at the cross in our place. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

Battle of Britain

Britain stands alone against the Axis powers, and in our darkest hour the RAF defeats the Luftwaffe and prevents a German invasion of the UK mainland

Please pray:
  • Give thanks that in the Battle of Britain the two objectives of defeating evil and keeping people safe were heroically achieved by those who served in the RAF.
  • More so, thank God that these two objectives are ultimately realised in Jesus, who will one day judge all evil, but in whom His people are safe thanks to His death on their behalf.
  • Pray that SASRA's Scripture Readers would faithfully show that Jesus is the Saviour we all need, and that military personnel in the Army and RAF would trust in Him.
Rev. Andy Hambleton
Crumlin Evangelical Presbyterian Church
11th April 2020

His grace is sufficient

Reading: Genesis 6:6-8

Text: Genesis 6:8

But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord

The biblical concept of "God being sorry" or "repenting" is hard to grasp, but if we keep three truths in mind perhaps the mystery will become a little bit clearer. Firstly, God doesn't change: "I the Lord do not change" (Malachi 3:6). Secondly, God sometimes describes Himself in human terms. He doesn't have a mouth, ears or eyes because He is a spirit (John 4:24), yet He uses human language to convince us that He speaks, hears our prayers and knows all our actions. Thirdly, God really does interact with us, depending on our disposition towards Him. Scripture sometimes uses the language of "God being sorry" to describe this process and in Noah's day God "was sorry", after a human fashion, because of what He witnessed on the earth. In fact man's sinfulness so provoked Him that He purposed to destroy the world with a flood. What a divine commentary on the horror of human sinfulness, that it should evoke a response such as this! That's why God destroyed the then known world!

Well not quite actually, because here's the good news: "Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord". His family was preserved because Noah was a man of faith: "By faith, Noah being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household" (Hebrews 11:7). In other words, he enjoyed God's favour by believing God and doing what He said - that's faith! There is no doubt that our nation enjoyed the favour of God at critical points during the Second World War, as His people once again looked to Him in faith. That's how we were delivered from the wrath of a tyrant and many paid the ultimate price so that we might enjoy that privilege: "greater love has no man than this; that someone lays down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). "We shall remember them".

The New Testament takes up this same theme by reminding us that there is "an ark for all of God's Noah's" and His name is Jesus Christ. He is the One through whom we enjoy God's favour or grace, a blessing that has been variously described as: "God's free unmerited favour"; "God blessing where He is not obliged to bless"; or "God's Riches At Christ's Expense". "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). His grace is sufficient to save us (Ephesians 2:8); to sustain us (2 Corinthians 12:8); and to deliver us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). A sailor of a previous day, John Newton, found this subject so grand that he described God's favour or grace as "amazing": "Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me"! Have you found favour in the eyes of the Lord? If not, look to Him, because He never turns anyone away (John 6:37).

Please pray:
  • Praise God that through His "free unmerited favour" we are saved
  • For Scripture Readers as they share the truth of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ
Jeff Ballantine
Minister of Groomsport Evangelical Presbyterian Church
12th April 2020

The war spreads

Reading: Genesis 11:1-9

Text: Genesis 11:4

Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth."

Pride comes before a fall, but in many ways pride came at the fall! When the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, thought that they knew better than God.

It's the desire to disobey God's word and rule the world for ourselves that finds its zenith in Genesis 11. Building a skyscraper seems a pretty innocuous ambition, until you hear the reasoning. They're reaching for the sky not in worship, but in rebellion. They want to find their identity in their own achievement, making a name for themselves, rather than in relationship with the God who made them. They want to establish their own pattern for life; to stick together and not be scattered, rather than obey the God who told them to "...fill the earth and subdue it..." (Genesis 1:28). In the end the Lord has to stoop down to look at their silly little tower; it's so small! And then with a word he confuses their languages and scatters them over the earth.

There have been many times in history when nations have come together and appeared to be on the brink of global domination, not least the Axis powers in World War II. But the sovereign God will not allow human pride the strength of unity. It is only the gospel of the Lord Jesus that can genuinely unite people in humble worship, first seen at Pentecost, where, as the Spirit is poured out, the disciples heard people from around the world "...telling in [their] own tongues the mighty works of God." (Acts 2:11)

The war spreads

In September 1940 the Tripartite Pact was signed by Germany, Italy and Japan. In early 1941 German and Italian troops attack Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete. Rommel leads the Axis powers back into North Africa. In June 1941 Hitler launches Operation Barbarossa. He orders 3 million soldiers and 3,500 tanks into Russia, starting a conflict that would claim 20 million casualties

Please pray:
  • For the humility to acknowledge that all you have is a gift of God's grace. Rejoice that you don't need to make a name for yourself because you're a child of God.
  • That our leaders would see that harmony between peoples can only be brought about through the gospel.
Daf Meirion-Jones
Chessington Evangelical Church
13th April 2020

Order out of chaos

Reading: Genesis 12:1-9

Text: Genesis 12:1-3

Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

During World War II the world was turned upside down. With the attack on Pearl Harbor what was already a chaotic situation worsened. America entering the war did bring relief to struggling allied forces but it also enveloped more people, and their families, into the effects of grief and loss that conflict brings. The darkness spread alongside the hope that was shared.

In Genesis ch12 Abram, later renamed Abraham, is commanded to leave his country and go to where God would lead him. This command was accompanied with a promise that through him God would build a new nation of people, His people, who would share in blessing.

God is He who brings order out of chaos. While we do not find ourselves in the middle of the events that gripped the globe during World War II, we do see agents of chaos and disruption all around us as the uglier side of human nature is too oft displayed.

Yet God promises us, as He did to Abram, that He will bring order out of chaos. By shining light into the darkness, through His Son, He revealed that love would triumph over hate and brokenness, bit by bit He will build His kingdom, until Christ returns and chaos is no more.

God's promise to those who place their faith in Christ is that He would do the same thing for us, by 'finishing the good work' He has begun within our hearts. It's not always an easy process, but the most rewarding there is.

Pearl Harbor

The Japanese, who were already waging war against the Chinese, attack the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor as a preliminary to invading British, French and Dutch colonies in SE Asia

Please pray:
  • Today open your heart afresh to God, what struggles do you know? What burdens you? What about the world frightens you?
  • Be honest with God and ask Him by the power of His Spirit to help you, and He will, for He has promised to bring order out of chaos.
Rev Edward McKenzie
Minister, Cregagh Presbyterian Church, Belfast
14th April 2020

Times are in God's hands

Reading: Exodus 3:1-8

Text: Exodus 3:7

Then the Lord said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings

Moses had a remarkable encounter with God. It was a secret meeting unseen by others. No doubt, it was a surprising meeting for Moses - he probably thought he would finish out his days as a shepherd. The meeting, arranged by God, reminds us that He can get our attention.

In Exodus 3:7, the LORD uses human terms in order for Moses to understand him. As Calvin observed, God lisps to us as if we are infants. He saw the affliction of His people, He heard their painful cry, and He knew their experiences. Isaiah was to say about God and His people, that 'in all their afflictions He is afflicted.' While there are aspects to that which we cannot understand fully, we can be comforted by knowing that God sees us, hears us and cares for us in times of distress.

