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Verse for the Year: Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11

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During March 2020 all of our services and meetings were suspended due to the impact of and Governement response to the coronavirus pandemic. As part of my keeping in touch with everyone I began to write weekly letters. These blog posts are simply extracts from those letters.

By bridcf, Aug 9 2020 01:07AM

Just recently we received an email from a couple who produce Christian gifts and art, which Aileen and I both liked. We decided to buy one of their Bible verse wall plaques.


On the plaque is a picture of some waves and the tail of a large fish or whale as it descends to the deep. The verse quoted with the picture comes from Isaiah 43:2 and says: 'When you go through deep waters I will be with you.'




This verse is also used in the hymn ‘How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord’. Here, it says:

'When through the deep waters He calls thee to go,

the rivers of grief shall not thee overflow;

for He will be with thee in trouble to bless,

and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.'


The message here is that God takes the difficult times we go through and uses them for His purposes. Specifically, the purpose the hymn highlights for us is to sanctify us, which means that the Holy Spirit is at work on the inside to make us more and more like Jesus in our hearts.


So when we go through tough times, as we are at the moment, we need to remember these important things: that God uses these difficult times to shape us as His people for His glory and that we have no reason for fear because whatever happens as His people we are secure in God’s hand.


May God bless us, encourage us and help us to keep our focus on Him so that we would stand firm in Him in these testing times and so bring Him glory.



By bridcf, Aug 1 2020 06:57PM

On Friday night we had some spectacular thunder and lightning over Bridlington. The boys – particularly Joshua – came to watch it at the top of the house with all the lights turned off. They enjoyed the spectacle, although our poor dog did not share their enthusiasm.


Sights and sounds like this reveal something of the tremendous power within nature. But this is not all. These things also remind us of the power of the Creator who made them. As we watch spectacles like lightning storms we should see them as declarations of the greatness, power and splendour of God which are not just intended for His people, but are a powerful message of God’s existence to the whole world.


Psalm 19 directs us to the wonder of God’s creation and the message He has for us there. It tells us that 'the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands' (verse 1) and that 'their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.' (verse 4)


But God’s powerful message in creation is far surpassed by His message to us in the Bible. Here, He reveals Himself as the only One who has the power to forgive and to save men and women from their sin and grant them His eternal life. That is why the message of God’s forgiving power is so precious. Psalm 19 describes the words of God’s message like this: 'They are much more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.' (verses 10-11)


A thunderstorm can be a tremendous event demonstrating God’s creating power, but there is nothing more powerful than the person whose life has been brought from the darkness of sin to the light of Christ in salvation by the same God who created the universe. There is nothing more powerful than the person whose life is shaped and transformed by God working through His Word in their hearts and lives. May we be people who know the blessing of God’s power being at work within us as we seek to know and grow in Him more and more through the Word He has given to us.


By bridcf, Jul 26 2020 11:11AM

A while ago I found a card in an RNLI gift shop with words on it attributed to the French writer, historian and philosopher Voltaire. It said:


In other words: life is grim but we are to make the best of it while we can. I’m sure we can all relate to the idea of ‘making the best of a bad job’, but is that really how we should see life?


The Bible does not see life as a disaster we just have to make the best of. When it looks at life it sees it as a precious gift from God; something that God has known all about, even from before we were born. It says: All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16b).


God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us; a plan that should see us living in the way He wants us to so that we can have a relationship with Him that lasts forever. But the Bible also shows us that we have all rejected God’s plan and purpose for our lives; we have all turned away from Him to do what pleases us. In a very real sense, that is what can make our lives seem like the shipwreck. We can go on with things so far and then so often we hit hard times and suddenly sit up and think, ‘Is that all there really is?’ But as long as we make the best of it; as long as we ‘sing in the lifeboats’ we’ll be OK, won’t we?


There is, though, an alternative; an alternative that Jesus Himself provides for us. He declares that for those who follow Him: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10b).


