APRIL 2023


Dear Friends,

 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 

Ac 9:15–16.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 

Ro 8:17.

24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 

Col 1:24

      

As we approach Easter this year we are meditating on the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Very rarely do we think that this is an example. We should. The Scriptures above teach us that the Apostle Paul understood this clearly from the very beginning of his Christian life. It had been a dramatic encounter with the Lord Jesus for sure and he had been chosen to become an apostle. He quickly knew his future and it would be painful as he carried this enormous privilege to serve the Lord.

This is a season of new beginnings I believe. Isaiah 42: 9 is much on my mind and seems very appropriate:-

         See, the former things have taken place, 

         and new things I declare; 

         before they spring into being 

         I announce them to you.” 

Is 42:9.

Many of us who have been called into full-time Christian ministry know what it is to have to pay the price of what Oswald Chambers calls “relinquishment” to be separated for the kingdom of God and “abandoned” to Christ. It may have felt like a death and a resurrection indeed. Others may know that there is a cost to our lives to see the Lord fulfil the destiny He has given us. Perhaps that is what we are going through right now and must continue with until we get there. That needs continuing trust in the Lord through every circumstance along the way. Just as Jesus needed the “joy that was set before Him” (Hebrews 12 :2), so we need to recognise the great joy of accomplishing our God-given destiny yet to come.

If you are hesitating as you think about the cost required to step into your destiny, remember that the grace of God is always sufficient for your every step and need. It often takes a simple step of obedience to follow the Lord, but we must make the choice. The Lord has given us free will and will not force us. It is wonderful that we do not have to seem qualified according to man’s thinking and perspective. No, the Lord equips those whom He calls. Education or ability have nothing to do with it; just a close relationship with the Lord.

Is your life surrendered to Christ? Will you accept the God-given destiny He has chosen for you, even though it may bring suffering at times? Remember, suffering produces character. (Romans 5:3-5) No teaching can impart that, only life’s experience. There is no short-cut to this sort of preparation we each need.

Therefore, are you ready for the “new things” God wants to begin this Easter? Will you say “good-bye” to the past, knowing it has had its purpose completed?

May we all share in these words of Paul this Easter:-

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Philippians 1:21

God bless you,

Pastor Keith Pascoe