Forty years before, Moses tried to deliver his people and failed. He now discovered that times are in God's hands and that the Lord knew when to send deliverance and how to bring it about.

In times of war, people suffer greatly and wonder if an end will come to their distress. This was true of our nation and its empire in World War II, as they faced powerful enemies characterised by great cruelty. One example was when the Japanese captured Singapore in 1942 and 80,000 became prisoners. For them, it must have seemed that deliverance was impossible. In God's time, however, his deliverance came and we should express our gratitude to Him for sending it.

Sadly, wars still occur and people suffer. Where can we go in order to show our concern? While we can express our concern in practical ways, we must speak to God about such places and ask him to intervene, even today.

Fall of Singapore

February 1942. The Japanese captured Singapore from the British, taking 60,000 prisoners

Please pray:
  • For the men and women of the British Armed Forces who continue to serve in conflict and in peace.
  • Especially for those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour
  • For more Scripture Readers to minister to them.
Rev. Malcolm Maclean
Greyfriars Free Church of Scotland, Inverness
15th April 2020

A better leader

Reading: Exodus 3:9-12

Text: Exodus 3:10

"Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."

God's people, the Israelites, were in a desperate situation. They had been enslaved by Pharaoh, and he was perpetrating a murderous genocide against them. What chance did they have against the might of the world's greatest superpower?

The great news of this verse is that their covenant God had not forgotten them. He has heard their prayers and seen the oppression they were enduring. He has come to their rescue. He has "come down to deliver them" and bring them out of Egypt and into the freedom and blessing of the Promised Land (3v8). He has not forgotten his promises to Abraham, and Pharaoh will be no match for the Almighty God. Behind the scenes he has already been working out his plan, saving Moses from death so he can to serve as the leader of his people. Now he reveals his plan by speaking from the burning bush.

This verse reminds us that Gods hears and answers the cries of oppressed people. He sends them a leader and saves them from their powerful oppressors.

In the light of the fuller revelation of Gods' plan in the New Testament, Christians know that today God hears and answers the prayers of people for deliverance from the far greater spiritual oppression perpetrated by Satan, Sin and Death. He has sent a better leader, his own precious Son, who by his death and resurrection will bring those who cry out to him into the glorious freedom of the new creation.

Battle of El Alamein

General Montgomery attacks the German-Italian army in North Africa with a massive bombardment followed by an armoured attack, and chases the routed enemy 1,500 miles across the desert.

Please pray:
  • Give thanks that God heard your prayer for rescue from oppression when you trusted Christ
  • Pray for those enduring oppression, especially persecuted Christians, that they will cry out to God
  • Pray for opportunity and boldness to tells others the good news that Jesus came to liberate them from all oppression
John Stevens
National Director FIEC (Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches)
16th April 2020

Do whatever He tells you

Reading: Joshua 1

Text: Joshua 1:2

"Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel."

I have no military experience whatsoever, but I am reliably informed by those who have that the single most important lesson you need to learn when in the army is to listen to and obey the commander. The principle drummed into you from day one is that you do whatever the commander says, instinctively, unquestioningly and immediately.

That's a pretty good attitude to adopt in the Christian life and in Christian ministry as well. As Jesus' own mother said, "Do whatever he tells you." (John 2:5).

As Joshua stands on the threshold of the Promised Land, charged with the leadership of "all this people" - a vast company of some 2 million people - he is given his marching orders from his commanding officer.


1. He has big shoes to fill.

His years of apprenticeship are over. Having shadowed Moses for some forty years, watching and learning, now he has to take the lead, not as Moses 'mark 2' but as himself, appointed and therefore enabled by God. A new leadership role is rarely easy, especially when we're succeeding someone of immense stature and influence, but he who calls also equips.


2. He has big enemies to fight.

When he heard the words "into the land that I am giving to them", Joshua knew very well that he wasn't going to be given it on a plate. He would have to fight for every inch of it. Years of battle lay ahead of him.

These were tall orders, but Joshua was not cowed by the problems ahead because he was convinced of the presence beside him, namely the living God who was more real to him than anything else.

Fighting in Sicily and Italy invaded

The going is tough on every side. The battle of the Atlantic gives Churchill his greatest concerns about the possibility of defeat. There are encouragements and discouragements. Much hard work is done planning for the invasion of Europe, and this becomes the focus of peoples' hopes for the successful prosecution of the war.

Please pray:
  • For wisdom to know God's leading and plan for you
  • For courage to "do whatever he tells you"
Rev John D Brand
Edinburgh Bible College and Grace Community Church, Broxburn, West Lothian
17th April 2020

The everlasting kingdom

Reading: Judges 21:15-25

Text: Judges 21:25

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

The period of the Judges was not a happy one in the history of Israel. Though they were installed in the promised land, God was increasingly in the rear-view mirror. To get their attention, God would allow Israel's enemies to invade them, which in turn, caused the nation to turn to God and plead for His help. God would then raise up a 'Judge' to lead God's people back into God's ways. That continued until the Judge died, when once again, the nation would drift away from following God.

By the time God appointed the final Judge, Samson, the nation of Israel were so assimilated into the surrounding culture that Samson was not only a thorn in their enemy's side, but also in their own. Israel were in a continual spiral away from God's rule, wanting to be like the surrounding nations, who had an earthly king to rule them. God was covenanted to his chosen people, as their rightful king, though lamentably, Israel were not committed to God in the same way. I think v25 is one of the saddest verses in the whole Bible story. In many ways, Israel could not have been further away from God, and yet, God, in his long-suffering patience and kindness, had not given up on His people.

It is often true that the night is darkest just before the dawn, and for Israel, the dawn of God's light, the Light of the World, was not far away. In establishing an earthly king for His people, the Lord Jesus Christ was promised to come through that kingly line and King Jesus would establish a kingdom that would never end.

Please pray:
  • That in our struggle and battle against sin, God would give us a greater capacity to love Him.
  • That even as our nation spirals away from God's good rule, that we as His people, would not resort to simply doing what we want but would remain faithful and obedient to our rightful King Jesus.
Rev Warran Fawcett
Ministry Director - SASRA
18th April 2020

He broke faith

Reading: 1 Chronicles 10

Text: 1 Chronicles 10:13-14

So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

Saul had everything. He was tall, strong, and a leader of men. And he was raised up by God to lead his people (1 Sam. 10.1). But then it all fell apart. Maybe it was the stress of leadership, or the impact of the traumas of war, or the bitter envy of others. Saul's heart was tempted, and he turned away from the Lord.

There are many deep mysteries surrounding God's purposes with Saul. The truth which we need to learn is clear in our verses: "He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord."

When we let go of the Word of the Lord, we will look for any other word. For Saul, it's listening to a medium rather than to the Word of the Lord. Who are you listening to? What words shape the path you are walking in?

God was looking for a man after his own heart. That man was David. He was anointed with the Spirit and set apart to be Israel's King. Though far from perfect, David obeyed where Saul failed so tragically. As the true Shepherd of God's people, David guided his people with upright heart and skilful hand (Ps. 78.72). And in that way, he becomes a sure picture of the great Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who wonderfully leads us today. May he keep us from sin and unbelief, and keep us humbly seeking his Word.