We may still struggle with the storms of life and God never promises that His way will be easy. But if our trust is in Jesus then we will not be left with just singing in the lifeboat. Instead we will be on the ship captained by Him and if we make sure that on life’s voyage we know Jesus as our captain and obey His commands we will reach the safe harbour of heaven.


Life doesn’t have to be a shipwreck when we know Jesus as Saviour and follow Him. The best life we can have is following Him – a new life that is going to last forever. Now that is a real reason for singing!



By bridcf, Jul 19 2020 12:48PM



This week Aileen treated me to some new shoes, but she was being generous for a reason. I had worn my old shoes for a number of years and they were no longer fit for purpose. In fact, things had become so bad that they were causing me pain and discomfort. I needed to be properly equipped with shoes that would support my feet and legs so that I could walk and exercise to stay healthy without issue.


Just as we need to be properly equipped for day-to-day life with such things as good shoes, so Christians need to have the right equipment to deal with their day-to-day spiritual lives. In Ephesians 6 the Apostle Paul reminds us of the important truth that we are in the middle of a spiritual battle. Reliable footwear is a vital component of the equipment God gives us to face it, as verse 15 says: 'with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.'


Paul lived in the Roman Empire and their soldiers wore footwear that was fit for the purpose of warfare; strong, supportive and supple as well as having big studs (hobnails) in the soles so to give an excellent grip. So why is this footwear such a good picture of readiness in the gospel? How is it fit for purpose? Here are two reasons:


First of all, as we keep ourselves regularly reminded of what God has done for us in Jesus then when we are attacked by God’s enemy we have made sure that we have a firm grip of the gospel ground underneath us and can stand firm in Him.


Secondly, being ready in the gospel means that we need to be ready to advance as well as to defend. We need to be certain of God’s gospel in our own lives so that we can obey Jesus’ command to ‘go’ and share it with others.


Just as Aileen bought me good shoes that were fit for purpose in helping me to do the exercise I need, so we need spiritual footwear that is fit for purpose for the work that God wants to lead us to do. It is only as we rely on the gospel’s good news of Jesus that our lives can be fit for God’s purposes for them. May we take care to be rooted in that ‘gospel of peace’ so that we are ready and equipped to obey His commands.



By bridcf, Jul 12 2020 04:37PM

I have recently finished reading the book Tommy by British military historian Richard Holmes. This looks at the First World War through the eyes of the soldiers who were fighting in it and what they said at the time.


One part of the book was about the role of military chaplains. They were ministering to young men who regularly faced death and had a real spiritual need but sadly spiritual realities were not often addressed.




Many chaplains ministered from places of safety and did not join the troops in the hardships they faced in the trenches. One chaplain said this: ‘And now God go with you,’ he told a group of men bound for the front. ‘I will go with you as far as the station’.


The Bible tells us that when we were in our time of greatest spiritual need, the need for our sin to be dealt with, Jesus came into the world to save us. Here, He did far more than just standing in the trenches to fight the battle with us. He personally fought the battle of sin for us when He died on the cross. He was the only One who could do this and defeat sin once and for all time so that as we trust and follow Him we are made right with God.


Following Jesus does not mean an easy life, though. In fact there are new spiritual battles for us to face. But through His Holy Spirit Jesus’ personal presence remains with us in the trenches and as we fight these battles we are given this encouragement. The Bible says of Jesus: we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)


Our time of need is now as we fight daily spiritual battles, but we have the encouragement and assurance that we can call on Jesus in prayer. Jesus understands exactly what we are going through because He has lived a life as we live and experienced the spiritual battle from our perspective. So as we bring our prayers to Him we can have every confidence that He is fully understands what we are going through and that He is acceptable to God to present our prayers to Him because He pleased God His Father in every way.


Jesus does not abandon us to stand alone in the trenches to fight spiritual battles. He is personally present with us, leading, guiding and protecting us through them. He personally brings our prayers and petitions to God His Father knowing exactly what we are going through.


May we be encouraged in our walk with Him by His personal presence with us and may we be challenged to stand with others in the trenches of their trials, bearing testimony to what God has done for us in Jesus so that they may turn to Him, too.



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