From 19th July legal restrictions on communal worship will be removed, however, we are urged to move forward cautiously, and what this means for ECC:Rotherham is still unclear. We are currently awaiting further guidance from Elim Headquarters as to how we should progress with our easing of restrictions, but for now, all of our current restrictions (such as pre-booking seats, mask wearing, and social distancing) will remain in place.
During August, there will be a very limited kids church provision, but this will need to be pre-booked in addition to booking seats for the services. It is our plan for Sunday School to resume fully at church from the beginning of September.
One of the early words spoken to me from God was in Psalm 32. 'Be not like a horse or a mule without understanding which must be curbed with bit and bridle' Well, on this particular occasion, it was not so much that I felt like a horse or a mule; it was more that I felt like a dinosaur!!! All I had gone to the supermarket for was some bread. I know it sounds so simple (that's why I am relating to the dinosaur) and I know it should have been simple but, as I stood and looked at all the many shelves full of different types of bread, it did not seem so simple at all.
There was sliced and unsliced bread. There was brown white or best of both; thin, medium, thick or even extra thick. I could have bread with crust or without crust. I saw seeded bread, unseeded, single seed or multi-seeded. Oh no, there was more still to come; granary, wholemeal, roughage and high roughage. I could have either wrapped or unwrapped plus the choice of about four different bakeries.
All I had come for was some bread. The question was, "which one had I come for?" I began to wonder why I had not paid more attention to what type of bread we usually bought. As hard as I tried I could not think of what our usual bread looked like in the bread basket. It would have been much more straightforward and far less overwhelming if I could have.
That set me thinking. Each day we are faced with choices that we have to make. From the rising of the sun to it's going down we are faced with situations, decisions and choices. The world in which we live offers such a wide variety of alternatives of products intended to satisfy our deepest needs, philosophies that intend to satisfy our deepest desires and programmes that are designed to ensure our wellbeing and health. On the surface such things are attractive and could well be helpful but which, if any, are the right choice?
The Bible makes it quite clear that, as the people of God, choices are important to us on a different level. In fact, in Deuteronomy 30:15-20 we are faced with choices that are categorised as either 'life and good or death and bad'
Such choices are, obviously, in a different league to which bread should I buy. They are choices that affect our journey of life as we live, as we were called, by faith. For example we live in a world that is constantly changing in many ways. In the realm of morality we have seen great change. The choice we face is whether to go with the changing world or to stay with the unchanging Christ who is the pioneer and the perfecter of our faith. You might say that the right choice is simple (and it is) but, for some, the attraction may be very strong.
Life would be much more simple if God made all the choices for us. But He doesn't. He gives the guidance but we are to make the choice. That makes the issue of making the right choices very important (read Isaiah 7:15). So, how do we make the right choices that will helpus to live our lives that please our Heavenly Father?
There are five steps revealed in scripture that are helpful. First, the word of God is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our path (Psalm 119:105). Second, the Holy Spirit is our personal guide whose responsibility it is to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Third, we need to respond and obey (especially when the choice revealed to us in not the choice we would have made). Fourth, we are to ask, in prayer, for the promised spirit of wisdom and revelation to affirm the choice (Ephesians 1:16-19). Fifth, we have faith to know that the issue of making the right choices carries with it the promised reward of life, length of days, fulfilment and satisfaction.
What form do such choices take for the people of God? There is the choice between good and evil or life and death. There is the choice between God and idols (Joshua 24: 15-28). There is the choice between obedience and disobedience (1Samuel 15:1-35) and the choice between wisdom and folly (Proverbs 8:1-21). Don't be fooled or taken in by the seemingly attractiveness of what the world offers but listen to the voice within that says,"This is the way. Walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21). The promises of God are Yea and Amen. They are eternal promises. Even today, if we are tempted to turn to the right or to the left we will hear that same voice. If we hear it and heed it then the issue of the right choice will become far less complicated and much more straightforward. Now there's a thought.
Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt for he looked to the reward