Please pray:
  • For Commanding Officers. Leadership is so hard, and the temptations of leadership are ever-present. Your leaders need your prayers.
  • For yourself, that the Holy Spirit will give you courage and discipline to fight besetting sins. Pray above all, that he will make your heart submissive before his Word, and eager to delight in it, as God's great leader King David did (Ps. 19.7-11).
  • That God will raise up leaders after his own heart, to serve in SASRA, in Forces Chaplaincy, and in local churches reaching out to serve Army Personnel.
Lewis Allen
Pastor, Hope Church, Huddersfield
19th April 2020

An enduring legacy

Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-17

Text: 2 Samuel 7:12-13

When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

King David was victorious in war, and now enjoyed a season of peace and rest. He began to make plans to build a temple for the Lord. But God's purpose was not for David to build Him a house. Rather God wanted to establish David's house. Just as the Lord had given David victory in battle, so now He would give him and his offspring an enduring legacy of peace and a kingdom which would last forever.

The prophecy of Nathan ultimately refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, the descendant of David who would be born 1000 years later. As we are taught in Psalm 72, His kingdom extends to the ends of the earth, and endures forever.

It is a noble ambition to want to do good and to serve God. But the main focus is on what God has done for us. If we have achieved anything in our lives, and if our nation has enjoyed success, this is only due to God's generosity to us. We can never earn God's favour; we must receive forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift, through Jesus' death on the Cross.

The kingdoms and empires of human greatness wax and wane, but the Kingdom of Christ lasts forever. It is only as members of His kingdom that we enjoy an enduring legacy in this life, and eternally.

Please pray:
  • Give thanks that all we have is a gift of God.
  • Pray that many in all nations would put their hope in Christ and be added to His kingdom.
  • Give thanks that for all of the evil and suffering in the world, the Kingdom of Christ will ultimately triumph. One day Jesus will return in glory and the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever. (Rev.11:15).
Bill James
Principal, London Seminary
19th April 2020Additional

When God says, "No"

Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-17

Text: 2 Samuel 7:12-13

When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Have you recently applied for something which seemed like a good idea but which hasn't worked out? How did you feel?

In the passage for today, God says "No" to David's desire to build a temple. While the idea was good, God wanted David to focus on unifying the nation and guiding them in battle. Managing major construction would be too much of a distraction at this stage. His son Solomon would deliver the project when he became King.

This didn't mean that God had rejected David. In fact, He was planning something even greater in David's life. In verses 12-13, God promises to continue David's house forever. David's earthly dynasty ended four centuries later, but Jesus Christ was the ultimate fulfilment of this promise. Jesus Christ is a direct descendant of David and the Son of God. He is God come to earth in human flesh. Through his life Jesus shows us what God is like. Through His death and resurrection, He has made a way for us to be forgiven and to become God's friends. After He ascended, He sent His Holy Spirit, so that God can be with us every day. One day Jesus will return to earth to establish a perfect new heaven and earth where we can live happily and peacefully forever.

Have you prayed with good intentions about something only to have God say, "No?" Trust that this is God's way of directing you to a greater purpose in your life. Accepting God's "No" requires as a great a faith as carrying out His "Yes".

Please pray:
  • For personnel having to make difficult decisions.
  • For leaders having to let people down gently.
  • For grace to accept God's "Wait" and his "Nos"
  • For the faith to trust that God's ways are best.
Rev Michael Anderson
Minister of Fisherwick Presbyterian Church
20th April 2020

Turning points

Reading: 1 Kings 11:9-13

Text: 1 Kings 11:9-11

And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, "Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant.

The Battle of Britain was considered one of the Second World Wars big turning points. After the courageous victory of the British Airforce, Sir Winston Churchill proclaimed these timeless and profound words, "never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few..." A turning point had come, brought about by the brave few for the thankful many.

In 1 Kings 11, we learn of another turning point. Solomon succeeded his father David as king, and in his God given wisdom, he made Israel stronger and wealthier than ever.

However, the wise king became a fool. The turning point. He turned away from God. Solomon worshipped the false gods of his many wives and he ignored God's Law. The verdict; God would judge, and the kingdom would be torn.

As we consider Solomon's actions and God's judgement, we're reminded that our starting point with God is similar. We've all stood in Solomon's defiant shoes and denied God.

Isaiah reminds us; "we all like sheep have gone astray; we've all turned to our own way"

The Apostle Paul notes - the wages of sin is death. However, after Paul declares that truth, he then reveals a divine turning point - but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus Christ is one greater than Solomon and a King from the line of David He succeeds where Solomon fails. Jesus is faithful and kept God's word fully. At the cross, Jesus takes the punishment and judgement our sin deserves, and He offers us His righteousness in return.

The cross is the place of heaven's greatest turning point. The cry of heaven is repent, sinner turn around! There is no sin, situation or circumstance the God in Christ cannot turn around and use it as a turning point in your life and for His glory.

Please pray:
  • For Scripture Readers as they seek to make known need for repentance, and the saving grace of Jesus Christ
  • For those service personnel who have yet to reach this "turning point".
  • For the ministry of SASRA
Rev. Alan Moore
2nd Randalstown Presbyterian Church
21st April 2020

To your tents, O Israel

Reading: 1 Kings 12:12-17

Text: 1 Kings 12:16-17

And when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, "What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David." So Israel went to their tents. But Rehoboam reigned over the people of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah.

On 4 January 1642, King Charles I made his now famous attempt to arrest five leading opponents in the House of Commons: arriving at Parliament only to find, in his own words, that 'all the birds are flown'. The following day, on his way from the Guildhall, an Ironmonger named Henry Walker threw a self-penned text into the King's carriage entitled, 'To your Tents, O Israel' in which he pointed to the rebellion of the ten tribes of Israel against Rehoboam and the house of Judah, likening it to the divisions of his own time, which led to the English Civil War.

Under the 'yolk' of foolish Rehoboam, the people recalled the oppression of Egypt and so their appeal 'to your tents, O Israel' was a cry for freedom that resulted in rebellion, division, and rejection of the house of David from whose line would come the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. Sadly, the decision to reject the inheritance of David, marked the spiritual decline of the Northern Kingdom, which fell to the Assyrians in 724 BC.

What a contrast is found between this foolish King and the generous offer of Jesus of Nazareth to, "Come to me all who labour and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Thankfully, the oppressive yoke of Rehoboam only serves to highlight the humble, gentle, and light yoke of Jesus of Nazareth who offers us eternal rest.

Please pray:
  • Pause to give thanks for those who serve in our Armed Forces to protect our freedom from oppression and tyranny.
  • Pray for those who suffer under a heavy 'yolk' of persecution and injustice around the world, especially those of the 'household of faith'.
  • Look to our inheritance in David's Greater Son, Jesus Christ, whose 'yolk is easy and whose burden is light'.
Col John Lewis
SASRA Chairman
22nd April 2020

Innocent blood and an (un)forgiving God

Reading: 2 Kings 24:1-7

Text: 2 Kings 24:3-4

Surely this came upon Judah at the command of the Lord, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also for the innocent blood that he had shed. For he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord would not pardon.

