Churchlink June 2015
Welcome to our June issue
This month we hear from the Reverend Barrie Dearlove, Volunteer Chaplain to our Trowbridge Drop-In Centre...
"As we approach ‘Armed Forces Day’ (formerly Veterans' Day - 27 June), we honour those men and women who have survived the war zones of the world and rightly so as they have served well during circumstances which simply cannot be described as they fought against an enemy who would destroy this green and pleasant land if they could. We owe a debt of gratitude to these heroes who by their efforts have kept us free from tyranny. Recently I read again this famous poem...
This Earth, This Realm, This England!
This sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, this demi-paradise,
This fortress built by nature herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world.
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house
Against the envy of less happier lands;
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm,
Renowned for deeds as far from home
For Christian service and true chivalry
As unto the Holy Sepulchre itself, this land
Of such dear souls, this dear, dear land:
This England; We Highly Dedicate
Oh Lord, to Thee!
The first two verses describe the planning which God, our creator put into this island as a defence for its inhabitants against barbaric enemies over the centuries. The water surrounding us has kept armies at bay who had overwhelmed other lands which were landlocked.
The final verse refers to ‘Deeds far from home;’ I see in this the hand of God sending out Missionaries to the far corners of the earth; brave men and women who left this land of plenty, with all their worldly goods packed inside a coffin, because they knew that they would die in His service in a foreign land, their only weapon, the ‘Sword of the Spirit,’ the mighty word of God; even to the point of giving their lives for the cause.
2,000 years ago, there was another man who was not a soldier; He came down from heaven to bring a message of Hope, Love & Reconciliation to a fallen and sinful world; His name was Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, who willingly sacrificed His life through crucifixion so that we could live, and at the same time taking upon His shoulders the sin of the entire world, so that God the Father could forgive us all through that final blood sacrifice on the cross, whichbecame the New Blood Covenant, of ‘Reconciliation’ between God and Humanity through the Man; Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for our sins once, for all time.
As Christians we need to be a shining example of the love of Jesus Christ to a fallen world. We grumble about anything, even the weather, but do we stop to remember those in distant lands who do not have the same freedom of speech and movement which we have? We smile as we read about Moses, in particular the behaviour of the Israelites and the constant grumbling to, and about their chosen leader Moses, but are we any different? Just a few weeks ago we celebrated ‘Easter,’ but what percentage of our people know what Easter is all about, that Good Friday was the blackest day the world ever knew, but just three days later our Saviour and Lord rose again victorious from death to life?
You too have the opportunity to have a ‘New Life.’ At this very moment as you read this little devotional. Sometimes you might hear someone say about someone else that He/She has ‘Seen the Light’. What they mean although they may not realise it, is that that person has responded to the calling of Jesus Christ who ‘IS’ the light saying…“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew11:28-30 New Living Translation (NLT))
Jesus also tells you….“I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”(John3:3 NLT)
What He is saying to you is that you need die to ‘Self’ ‘through ‘Repentance’ and accept, him into your heart as your Saviour and Lord; after which you need to be baptised and symbolically rise again to a new life in Christ. 17This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. (Or Creation) The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. 19For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20So we are Christ’s Ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”(2 Corinthians 5:17 - 20 (NLT)
Daily I hear people grumbling about our homeland and the mess we seem to be in. It is easy to cast the blame onto others for the decline, but let’s just stop our winging for a few moments and have a good look in the mirror. As we do this, do we see a reflection of, ‘Ourselves’ or ‘Jesus Christ?’
That’s something for all of us to think about!
Thank you for reading this devotional, why not take the opportunity now to change your life forever, turn to Christ and know that you have been accepted by God the Father and know also that you are guaranteed a place in heaven after we physically die in the normal way. If you would like to accept Jesus as your Saviour, you might like to say this prayer:-
"Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe that your word is true and that you are the creator of all things. I also believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God; that He was born of a virgin, that He died through crucifixion on the cross for my sins, and that He rose again to life on the third day, through which I may now have forgiveness for my sins. I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless; and I desire to turn away from my past sinful life and become a new creation in you.
Lord Jesus I repent for every sin I have ever committed in my mind, body or in my heart, I thank you that you died on the cross for my sins; please forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Saviour today. I willingly commit my life to you, and ask that you would take full control of me through the power of your Holy Spirit from this moment on; I pray this in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ." - Amen.
God Bless you all
Reverend Barrie Dearlove
Armed Forces Day 27/28 June 2015
Is a firm fixture in the Alabaré calendar, this year we are attending events in Bognor Regis, Bristol, Gloucester, Plymouth, Salisbury, Trowbridge, Weymouth, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay. Please look out in your local press for details of times of parades, church services and come and visit the labaré Homes for Veterans stands. It will be a chance for you to find out more about the services we offer Veterans in their time of need and if you would like to do something to help us support Veterans in your local area you can register your interest on the day and we will be in touch.
Come to our Garden Party on Sat 13 June, Barford St Martin, 2:00 - 5:00 pm
As part of Adult Learning Week come and meet the folks who attend our Development Centre, see their pottery and woodworking and sample their fine cream teas. Bee keeping, vegetable competitions, garden games, wildlife hunts, plants and craft stalls on show - plenty of fun to get involved in!
Mary Stevens – Retiring Volunteer
Mary has devoted an astonishing 22 years of her time to volunteering for us in Trowbridge at our Drop-in Centre. With Volunteering Week upon us we paid tribute to Mary last week with a lunch and presentation to say thank you and good bye. Mary said 'I've always had a good rapport with the people who have come in to see us at the Drop-in. It is important to make them feel like they matter'.
Kelly Kelly our Senior Support Worker at the Centre said 'It is people like Mary who make our job easier, she never judges anyone who comes through the door, her dedication to volunteering has been inspirational'.