Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Faith

Are you ready to have your best year yet?

When you look to the year ahead, what sort of year would you like to have? A good year? A better year? Or the best year?

That sounds like an unusual question. After all, we ALL want to have the best year we have ever had! However, over Christmas, I was reflecting on the past year (which was a very challenging year for UCB), and I was asking God for the new year to be the best year we have ever had. I felt God speak to my heart and challenge me on what ‘best’ actually means. Why should we have the best year? Do we have any right to ask for such a thing? How can we plug into God’s best for our lives?

What are you talking about?

As we look back over the year that was, many of us tend to share the good and the bad experiences of the last 12 months. I have learned over the years that what we talk about has the ability to change the atmosphere around us. If we are sharing good news and giving thanks to God for what He’s done, it fills others with faith and changes the atmosphere to one of expectancy. But if we are talking about the negative, those words too can change the atmosphere – and not for the better. I believe that to see God’s best in our lives, we need to focus less on the experiences and instead focus on our expectations. What do we want God to do in those situations? What do we ‘see’? What do we expect? Instead of talking about the physical circumstances, let’s instead set our eyes on the vision that God has given us.

We need to be changed

To see God’s best, we need to be ready and willing to be changed. That is an uncomfortable place for many people, but God is a God of transformation, and He is never finished with us! Last year at UCB, we invested significantly in our team, giving them opportunity to meet with God in fresh ways. We invited different speakers to address the staff and encouraged the team to seek out their own fresh experience with God. A visit last year from itinerant minister Fergus Mcintyre was a turning point for many of our team, some experiencing the manifest presence of God in their lives for the first time. But for God to move, each of us has to be willing to allow Him to move in our lives. 2 Timothy 3:17  (KJV) says ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.’

We need to be equipped for all that God is going to do, and that means His process of transformation in our lives is never finished (not while we are on this earth anyway!).

What is your room furnished with?

2 Kings 4 tells the story of a noblewoman who was so impacted by the ministry of the prophet Elisha that she and her husband built a room in their house for him to stay in whenever he passed through their town. They furnished the room with a bed, a table, a stool, and a candlestick. In a future blog, I will share what I believe each of these items represents, but I think the simplicity of this furniture was designed to help Elisha find rest, peace and intimacy. These three areas are so important for us too as believers. What is our room, or our heart, actually furnished with? Is it cluttered and noisy and distracted? Or is our heart furnished with peace and rest and stillness with God?

If like me (and UCB), you are looking ahead to 2018, then can I encourage you to speak with expectancy, allow yourself to be changed and transformed and to find that place of rest and intimacy? Let’s believe together that God indeed will give us the BEST year yet!

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When God’s spirit moves

This week on UCB 1 and UCB 2, it has been our national appeal. We have been talking on air about 1 Kings 18 and the ‘sound of a mighty rainstorm’. All around us are small clouds and green shoots of the beginnings of revival, and we are expectant and excited to see what God is going to do.

What you won’t have heard on air is the move of God which has been happening in our own buildings here at UCB.

Last week, we invited Fergus Mcintyre, an itinerant pastor who has a prophetic ministry, to spend time with our staff, praying with each of them and speaking into their lives.

There is nothing like experiencing that refreshing ‘rain’ when the spirit of God touches and refreshes our lives!

As a result of these meetings, I have heard from so many of our team, who have been blessed by what God said to them. I truly believe this is where revival begins.

There is a famous saying: ‘Lord, send revival and let it start with me.’

When we each develop and grow our intimacy with God, He begins to pour His spirit out. In Joel, it says ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.’

I believe these ‘last days’ are now, and can I encourage you to seek God for your own personal revival? When we have received it, we are then able to pass it on to others.

Here are a few stories from our team of what has happened to them in the past week.

Amy’s story (UCB digital designer)

In my life, I have struggled and felt a lot of pain, but I can always sense when others need help. When Fergus prayed for me, he told me I am a good listener and God trusts me. I can walk past someone and squeeze their hand and say, ‘I’m with you’ and they will feel God’s presence. This became really apparent during the appeal when I was able to listen and engage with our supporters on the phone. I was able to help a listener with a severe stammer through the donation process, and I was able to listen and let him know I was there to help. This confirmed many of the things Fergus said to me about listening and being trusted to help others through difficult situations.