Innocent blood, so much innocent blood. Tragically God's people had been led by a bloodthirsty king, Manasseh, and many lost their lives to the evil actions of him and his minions. They were not military casualties of war, but the victims of wicked malice. Tragically World War II has many parallels. As the fighting continued on the frontlines, so the gas chambers were consuming the innocent elsewhere.

Such awfulness cries out to Him for justice (Gen 4:10). People feel they are denied the justice they long for, particularly in times of conflict. But the living God will one day bring justice and hold to account those responsible for evil (Hebrews 9:27).

The text tells us that God wouldn't pardon - that He is unforgiving! He will definitely bring justice - there will be no 'I'll overlook it this time'. Evil was to be put out and to be seen for what it is, totally contrary to His character. But with God's commitment to justice, is there any hope for us?

Thank God that the Bible story continues on from here. More blood was to be shed (Mark 15:16-20). It was the blood of an innocent man, indeed the blood of God's own Son (Luke 23:14, 15; Acts 20:28). But this blood cries out for mercy and forgiveness (Hebrews 9:23, 12:23, 24). Jesus came and deliberately took the blame for the evil that others have done. He died under the judgement of God, so that the guilty may justly go free (Romans 3:23-26).

Any who commit to him can find forgiveness instead of condemnation, and unending mercy instead of unrelenting justice. Even wicked king Manasseh found this mercy (2 Chronicles 33:12-13). Make sure you do!

Please pray:
  • Give God praise for His amazing grace (1 Pet 2:9,10).
  • Thank God for the commitment of our Armed Forces not to shed innocent blood.
  • Thank God for their determination to protect innocent people from threats to their safety.
Dr Ray Evans
Grace Community Church, Bedford
23rd April 2020

From judgement to hope ...

Reading: 2 Kings 25:1-12

Text: 2 Kings 25:11

And the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon, together with the rest of the multitude, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile.

2 Kings 25:1-12 is a brutal passage with a bleak ending. Recounting the events of 586 BC, it is the account of the siege, defeat, humiliation and destruction of Jerusalem. The utter despair is depicted most personally in a king who sees the death of his sons and heirs, and then never sees again (v7). Yet even this desperate account is sanitised compared to the more graphic portrayal of this 18-month siege in the book of Lamentations.

So many who fought on the battlefields of WW2 would speak afterwards only in the most general terms of what they witnessed. Often details were remembered only in private horror.

Israel's enemies showed no mercy, there was no escape, and they were left seemingly with no hope. But this attack was not merely inflicted by the enemies of Jerusalem. Behind it was God's own judgment: "Because of the anger of the Lord it came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that he cast them out from his presence." (24:20)

And yet there is a glimmer of hope. Though the king was left blind and childless, he survived. Though the land was left by most, there was a remnant left behind (v12).

The Lord is quite capable of bringing salvation through judgment.

For centuries later, just outside that same city, now occupied by another brutal foreign army, the Lord himself would come, but this time not to bring the judgment that the city deserved, but to bear that judgment himself.

Please pray:
  • Praise God for the extraordinary mercy of Christ, that he would bear God's judgement for us that we might receive forgiveness.
  • Pray for a world that is still under God's wrath, that many might turn to Christ.
  • Pray particularly for those in war-torn areas of the world, that their hope might be in the one who brings eternal peace through his death.
Mike Gilbart-Smith
Pastor, Twynholm Baptist Church
24th April 2020

He Will Not Fail

Reading: Isaiah 11

Text: Isaiah 11:1-2

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

The exile of God's people in Babylon is the context of Isaiah's ministry of encouragement to those who are defeated and downcast. Babylon had cut down the once flourishing tree of Israel and reduced it to a stump. It wasn't all Babylon's fault either; in their hour of need Israel had turned away from the LORD and sought help from an old enemy instead (10:20).

The LORD now gives them every encouragement to lean on Him once more. They may be reduced to a stump, but from this stump - a shoot, a branch and finally fruit will come. The royal line of David would not be allowed to disappear over the succeeding years. Despite all they were suffering and would suffer - a new king would rise, unlike any that came before.

This looks forward to the incarnation of Jesus. As a man, He would be perfectly filled with the Holy Spirit, who would equip Him to establish His kingdom with wisdom and understanding; to complete His mission with all counsel and might, and to know and obey His Father's will perfectly. Jesus would not fail; they were to lean fully on their promised Messiah.

We too can often feel "stumped". We may experience defeat and we can become downcast. Like Israel we may be tempted to try other "helps" which are in effect enemies because they stop us from crying out to the One whose help is unfailing.

Jesus is the One we must turn to. Lean on Him for wisdom and understanding, for counsel and might, for knowledge and the fear of the LORD. He will not fail.

Please pray:
  • That many service personnel would come to know Jesus as their Saviour and Lord.
  • That those in command would be given wisdom and understanding, counsel and might.
  • That those who are feeling defeated would look again to the invincible Lord Jesus Christ.
Robert Johnston
Minister of Knock Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast
25th April 2020

It was the will of the LORD to crush him

Reading: Isaiah 53

Text: Isaiah 53:10

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

There are five songs in Isaiah about the mission of someone called the 'servant', which are all fulfilled in Jesus. Chapter 53 is the fourth of the five, and is the jewel in the crown. But verse 10 begins with a shocking revelation. In war one side tries to defeat the other. Sometimes, tragically, in cases of friendly fire, you kill those on your own side by mistake. But here we learn that it was the will of the LORD to crush his own servant and put him to grief.

The death of this servant, however, was unique in history, as he willingly made 'an offering for sin'. And after his sin-bearing, sacrificial death, his God-given mission would continue. Beyond death he would 'prolong his days' and continue to carry out the LORD's will with supreme effectiveness. And he would even 'see his offspring' - those who benefit from his death would become his children. We go astray like sheep - we return as children.

Military commanders plan out their operations in painstaking detail. Sometimes the mission goes to plan; sometimes it doesn't. But here the sovereign LORD laid out His plans for the mission of His servant over 600 years before He came - and it all went exactly to plan. The servant, Jesus, came and died for our sins, was raised to life, rules as Lord, and is gathering people into His family. This ancient prophecy should give us confidence that the gospel is true, and that God's salvation plans are unstoppable.

Please pray:
  • Give thanks that in Jesus the servant has come on His rescue mission, as God planned and promised
  • Pray for SASRA readers, and Army and RAF personnel, that the death and resurrection of Jesus would remain the heart of their message
Marcus Nodder
Senior Pastor, St Peter's Barge
26th April 2020

Will you enlist?

Reading: Psalm 110

Text: Psalm 110:1

The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool."

Maintaining confidence is essential to the successful prosecution of any war. Quoted regularly through the New Testament, this Psalm is designed to revive our spirits and restore our hopes. Victory is assured, not because of our superior forces, but because of our superior Commander.

In the Psalm, Father-God makes two promises to the Lord Jesus:

  • in verse 1, he invites him to take his seat at his own right hand, the place of supreme power and authority in the universe; and
  • in verse 4, he installs him on oath as king-priest over his people.

Jesus is thus both powerful King and sympathetic high priest.

