God’s Truth

When sensing abandonment, life can seem overwhelming, and finding resilience to continue is tough. I was recently woken with a text message from my daughter, who had just arrived in America. It carried her sorry tale that the airline had lost her baggage, which carried her costume for a performance she was to do. Frustrated that she seemed unable to convince anyone to take her seriously, jet-lagged and alone in a new city, she turned to a somewhat distant and therefore impotent source of help: myself!

As a parent, no matter how independent your child, those emotional links that stretch the stomach taut never seem to leave. So, bleary-eyed and 5,000 miles away, I engaged in a text conversation with my daughter that in reality wasn’t going to change anything.

However, what it did do was to give her sufficient energy to make it to her hotel, buy a brand-new costume, perform when exhausted, and endure four days of travelling backwards and forwards to an airport before eventually retrieving her bag.

In the words of the psalmist, her heart did not turn back, nor did her steps depart from the way. This is the challenge at the heart of the Christian life; standing firm when the tide is flowing against you, your eyes cannot see clearly what lies ahead, and you lack the resources you assume you need to get by.

Following Jesus is about consistency. God’s truth, and so our true reality, is the fact that within the swirling tide of events, we keep our heart focused upon Jesus and keep standing firm in who we know God to be. It takes resilience, and often makes little sense to those around about us. We may look bewildered and bedraggled, and perhaps we are. Bowed down yet not broken, we step onto the waters of a raging sea with eyes on Jesus who alone can sustain our life, whatever our circumstances.

(Dr Micha Jazz)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

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See a need and fill it!

Fifteen year old Thomas went on a mission trip to volunteer among the many street people in the city of Philadelphia. He went with a team of teenagers and stayed for a week.

Thomas had begun the journey with some misgivings; it was a new and often intimidating experience for him, but later he returned home rejuvenated and excited. Not only was he more thankful for what life had given him, he also said that he would never look at a homeless person or someone in need the same way again.

“It’s easy to judge people without knowing a thing about them and to think that they are all the same,” Thomas explained, “I believe that it is a mistake that many of us make, but I know the thoughts I had towards the homeless left me as soon as I met them on the first day.”

A Haitian proverb says: “The rocks in the water don’t know the misery of the rocks in the sun.” In other words, we cannot understand another man or woman unless we walk in his or her shoes.

Today, if we meet someone with a need, let us think how we may be best to fill it.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Thomas Coke (1747-1814)

From Brecon to the World

Thomas Coke was one of the founders of Methodism and a major contributor to the globalisation of the movement. Born in Brecon, is travelled widely and initiated the sending of missions to many countries.

Brecon in the 18th Century

When Coke was born, Brecon was one of the most important towns in Wales. It was on the route to Ireland and the final stop for the first regular coach service into Wales from London. It held one of the four Welsh Courts of Great Sessions of a prominent market town and administrative centre. It was also an important social centre for the local gentry and landowners who built many fine houses in the town.

Early Life

Born close to St Mary’s Church in Brecon, where was baptised, Coke was the son of a well-to-do apothecary (early pharmacist), Bartholomew Coke, and his wife, Anne. He was educated at Christ College in Brecon and at Jesus College, Oxford and he graduated from University in 1768. In 1775 he became a doctor of Civil Law. In Brecon he was deeply involved in town life, serving first as a councillor and then as the Bailiff in 1770.

Early Methodism

The Methodist movement began in the 18th century with the teachings of John Wesley, who believed in bringing faith back into people’s everyday lives and that salvation was available to all. He was a charismatic speaker and often preached in the open air. Methodism became popular amongst the working class, although members of all social classes at the time became involved.

Early Ministry

In 1771 Coke was ordained as a priest and became curated in the parish of South Petherton, in Somerset. He first met John Wesley in 1776 and later became an important assistant to him, beginning his lifelong commitment to the newly developing Methodist Church. On Easter Sunday in 1777, to the sound of church bells, Coke was driven from his parish because the local Rector disapproved of his Methodist ways.

Profile and Personality

At only 5’1”, Coke was a short man but he had a youthful appearance that stayed with him throughout his life. He was described as volatile and impulsive but also quick to admit when he was at fault, warm-hearted and honest. John Wesley said of Coke in 1788: ’I creep like Laos and the ground I get I keep; but the doctor (Coke) leaps like a flea and is sometimes obliged to leap back again.’

In America

In 1784, Coke was ordained Superintendent and sailed for the newly formed United States with orders to organise an independent American Methodist Church. In Baltimore, Coke met with Methodist preachers and ordained their chosen leader, Francis Asbury, as a fellow Superintendent; though they were both later styled ‘Bishop’ by the Americans, much to John Wesley’s displeasure. Coke made nine journeys across the Atlantic Ocean, meeting with the President, George Washington, speaking out against slavery and addressing the US Congress.

Father of the Methodist Missions

In 1786, Coke landed on Antigua in the Caribbean. Impressed by the devotion and quiet endurance of the slaves he found there, he was inspired to organise and encourage Methodist missions throughout the West Indies and elsewhere. The costs were high and Coke often financed them from his own pocket. His marriages, late in life, to Penelope Goulding Smith, from Bradford-on-Avon, in 1805, and Anne Loxdale, of Liverpool, in 1811, she died less than a year later, helped fund his work: both women were strong supporters of their husband’s ideals, before their untimely deaths.

Death and Commemoration

Coke made his final voyage in 1814, at the age of 67, leading a team of missionaries to the Indian sub-continent. On Tuesday May 3rd, he was found dead in his cabin and was buried at sea. His loss was greatly felt by the Methodist Church and many memorials were created to commemorate his life’s achievements. In Brecon, a memorial chapel was built in 1835, to which school was later added. Churches bearing his name can be found in the United States, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and even South Petherton, his first parish.

Methodism in the World Today

Since Coke’s day, Methodism has continued to spread across the globe and today claims over 70 million members. Modern day Methodists, such as the late Nelson Mandela, continue Coke’s legacy of ’a life of faith in God lived in service to others.’ In December 2013, the Methodist Church of South Africa said: ’Mandela’s life demonstrated the finest characteristics of the Methodist faith: integrity tempered with graciousness; a strong ethic of industriousness; and honesty with reconciliation.’

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Coin

There is a memorable story about Henry Ford, the American car manufacturer, famous for his mass-produced Model T.

He was out walking with his grandson one day when the boy picked up a coin from the path, looked at it and then threw it down again, remarking that it wasn’t worth much.

“Wait a minute,” said Ford, and he took a dollar bill from his wallet. “This paper money may seem or more value, but in some circumstances the coin is of much more worth. For instance, I can use the coin to prise open a bottle cap, I can use it to turn a screw if I am without a screwdriver, or I can place it underneath a table leg to level the table.”

Ford’s grandson learned an important lesson that day – never to write off something as being worthless.

This lesson can apply to so many things: the smile and greeting that can develop into a lasting friendship; the decision to take up a new hobby than can lead to all sorts of possibilities; the impulse to step out in an entirely new direction.

All things which at the time may seem quite unimportant, but which are later found to have an important influence on our lives.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

My Thought For Today:- Helen Keller

Imagine that you were deaf, dumb – and blind.

Helen Keller was born with all these challenges to face in her life, but she managed to travel the length and breadth of America raising much needed monies for the American Foundation For The Blind and making people aware that many people like her were often inappropriately placed in asylums.

This wonderfully inspirational lady was born into her life with seemingly insurmountable problems.

But she left the world a much much better place having discovered a great secret.

She said, “Life is an exciting business. And it is most exciting when it is lived for others.”

Do you live for others? Or just for yourself?

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey