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30/03/2020

A short word of encouragement -

https://www.facebook.com/david.bracken.56884/videos/118976346402121/


27/03/2020

A Word from the Minister -

I think it is not an exaggeration to say that we at this moment are going through an extraordinary time. Never before in peace time have we been told to self – isolate and avoid public contact, to stop meeting in public gatherings, for those who can to work from home, for pubs, restaurants, shops as well as schools to close. We are seeing lockdown in countries on an unprecedented scale. Up to a quarter of the world is on lockdown according to the news.  So much is changing so quickly. It was only at the end of December 2019 an outbreak of Covid-19 was identified in Wuhan, China and seemed a million miles away from us. That has all changed. No longer is it in China alone, it has spread throughout the world, affecting many people in many countries. Moreover, there is still so much about the virus that is not known, and we are yet to have a vaccine or treatment. There is so much being said, some true, some false about the virus. If you were to take it all in, you would be left confused and bewildered.

This has caused much fear and panic. A fear of the unknown, a fear of something that cannot be seen. I think much of this fear is driven from the fact that it is something unseen. An enemy seen you can deal with, or at least identify, but one that is not seen, this is a different situation altogether.

As I ponder this, I am reminded of David in the bible and what he did in challenging and fearful situations. David was chosen and anointed to be king of Israel, however, he was no stranger to adversity and challenging situations. Often times he found himself in situations that were life and death, and yet in all of these instances we see David did not look to himself but to God.

For example, in Psalm 3:5-6 he says, "I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me." He goes on to say, "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around." David's trust was not in himself but in God and therefore his confidence was not in himself but in God.

Before David became king he was on the run from king Saul for many years. One account in the bible of David that stands out to me is when one time he and his men returned to their camp and found that their goods had been plundered, and their wifes and children taken. We are told that at that time some of the men that followed David wanted to kill him. We are told that these men cried until there was no more power to weep and that David was greatly distressed. People, what I want to encourage you with is David's response. David did not cave with fear, but strengthened Himself in the Lord His God (read 1 Samuel 30 for the full account and outcome).

David did not face Covid-19, and if he did, we were not told about it. However, what we are told about is what he did in a time of crisis. Friends, I want to encourage you to do as David did and to strenghten yourself in the Lord. Do not give into fear but rest on the Lord our God and in His everlasting arms.

Psalm 46:1-3 tells us that, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Let us likewise not fear but look to God and meditate upon His word. Let His word dwell in you richly and your trust be only in Him. God will not fail us. He is with us in every circumstance we face. Put your trust in Him, He will not fail you nor forsake you.

Let us take to heart the word of Nehemiah when he told the told the people, "Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Friends, the joy of the Lord is our strength too. Let nothing steal your joy in Christ from you. Whatever troubles you, take it to the Lord in prayer, and as the hymn says, "in His arms He will take and sheild you, thou will find a solace there."

May the Lord our God bless you, and keep you, and cause His face to shine upon you, and give you peace.

David.


16/03/2020

A message from Rev. David Bracken:

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I am writing this email in response to the current situation regarding the Coronavirus. I am mindful as I am sure many of us are that the total number of diagnosed cases continues to rise. I am aware that this news may cause worry and anxiety. Especially with constant updates and conversation regarding the virus.

In the midst of concern, let us not panic but keep our eyes on Jesus. Nothing comes as a surprise to God. He who kept Israel in the desert for 40 years can keep us.

As I write this, I am reminded of what God spoke through the prophet Isaiah to His people Israel when He said,

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Saviour".

Though this was spoken to Israel, it is equally applicable to us who God has purchased through His Son Jesus. He who has redeemed us by Christ, will keep us in Christ. He who has redeemed us from this world, will keep us and see us through whatever may face us in life's journey. As the text says, He will see us through whatever we go through. Just as Jesus also said in John 17,

"I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one".

Let us put our trust and faith in God who alone is unchanging, who is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Psm 102:27, Dan 7:14 Heb 13:8). Who alone is our Rock.

Let us be praying for one another and our community and especially for those most vulnerable and for those who have contracted the disease as well as for the health services that are working around the clock. Where we can let us be on hand to help one another, look out for one another and do whatever we can to help serve our community. In all that we do let us do it as unto the Lord Jesus Christ who we serve.

Also, let us be mindful to follow the advice of the health professionals and keep up good hygiene. I would advise checking the NHS website and GOV.UK website for updates on the ever changing situation. I have attached documents (some of this information is already dated but still relevant) sent by the WRU regarding procedures based largely on information found on the NHS website.

 

Basic advice:

1. Please ensure that you are washing hands thoroughly on a regular basis and if coughing, using a tissue and discarding it shortly afterwards.

2. If you feel you may have symptoms (or any sickness) take appropriate action and heed the advice of the medical profession.

3. If you have access to the internet, then by all means look for a service online or go to YouTube and listen to a worship service or sermon, spend time in prayer and bible reading, and keep in touch with one another over the phone, being especially mindful of those who are more at risk or worried among us.

4. Let us act wisely in the eyes of God, and not react hastily in the current climate. These are mere suggestions based largely on the advice many other churches are given to their congregants and I feel only right that we do the same. Consider what I have said prayerfully and may the Lord give you peace.

 

May God richly bless you all,

David


 


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