The effects on God's people are startling (verse 3)...

Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments.

The reminder that Jesus is a priest as well as our king reminds us that this conflict is not won by conventional means but with weapons of love and truth.

While the battle may intensify, King Jesus will vanquish all the powers that oppose him. The day is coming when heaven will declare...

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.

Will you enlist?

Please pray:
  • Thank God that victory is certain. Death will be destroyed and everything will be made new.
  • Thank God that while earthly tyrants fill the world with violence, King Jesus is changing the world one sinner at a time;
  • Gladly renew our allegiance to his cause and offer ourselves afresh to the prosecution of his holy war; and
  • Ask God that our brothers and sisters serving in the Forces will not only be fierce defenders of our freedoms but great ambassadors of our King.
Richard Underwood
elder, Christchurch Market Harborough
27th April 2020

The Word became flesh

Reading: John 1:1-18

Text: John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The eternal Son, who has existed for all of time in perfect relationship with the Father and the Spirit, steps out of invisible eternal existence at the Father side and into human history at one moment in time. He becomes one of us and the world is changed forever. God has become a man. He dwelt... He ate and walked, slept and worked among us. If we had been there we could have watched him, spoken to him, heard him. The Apostles saw that day. They were witnesses to his glory.

Few remain alive who witnessed D-Day in Normandy, 6th June 1944, but on that day, as in that first Christmas, a bridgehead was being established. The incarnation was an immeasurably greater day than D-Day. The astonishing amount of planning, resources, human effort and sacrifice, that established the Allies on the Normandy coastline was the beginning of the end for the Axis forces. The incarnation of the Son of God nearly 2000 years before then was the beginning of the end for death and Satan. A battle would still have to be fought, but the Word becoming flesh signalled the commander's intent. His glory has been and will continue to be seen.

Will we dwell on the significance of that first day of the war: D-Day when the bridgehead between heaven and Earth was opened up? That day was the beginning of the end of the Axis forces. We still have fighting to do but the end is coming. V day is only a matter of time away. So press on: In amazement at our commander's intent, signalled by the incarnation.

D-Day

The allies launched an attack on Germany's forces in Normandy, Western France. Thousands of transports carried an invasion army under the supreme command of general Eisenhower to the Normandy beaches. The Germans who had been fed false information about a landing near Calais, rushed troops to the area but were unable to prevent the allies from forming a solid bridgehead.

Please pray:
  • Do you remember your own D-Day when Christ established himself in your life, through faith and by his Holy Spirit?. Thank Him.
  • Give praise to God that though the battle still rages He has won the victory.
Tim Chapman
Minister, Christ Church South Cambs
28th April 2020

Herod was furious

Reading: Matthew 2:13-18

Text: Matthew 2:16

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

When the kingdom of God advances there is always a backlash from the kingdom of Satan. That backlash takes various forms. When Mary gave birth to Jesus the Son of God and Messiah it is not surprising that Satan 'sought to devour her child the moment he was born' as the apostle John vividly describes what happened (Rev. 12:4). Here Satan used Herod who felt threatened by the news brought by the Magi and foretold by the Old Testament prophet Micah that the promised Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:6). A cruel tyrant, Herod wanted no rivals. So when the Magi returned home without telling him he was furious. He gave orders that all the male children in the Bethlehem vicinity under two years old be killed having calculated the time when Jesus may have been born from what the Magi told him. And how terrible was the atrocity committed by Herod's soldiers! The mothers in Bethlehem were inconsolable in their grief as foretold by the prophet Jeremiah (2:17-18).

This story is a stark reminder of the evil that is in the world. The light that shone when Jesus was born and worshipped by the Magi is set against the dark back drop of what people like Herod can do. Tragically he is far from alone. Throughout history tyrants have oppressed and killed people in their desire to have power. And though Jesus is no longer in this world Satan is still trying to destroy his disciples and uses people like Herod to persecute them causing immense harm and grief. As Christians we are in the midst of a spiritual war in which behind the visible enemies we face are 'the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms' (Eph. 6:12). And this war is fought not only as the church advances in the world, but in our hearts as we deal with sin and seek to live holy and godly lives in this present age. But we must never be in doubt that in the end the child born in Bethlehem, worshipped by the Magi and exiled in Egypt will be victorious when he has defeated all the enemies. At Calvary Satan was defeated and while he is still active he will, when Jesus returns in power and glory, be cast into hell forever and the kingdom of God will come in its fullness in the new creation.

Please pray:
  • That the evil that people like Herod do (listen to the news on any day) will be curtailed and the suffering of their victims relieved.
  • That Christians who are being persecuted will be given grace to endure and bear a valiant witness to the Lord Jesus.
  • That as Christians we will fight the good fight as we seek to deal with sin and live for God.
  • That the men and women in our armed forces with fight this fight in the particular circumstances of their calling and that they will be given wisdom when having to make morally challenging decisions.
Kenneth Brownell
Senior Minister, East London Tabernacle Baptist Church in Mile End, London and is also involved in the ministry of Christian Heritage London.
29th April 2020

He gets us...

Reading: Luke 2:41-52

Text: Luke 2:52

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man.

Once every six months, I catch up with a certain group of friends. They often ask me, 'So how's it been going?' My mind flicks back through the previous months, looking for something striking to talk about. Sometimes I find something. But normally I don't. Life has just gone on, pretty much as normal.

The Gospels are full of extraordinary incidents in the life of Jesus. Luke 2 contains one such - the 12 year-old Jesus staying behind in the temple and astounding the teachers with his understanding (v47). That happened, of course, because Jesus is an extraordinary figure, the Son of God.

But Jesus' life wasn't just an unbroken chain of extraordinary incidents. After the trip to the temple, Jesus went back with his mum and dad to sleepy Nazareth, 'and was submissive to them' (v51).

Jesus has lived the full human life. Not just the extraordinary incidents, but the mundane day to day. V52 captures that perfectly: 'And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man'. In other words, Jesus grew up. As the Christmas carol puts it: 'day by day like us he grew'.

We have a Saviour who understands us. One who has walked in our shoes, known our weaknesses, and experienced our daily grind.

He gets us. In the intense moments, and the normal months, he gets us. Whether we are fighting enemies, or fighting boredom, Jesus is a sympathetic high priest and a sufficient Saviour.

Please pray:
  • Give thanks that the Ruler of the universe knows us inside out, and loves us.
  • For those in intense conflict situations to find strength in the extraordinary Son of God.
  • For those frustrated by normality to find purpose and passion in our brother Jesus.
Reverend Rob Hudson
Vicar of St Peter's Church, Harold Wood
30th April 2020

Adoption as sons

Reading: Galatians 4:1-7

Text: Galatians 4:4-5

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

The great temptation all Christians face is to compartmentalize their faith - to box up their Christian discipleship into containers that enable it to be partitioned off from real life. Controlling Christ in this way allows us to protect elements of our life from his reign. And such protection is most easily exercised through rules. Rules set boundaries. But they also manufacture spaces for sinfulness. If I have formulated a rule never to watch a film certified '18', I will have created a standard. And I will look down upon those who have lesser standards. But my standard will allow me to bathe in the lasciviousness of a '15' film whilst still keeping my 'rule'. Rule-keeping Christianity is thus the path to self-righteousness, hypocrisy and division. Such was the road travelled by the Galatians to whom Paul wrote. The root of the problem? They had turned to a different gospel (1:6).

