A few years ago I received an amazing piece of correspondence. This person wrote to me saying that she had spent a three-year period in the spiritual desert.
She said that God has been so good to me, because instead of seeing the Lord as good, giving, sovereign and a creator to be feared, she suddenly experienced more of His intense love, caring and genuine concern for herself. Her parting comment was: Now I know that I am forgiven.
And I love receiving letters like that because it builds me up to – it encourages me. And when I stray off the path – which I do quite often because of my own self-centredness – it brings me back to the heart of God.
And that’s where we want to be. What seems like a time of desolation can be a time of preparation – the timing for a new beginning.
You see God has always been concerned with the condition of our hearts, rather than the activity of our hands, rather than our works. What we become to Him is far more important than what we will ever do for him.
What he wants is our love and our companionship. He doesn’t want our tasks, our running around for him, to exceed our devotion to him. He needs to be our strength.
To be personally restored to God’s goodness and blessing is what we need at times.
It can be a crushing experience to give your best and still fall short. The prophet Elijah was discouraged with his inability to effect revival in God’s people. He ran away from Jezebel. He had lost hope in the spiritual revival of Israel.
As one writer puts it: When we are without hope and faith we have an empty religion. When we become heartsick with disappointment and discouragement we can also lose perspective. We come to a point – or a place – where we feel that we are responsible for the results.
Much of Elijah’s discouragement had come from the false expectations he had placed upon himself. Elijah withdrew into the cave in Horeb. We too can be trapped in a spiritual cave. We can be trapped in a hole of loneliness and pain.
We can become so bogged down in our own circumstances that all we hear is our own voice magnifying and distorting our problems.
Calling Elijah out of the cave, the Lord told him: Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord. As Elijah stepped out of the cave’s darkness, an awesome event occurred.
The Lord was passing by but He was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire – all of which were familiar symbols to Elijah. God caused these manifestations of his power; but he was not in them.
At last there came a gentle wind. Elijah recognised this holy silence. The presence of God was returning. He wrapped his face in his cloak in case he would see the awesomeness of a Holy God.
Entering this eternal stillness was the presence of God. He will not fight for our attention; He must be looked for. He will not startle us: he must be perceived.
It took no special skill to discern the earthquake, the fire or the great storm – but to sense the holy quiet of God our other activities must cease – must stop. We must turn our hearts to the Living God.
In times of desolation – and even frustration at this pandemic – our task is to be still and know that God is still on the throne.
Here is a prayer blessing from the Celtic tradition:
Deep peace of the running waves to you;
Deep peace of the flowing air to you;
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you;
Deep peace of the shining starts to you;
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
The Parish office is open from 9am to 1pm
everyday from Monday to Friday
if you need to drop off anything.
Allan Anderson (076 906 6334) and/or
Debbie Tarbuck (083 454 0479)
Mark Derry (082 473 2195)
via WhatsApp if necessary.
Mission Fete Pop-up Charity Shop
Please support our mission fete pop-up charity shop in the St John’s Hall.
This replaces our normal fete, and all money raised will go to those we support on the field! You’ll find stacks of wonderful books, a trillion white elephant goods and a few plants and baked goods too.
Open: 9.30am to 1pm
Tuesdays to Fridays, from 15 September to 2 October
(Closed 24 and 25 September)
Please wear your mask!
All funds go to Mission.
Tomorrow, 19 Sept
The Algoa Bay branch of WESSA is planning to have a slightly different beach clean-up on International Coastal Clean-Up Day on Saturday 19 September 2020 from 09:30 to 12:00. WESSA’s slot is at the Beacon in Summerstrand again at the intersection of Marine Drive and Admiralty Way.
We have made it over a slightly longer period so that people can come along and leave at any time they choose so that we can be spread out in the interests of social distancing. Of course all the normal COVID-19 protocols will have to be maintained, for example, masks must be worn throughout and no more than 50 people should congregate at any time but particularly at the sign-in table. No more than 4 people are to collect litter together and if you don’t have a mask, you will be supplied with one. Hand sanitizer will be available. Latex gloves, and bags will be supplied, though preferably bring your own gloves if possible.
For more information contact Tim on 082 775 8816.
The autographed books will be on sale in the hall foyer at St John’s,
while the pop-up shop is running – Tuesday’s to Friday’s from 9:30am -1pm.
