Joy In Gaining Christ
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."
Psalm 19 v 1
Recently I discovered there is a worldwide organisation named "The Cloud Appreciation Society". It was founded in 2005 and has around 50,000 members. It has nothing to do with "tech cloud" but with the marvellous ever changing cloud scenes in our skies from sunrise to sunset. As we all know, clouds appear in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours. They add beauty and interest to our skies, appreciated by artists, writers and photographers etc. who are members of this organisation.
Sometimes we have a negative attitude to clouds, a sign of approaching rain or storm, but in general, we all enjoy the majestic wonders of our cloud filled skies. Truly marvellous! They are an expression of God's glory. There is another type of cloud we speak about, it is the one "hanging over us", we are conscious of it in life's difficulties and problems. Since the end of 2019 a dark cloud has been hanging over us, it appeared first in China. We heard about it in our news bulletins, it was the coronavirus, now known as Coved-19. Initially, it sounded far away. It didn't concern us too much, until we heard the word lockdown. Bells began ringing, this is more serious than we thought! Soon we heard that Covid-19 was making its way westward, country by country, and many were dying of the disease. It was declared a pandemic.
As cases started to occur in our country, we soon found ourselves in lockdown. Restrictions are in the process of being lifted, but the cloud still remains as the thought of a resurgence exists. It is hard to take our minds off this cloud, however we can discover help in the Bible, as we remind ourselves how important a cloud was to the Israelites. On their journey in the wilderness, God went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide them, Exodus Ch 13 v 21. There was an occasion we read in Exodus ch 14 vs 19,20 when the pillar of cloud went behind them and created darkness. It became a shield to protect them from the pursuing Egyptian enemy. When Moses ascended to meet and speak with God on Mt Sinai, a cloud descended hiding the glory and presence of God.
To the Israelites, a cloud became a symbol of God's leading, protection and presence, this presence we will not see until Jesus returns to earth "on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory" Matthew ch 24 v 30
However, we can feel His presence and experience, His guidance and protection. We do not know when this pandemic will end, nor do we know when Jesus will return. He calls us to be ready for that day.
Let’s Pray For - Local and global mission
Pray for every day opportunities to share how Christian faith makes a difference, the hope found in Christ and the love of God, asking for increasing openness to the good news in many lives.
Pray for Tearfund and Christian Aid as they seek to support communities most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, asking that God would use their ministry to bring relief to those who need it most.
The world has been turned upside down by the coronavirus crisis and many people are asking: where is God in all of this? In a very topical Short Answers film, Solas Director Andy Bannister explores why Christianity helps us make the most sense of suffering and pain—as well as offering us real, concrete hope in the midst of uncertainty.
Residents and staff at Trinity House Care Home, Garvagh ‘have paid back’ some of the many acts of kindness that they have received during the Coronavirus pandemic by organising a 'road trip' - walking and cycling to the Church’s other care homes in Northern Ireland without actually leaving the home. The money raised will go to support the church’s work with dementia and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Read the full article here,
Graham Daniels speaks on Hope from the book of Titus at Virtually Keswick Convention on 30 July. Hope is the theme of Virtually Keswick Convention that is being live-streamed between the 27-31 July. You can watch live or catch-up on all the content from this year’s Virtually Keswick Convention here: https://vkc.keswickministries.org/
Yesterday was the repair work being carried out at the Herring Pond. Here are a few more photos.
Not just a Where Is It? today but also a What Happened Here? Does anyone know what resulted in a perfectly good summer seat ending up in pieces?