But the true Gospel sets us free from such legalistic living. Rules were necessary to guard God's people before Christ. But now that Christ has come, perfectly redeeming his people through the cross, we have been adopted into God's family. That means we are no longer to see discipleship as a duty, defined by rules. Our discipleship is rather to be motivated by devotion. Love, not legalism, is the power that should drive us. And such love will open up and cleanse the no-go areas in our lives that are denied the rule of Christ. We will live in true dependence upon God, our heavenly Father.

Please pray:
  • That Christian believers in the armed forces would live Christian lives driven by love, not legalism.
  • That such living would witness with freshness and power to those around them.
Charles Dobbie
Pastor-Teacher Holy Trinity Lyonsdown
May
1st May 2020

Aboard His rescue ship

Reading: John 1:29-34

Text: John 1:29

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John's gospel reveals Jesus as God the Son, who came from heaven to sacrifice his life that we might be rescued from our sin.

In 1940 the British Army were rescued from Dunkirk. Most famously remembered are the little boats and the 338,226 who were rescued. We should remember these were saved because of the heroic sacrifice of RAF pilots, rear-guard perimeter defenders and sea crew. We don't say the army were saved "despite" some sacrifices. Without the sacrifices on sea, land and air there would have been no salvation for those on the beach.

Because of sin there is an unbridgeable expanse which we cannot cross on our own to come to God. Jesus is unique: he sacrifices his life, and rises again victorious, to bring us home to God.

John the Baptist declares that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away sin. The title "lamb" refers to the Jewish temple where lambs were brought year after year to atone for sin. They did not permanently take away sin. Only Jesus deals permanently with the separation from God that exists because of sin. He is "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world". His sacrifice on the cross brings all home to God who come aboard his rescue ship.

Please pray:
  • Praise God for the sacrifice of Jesus which rescues us from the trap of sin.
  • That those who follow Jesus Christ within the Army and RAF would be the means through whom others can meet the lamb of God who takes away sin.
  • For those serving in SASRA and chaplaincy that they would share Christ's gospel clearly.
  • Many military personnel are lost without a known way home to God. Ask the Lord if you are part of his rescue mission to them.
Rev Gareth McFadden
Minister, Kilbride Presbyterian Church, Northern Ireland.
2nd May 2020

His mercy is more

Reading: Matthew 12:1-14

Text: Matthew 12:14

But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, if you are in Christ you will be hated by the world (John 15:18).

In the military you are prepared for hostility and are equipped to deal with it. The same is true for those in Christ, we must be prepared for hostility but we can be confident that through the Holy Spirit and with the message of Christ dwelling within us richly through the reading of God's word that we are sufficiently equipped to live our lives as distinct believers even in the toughest environments we may operate in.

In this text we see that the Pharisees wanted to do Jesus in even though all he'd just done was let His disciples eat some grain and heal a bloke with a withered hand - hardly a court martial offence and yet here they are trying to work out how to 'destroy him'.

What about us? In the forces, the peer pressure can be overwhelming. What do our daily lives say about our loyalty to our opos? No doubt we've got their backs, but are we living distinct lives of loyalty to our Saviour?

REMEMBER: Our sins they are many, His mercy is more.

Please pray:
  • Lord I thank and praise you for my salvation. Thank you for Jesus who suffered on the cross and bore my sin willingly even though I don't deserve it.
  • Lord help me live as a distinct and loyal Christ follower in my workplace. Give me opportunities to share the amazing news of Jesus to my colleagues.
  • Lord forgive me for when I lack courage and find it far easier to deny you and follow the crowd. Thank you for your sufficient grace for my failings but may I grow increasingly bold and may I mature in my faith as I grow in my walk with you.
Sol Fenne
Music Co-ordinator at 20schemes.
3rd May 2020

"Operation Overlord"

Reading: John 11:45-57

Text: John 11:49-50

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish."

If there is one concept that doesn't need to be explained to members of the armed forces, it is sacrifice for the sake of the nation. The idea lies at the very heart of serving with the military. Men and women willingly-even cheerfully-sacrifice all kinds of freedoms and luxuries for the sake of their country. And if necessary-God grant it won't be-they are ready to give their very lives so that the whole nation might not perish. Some 400,000 British servicemen and women gave their lives in World War II so that our nation would not perish under the tyranny of a ruthless enemy.

The words of John 11.50 are spoken by Caiaphas, the High Priest in Jerusalem-a calculating politician scheming how he could best hold on to power. He feared that the popularity of Jesus and messianic fervour among many of the Jews would combine to spark a revolution against Rome that would inevitably lead to the destruction of the nation (v48) and the end of his power. So if Jesus can be removed, Caiaphas reasoned, revolution would be averted, the nation saved and Caiaphas's position preserved.

Little did Caiaphas realise his words carried a far greater, prophetic significance. For Jesus came into the world for this very purpose: to give his life in order that the whole nation might be saved. Not from the might of Rome, but from the wrath of a holy God against rebellious human beings. Nor would he die just to save Jews, but anyone who would trust him from all the nations of the world (v52). This was God's masterplan-his 'Operation Overlord.'

Please pray:
  • Give thanks that God the Father loved the world so much that he gave his Son.
  • Give thanks that God the Son was willing to lay down his life as a substitute for sinners.
  • Pray that God the Holy Spirit will continue to 'gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad' (v52), including those serving in the RAF and British Army.
Rev Warren Peel
Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church, Newtownabbey
4th May 2020

Two open secrets

Reading: John 19:16b-24

Text: John 19:18

There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.

John's Gospel begins with two open secrets. Secret one is that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who became a real man - deity and humanity in on Person (John 1:1,14). Secret two is that he was born to die as a sacrificial lamb bearing away the sins of the world (John 1:29). We need both these secrets to unlock the true depths of our verse today.

Jesus is led to Golgotha (18). This is "the green hill far away". It was a grim place - a place of judgment and humiliation and death. And there they crucified him.

How do we weigh these words? He is the bright morning star and the radiance of the Father's glory. And they crucified him. The one who hung stars in space is hung on a cross of wood. Thousands of crucifixions took place - what makes this unique is the identity of the victim and the purpose of the death.

Here John's two great secrets find their ultimate expression. Pilate infuriates the Jewish leaders with the inscription he writes (19-22). What he does not realize is that Jesus is that and so much more. God cannot suffer and die, but the one who suffers on the cross is God. The pain is real and the sacrifice is breath taking.

Scripture ifs fulfilled showing that this was always God's plan (23-24). Jesus gave his life to rescue and save the kind of people who were dying next to him (Luke 23:39-43). The lamb dies and the sinner is set free.

In the midst of all the challenges we face, let's remember these two secrets revealed at the cross. Let us step back with amazement and humble adoration. And let's never forget the love of God who reaches out to people just like us.