Since the end of May, a group of St Johns ladies have been sewing masks for distribution, through St Johns, to soup kitchens all over the diocese in the extended Port Elizabeth area.
Our final tally of 2 500 individual masks were given out to soup kitchens in Walmer, New Brighton, Kwazakele, the Northern areas, Addo, and even as far as Uitenhage and Alexandria. We were also able to supply the entire grade 3 class at Walmer Primary school in Gqebera with specially made smaller masks.
We also donated 20 start up packs to enable unemployed persons, unable to generate a house hold income, to make and sell their own masks. These packs were very well received.
A sincere thank you to everyone – all the cutters of masks and strings, all the sewers and for the all donations of materials. Your efforts and generosity are greatly appreciated.
May you be blessed.
Belinda and Mike Jordan
Egypt: Moheb has been accepted at a UK Christian college to study towards a Master’s degree in Missiology, and has a few prayer requests: He needs to pass an IELTS (English proficiency) test, which has been delayed due to COVID-19. Without these test results, he can’t apply for a UK visa. Plus he needs to raise funds to cover tuition fees and living expenses for a year. So far, 25% of his tuition fees have been provided. The family is also looking for a trustworthy person/couple to keep their Minia prayer house going. Please pray.
We would appreciate it if you could deposit your dedicated giving contributions via EFT into our bank acount:
Branch Code: 050417
A/C Name: St John the Baptist Church
A/C Number: 080281206
(Please make sure your number & reference is included)
Contact Allan at email@example.com if you do not have a pledge number.
September's Prayer points
Please will you encourage your Church Leaders; Congregational Prayer Coordinators and your Congregations to participate & promote the Current Calls for Fervent Prayer?
- The 90 Days of Prayer for World Revival – 1 August to 31 October 2020.
Pray daily for World Revival at home or at the Three Crosses on the Field at Fountain Vineyard, 22 Newcombe Ave, Walmer Heights: Sunday- Friday 5-6pm; Saturday 3-4pm.
- Prayer at Livingstone Hospital: (Lindsay Road – 2nd entrance) Saturday 9-10am.
- Pray against Crime in the Bay: Set your alarm for 12 noon for 30 days until 14 October.
- THE RETURN: 18-28 September 2020 REPENTANCE – REVIVAL – RETURN
Special Day of Prayer 26 September 2020 – The Return!
- PLEASE PRAY FOR RAIN in the NMB Catchment Areas. (2 Chronicles 7: 12-16)
- God to root all corruption out of our National, Provincial, and Local Governments.
- Order in our Local Government and for leaders with integrity, vision, a heart for the community and wisdom to be raised up in NMB and elected. (Micah 6: 8)
- Revival and an Awakening:
God has put the desire for Revival on the hearts of many people in NMB, South Africa and beyond! Please will you join us in praying for Revival and a mighty move of God in the world – an Awakening!
For the believers that are lukewarm to be ‘set on fire’ for Jesus;
For backsliders to return;
And for the lost to come to salvation! Pray fervently for this to happen!
- Please will you pray for: God’s blessing and His protection over all the police officers, members of the defence force, the correctional services, and the fire-brigade. (Ps.91)
- Pray for God to protect our farmers from all danger and harm. (Psalm 91)
- All NMB Hospitals and for those in the Medical Field:
- Give thanks to God for the answer to our prayers regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to praise God for the good, positive and reliable recent report that the number of COVID-19 cases in the Livingstone Hospital has declined and staffing issues have been solved.
- Continue to pray for all our NMB hospitals to cope with COVID-19 patients and the pressing need of important operations which have had to wait in line to be able to take place.
- Continue to pray for a reduction in the number of COVID-19 patients in the Bay.
- God’s blessing, protection, energy; physical, mental, and emotional health for the doctors, nurses, paramedics, all other staff members, as well as the security guards at the NMB hospitals. (Ps. 91)
FOR WEEKLY PRAYER POINTERS WHATSAPP HELENE – 084 818 8721
Please contact Andrew 083 546 2451 or Petro 072 663 9774 if you would like to join any of the ZOOM meetings for Children’s Church, Teen Church or Collision Youth.
Please be aware that the recycling area is currently closed until further notice.