Please pray:
  • Praise God for giving his Son Jesus, that we all might be saved
  • That this message of hope will take root in the men and women of the Army and Royal Air Force
Paul Mallard
Pastor, Widcombe Baptist Church, Bath
5th May 2020

Life through death

Reading: Acts 1:1-11

Text: Acts 1:3

He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

The sufferings of Jesus were real. People saw Him being spat on, punched and beaten by His guards, flogged, mocked and crucified. Eyewitnesses saw blood come from His nail-pierced hands and feet and from the hole in His side where the soldier drove the merciless spear after He breathed His last.

There was no doubt of His death. For three days His body lay in the tomb.

Then came the miracle of miracles announced by the angels to the women at the tomb, "He is not here, for he has risen ... Come, see the place where he lay" (Matt 28:6). But who would believe women, who in their culture were not even deemed trustworthy enough to testify in court?

Jesus backed up their witness statements with "many proofs, appearing to them during forty days." There was to be no doubt of His resurrection either. Many who saw Him (1 Cor 15:3-8) and some even ate with Him (Jn 21:9-14).

Life followed death. Jesus, the dead Jesus, was now the alive Jesus. This is the Jesus to be trusted for life and death, for time and eternity.

What Jesus did was unique. And yet He taught that there is also a wider principle of death producing life: "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (Jn 12:24). Life has come for many through the deaths of brave soldiers and civilians 75 years ago.

Please pray:
  • Thank the Lord for the sacrificial deaths of many in World War 2 which secured life and liberty for many more
  • Thank the Lord even more for the sacrificial death of Jesus, which was followed by life - for Him and for all who trust in Him (Jn 11:25-26).
Martin Woodier
Pastor, Emmanuel Church, Keighley, Co-Pastor, South Craven Evangelical Church
6th May 2020

Rejoicing in suffering

Reading: 1 Peter 1:1-12

Text: 1 Peter 1:6

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

A mate grabs your Bible. 'How can you believe this rubbish,' he says as he throws it back at you.

You're on deployment when you find out your mother's ill. Suddenly home seems a long way away.

Everyone goes quiet as you walk in. 'Watch out,' someone shouts, 'here comes the vicar.'

Peter speaks of 'all kinds of trials'. Trouble comes in all shapes and sizes. No surprises there. But then Peter tells us to rejoice. How can we do that?


1. God promises a better home

We've been born again 'into a living hope' (v3). Christians are looking forward to a world-made-new. The Bible is the story of 'the suffering of the Messiah and the glories that would follow' (v10-12) and we're on the same trajectory - through suffering to glory.

Peter says our inheritance is kept for us (v4). Imagine someone's inheritance in a safety deposit box in a bank vault. That's pretty secure, or at least we used to think so until the Hatton Garden robbery! But our inheritance is kept in the safest place possible - in heaven. No thief is going to get his hands on that.

But not only is our inheritance kept safe for us; we're kept safe for our inheritance. Through faith we're 'shielded by God's power' (v5). Despite all the hostility we face, God sustains our faith.


2. God uses suffering to shape us

V Weapons

Over 8,000 flying bombs (V1 missiles, 'doodlebugs' or 'buzz bombs') were launched against Britain between 13 June 1944 and 29 March 1945. They carried a 1,870 pound warhead at about 400 mph. Many were intercepted by Allied aircraft or anti-aircraft guns.

Also, over 1,000 V2 rockets (ballistic missiles) were launched against Britain between 8 September 1944 and 27 March 1945. They could not be countered by defensive measures.

It takes the sweat and pain of drills and exercise to produce a fit body. In the same kind of way verse 7 says God uses suffering to refine his people. God is using your suffering for your good.

Please pray:
  • That you would respond to hostility with hope.
  • Ask God to use your suffering to refine your faith.
Tim Chester
Pastor of Grace Church Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire.
7th May 2020

The shield of faith

Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

Text: Ephesians 6:16

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

Frontline Roman soldiers wore armour to protect their bodies. Key to their defence was a large shield. The shield was 200cm long and 70cm wide. It was made of wood and thickened with animal hide. Before a battle, the hide was soaked with water. This helped extinguish burning missiles that struck the shield. In Ephesians 6.16, we see something similar. Paul wants believers to protect their spiritual lives by wholeheartedly trusting Christ.

In context, the Ephesian church has been reminded what Jesus has done for each convert. Consequently, their pagan neighbours should see a difference in them. But of course, being a Christian is not easy. Christians will need to defend themselves against Satan's missiles. They must use the shield of faith.

At the start of our verse, the Apostle is emphatic. In all circumstances take up or raise up the shield of faith. Said differently, Christians are to take advantage of divine reality and trust Christ's power to protect every aspect of their lives.

But what is the outcome? This question is answered in the second part of the verse. When we trust Christ to protect every aspect of our lives, we can or we are able to extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. The Apostle's confidence in the power of Christ is profound. Exercising faith in Christ's power means we will defeat any missile of hurt, temptation or sin that Satan uses against us.

Battle of the Bulge

December 1944. Germany launches its final offensive against the allies in the West, attempting to drive them back to the coast.

Please pray:
  • That Christians serving in the British Army and Royal Air Force would trust Christ to protect every aspect of their lives.
  • That many who serve in our Armed Forces will come by faith to trust the eternal protection Christ affords.
Jamie Campbell
SASRA Representative for South London and South East England.
8th May 2020

King George VI Broadcast on May 8th, 1945, Victory in Europe (VE) Day

Today we give thanks to Almighty God for a great deliverance. Speaking from our Empire's oldest capital city, war-battered but never for one moment daunted or dismayed - speaking from London, I ask you to join with me in that act of thanksgiving.

Germany, the enemy who drove all Europe into war, has been finally overcome. In the Far East we have yet to deal with the Japanese, a determined and cruel foe. To this we shall turn with the utmost resolve and with all our resources. But at this hour, when the dreadful shadow of war has passed far from our hearths and homes in these islands, we may at last make one pause for thanksgiving and then turn our thoughts to the tasks all over the world which peace in Europe brings with it.

Let us remember those who will not come back: their constancy and courage in battle, their sacrifice and endurance in the face of a merciless enemy; let us remember the men in all the services, and the women in all the services, who have laid down their lives. We have come to the end of our tribulation and they are not with us at the moment of our rejoicing.

Then let us salute in proud gratitude the great host of the living who have brought us to victory. I cannot praise them to the measure of each one's service, for in a total war, the efforts of all rise to the same noble height, and all are devoted to the common purpose.

Armed or unarmed, men and women, you have fought and striven and endured to your utmost. No-one knows that better than I do, and as your King, I thank with a full heart those who bore arms so valiantly on land and sea, or in the air, and all civilians who, shouldering their many burdens, have carried them unflinchingly without complaint

With those memories in our minds, let us think what it was that has upheld us through nearly six years of suffering and peril. The knowledge that everything was at stake: our freedom, our independence, our very existence as a people; but the knowledge also that in defending ourselves we were defending the liberties of the whole world; that our cause was the cause not of this nation only, not of this Empire and Commonwealth only, but of every land where freedom is cherished and law and liberty go hand in hand.

In the darkest hours we knew that the enslaved and isolated peoples of Europe looked to us, their hopes were our hopes, their confidence confirmed our faith. We knew that, if we failed, the last remaining barrier against a worldwide tyranny would have fallen in ruins.

But we did not fail. We kept faith with ourselves and with one another, we kept faith and unity with our great allies. That faith, that unity have carried us to victory through dangers which at times seemed overwhelming.

So let us resolve to bring to the tasks which lie ahead the same high confidence in our mission. Much hard work awaits us both in the restoration of our own country after the ravages of war, and in helping to restore peace and sanity to a shattered world.

This comes upon us at a time when we have all given of our best. For five long years and more, heart and brain, nerve and muscle, have been directed upon the overthrow of Nazi tyranny. Now we turn, fortified by success, to deal with our last remaining foe. The Queen and I know the ordeals which you have endured throughout the Commonwealth and Empire. We are proud to have shared some of these ordeals with you and we know also that we together shall all face the future with stern resolve and prove that our reserves of will-power and vitality are inexhaustible.

There is great comfort in the thought that the years of darkness and danger in which the children of our country have grown up are over and, please God, forever. We shall have failed and the blood of our dearest will have flowed in vain if the victory which they died to win does not lead to a lasting peace, founded on justice and good will.

To that, then, let us turn our thoughts to this day of just triumph and proud sorrow, and then take up our work again, resolved as a people to do nothing unworthy of those who died for us, and to make the world such a world as they would have desired for their children and for ours.

This is the task to which now honour binds us. In the hour of danger we humbly committed our cause into the hand of God and he has been our strength and shield. Let us thank him for his mercies and in this hour of victory commit ourselves and our new task to the guidance of that same strong hand.

8th May 2020

The armour of light

Reading: Romans 13:11-14

Text: Romans 13:12

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.

In early 1945 with the water obstacles of the low countries overcome and the great barrier of the Rhine crossed, the open country of the north German plain lay wide-open to the Allies. The enemy was mortally wounded. His destruction was now inevitable. After great strife and struggling the end was assured and in sight: as it was for the early Roman church on active service in the cosmic battle between good and evil. And as it is for us. Paul puts it like this; "The night is far gone; the day is at hand. ..."

The victory over Satan was won by Christ on the cross and was proved beyond doubt on Easter day. A new age is coming, it is close at hand and utterly assured, but Jesus' work continues through the Church by His Spirit. Just as for the Allies in the final stages of WWII, the last soldier and civilian had yet to die, the last person had yet to be widowed or orphaned or maimed, so too in the Church, darkness, evil, is still at work. Whether the darkness is our own fallen human nature or is in the world around us, or is spiritual evil, we have, by God's grace, 'the armour of light' to protect us. It covers us completely. But we cannot win through defence alone. Just as the Allies had to continue to be forceful so we must be forceful, 'casting off the works of darkness' and walking '...as in the day-time,...'

The War is won, but battles, personal and together with fellow believers, remain to be fought until the glorious return of Jesus and the total destruction of evil.

Allies cross the Rhine

March 1945. The Allies cross the Rhine while Soviet forces are approaching Berlin from the East. On the 2nd of May German forces in Italy surrender to the Allies. On the 4th of May German forces in NW Germany, Holland and Denmark surrender to General Montgomery on Luneburg Heath. Hitler's successor, Admiral Donitz, tries to reach an agreement to surrender to the Western Allies but to continue to fight the Russians. His request was refused and on 7th May Donitz unconditionally surrendered to the Allies.

Please pray:
  • Lament personal sin and the fallen world, and yearn for Christ's return.
  • Let Hope govern your actions.
Rev Richard Cobbold
Assistant Minister, St Peter's Church, Farnborough, Hants
9th May 2020

The marriage supper of the lamb

Reading: Revelation 19:6-10

Text: Revelation 19:9

And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God."

After the declaration of the Fall of Babylon (the ungodly world in all its opposition to God) in Revelation 18, we are directed to the response of the heavenly multitude and its celebration of God's salvation, glory and power.

Rather than the peal of church bells announcing Victory in Europe, the heavenly multitude sounds like peals of thunder as they rejoice in the marriage of the Lamb to his bride v. 6-7.

Peace, a new relationship, joy and celebration. All brought about through the reign of the almighty Lord our God v. 6.

And so wonderful is this future reality that the angel commands John to write down that all invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb are truly blessed.

Much as the spontaneous celebrations of the victors on VE day must have been wonderful to be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb will be true blessing.

Why? Because we don't deserve it - we were the aggressors; because we will be truly righteous - we were the transgressors; because we will be in eternal, intimate relationship with the one who has truly loved us throughout eternity - we were the hostile enemy.

And in case we struggle to believe it the angel confirms it all by telling us these are the true words of God.

No-one who lived through WW2 knew what the outcome would be or who would be the victors of Europe. But all who live in this fallen world are told the outcome of the cosmic battle against the loving, sovereign, good God.

VE Day

Victory in Europe is celebrated

The Lamb wins and all who bow the knee and repent will be invited to the marriage supper of the lamb. In fact they'll be on the top table as the bride!

With such a wonderful outcome it's worth pressing on in following Jesus and making him known to others.

Please pray:
  • Praise God that we do know the outcome and that all who bow the knee will be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb
  • For Scripture Readers as they make this truth known to servicemen and women, many of whom may never before have heard the Gospel
  • For many who hear to bow the knee and repent
Paul Gamston
Pastor, South Craven Evangelical Church
10th May 2020

Jesus is Lord

Reading: Philippians 2:1-11

Text: Philippians 2:9-11

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Victory comes at a cost. As the nation deliriously celebrated that Imperial Japan had agreed to the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, effectively signalling the end of World War II, thousands reflected on the price that had been paid. Over 380,000 British service personnel had lost their lives, as well as over 67,000 civilians.

And as Paul reflects upon victory over sin, that greatest enemy of all, he reminds us of the price that was paid. Jesus Christ, who is none other than God incarnate, became 'obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross' (2:8).

The victory was certain. He had risen from death. What was left after that first Easter was just the mopping up operations. And although these can be difficult and painful - many PoWs were murdered after victory had been declared, and several Japanese soldiers continued to fight on - the reality was that victory was secure.

How much more as we live for Jesus. We do so knowing that Jesus is exalted in heaven and working out his purposes upon earth. We call upon men and women, boys and girls to lay down their arms in opposition to King Jesus and enjoy the glorious fruits of living under his gracious rule.

For we know there is coming a day when this will become evident to all. Christ himself will return. There will be no more agnosticism - every tongue will have to confess what they see with their very eyes - 'Jesus is Lord!'.

Stuart Townend and Keith Getty picture what that reaction will be like - "'Jesus is Lord' - a shout of joy, a cry of anguish, as he returns and every knee bows low." May ours be the shout of joy! May we be ready.

VJ Day

14th August - the Japanese unconditionally surrender to the allies. Victory in Japan is celebrated on the 15th of August.

Please pray:
  • Thank God that He was willing to pay the price and sacrifice His only Son, Jesus Christ
  • For those who cannot yet say "Jesus is Lord", to lay down their arms and accept His free gift of forgiveness
Andy Paterson
FIEC Mission Director, Assoc Pastor Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh.
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