Carl’s story (Prayerline Liaison Officer)

Over the past few years, I have been able to pray for many of the staff at UCB and have felt I could often feel other people’s pain. At first, I thought I was just imagining it, but when Fergus spoke to me, he said God wanted me to step up and tell people what I felt and then pray for them. Fergus told me that I was a ‘Barnabas’ and encouraged me to step out in faith, but at the same time, use discernment and speak wisely. A man I did not know at all was used to speak encouragement and blessing into my life.

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Fergus spoke to me about how I’m very particular about all the jobs I do. I dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s as he put it. Whilst this is true, the thing is that however hard I try and whatever I do, I always feel like I’m not good enough – so I decided that I’d stay behind and ask Fergus if he’d pray with me about it.

We chatted, and very quickly Fergus uncovered the root of the problem. I grew up with a violent and overbearing, perfectionist father; everything had to be ‘just right’ all the time. Me and my siblings grew up constantly walking on eggshells, afraid to upset him, and whatever I achieved, it was never enough. The effect that growing up in this kind of environment has on you as a person is huge. And whilst I do feel that I have forgiven my dad for all this already, somehow I’ve just never been able to break free of the hold that it has over me. So, Fergus then prayed with me and asked me to speak out all the things, all the un-truths, that have ever been spoken over me and that I’ve believed.  Then the presence of God came over me in the most powerful way. The chains that have kept me bound since my childhood were broken, and I felt the most amazing sense of peace like I have never felt before. What I have to do now is to walk in the freedom and peace that God has graciously given me.

Paula’s story 

The last few months have been really difficult for me, and I’ve been fighting lots of battles. I knew that I needed to spend more time with God and rest, but I’ll admit, instead, I just made myself really busy. I was exhausted. I didn’t know what Fergus was going to say, but he started laughing and said I was the ’90-mile-an-hour lady,’ always on the go… and that God wanted me to slow down. He also said I’d been dealing with the weight of other people’s expectations, and God wanted to set me free from that. I honestly felt like a huge weight was lifted almost instantly as soon as he prayed, and this week has been truly incredible. There’s a tangible sense of God’s presence in the building, spontaneous prayer groups are breaking out, and I’ve been diving out of bed in the morning, excited to read my Bible and see what God has to say today. It’s amazing to see what God is doing. It’s not what God has done but what He is doing… this is just the beginning.

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Can I encourage you to spend time seeking God in your own life? When His spirit touches our lives, everything changes. We are able to see with clarity, and we are able to pass this incredible presence of God on to others too.  This is where revival starts. As I said at the beginning ‘Lord, send revival and let it start with me’. 

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Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Faith

Don’t live in bitterness

I have been thinking this week about the subject of bitterness and how much it can impact lives (yes, even the lives of Christians).

In Exodus 15, the Israelites (led by Moses) had seen a tremendous victory, and they were celebrating and thanking God for their deliverance. They were singing ‘I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted…the Lord reigns for ever and ever.’

But just three days later, they were in the desert, and their water supplies had run out. They came to the waters of Marah, but they couldn’t drink from it because the water was so bitter. The same people who had been praising God just a short time ago were now grumbling and complaining. Moses cried out to God, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood which he was able to throw into the water. Verse 23 says ‘The water became fit to drink.’ Later, God led the people to Elim, which had ‘12 springs and 70 palm trees,’ and they camped there near the water.

In our lives, many of us face difficulties which could leave us feeling bitter. When faced with tragedy or hard times, we have a choice to walk through the situation (with God’s help) and get better, or we can stay in that situation and camp out in our bitterness. The story in Exodus paints a clear picture of how I believe God wants us to respond when faced with life’s hardships.

Don’t camp at Marah

The word ‘Marah’ (the place of the bitter springs) actually means ‘bitter,’ and it is interesting that in the Exodus story, although Moses led the people there, God did not command them to camp and stay there. It was just a passing through on their journey.

Later when they arrived at Elim (which means ‘roots’ and also means ‘a place of refreshing’) they were able to stop and set up camp. We all go through times of feeling bitter, but I believe it is important to not camp in that place and instead view it as an experience, a place we have to walk through, with God’s help.

We already have the answer

When Moses cried out to God for an answer, the Lord provided him with a tree branch which would make the water drinkable. Trees take decades to grow, and long before Moses and the people encountered this problem, God had already provided a way out, a growing tree which would be used to solve the problem.

We see this again later in the story of Zaccheus in Luke 19. Zaccheus was the chief tax collector and was not well-liked. Luke says he was a man of small stature, and because of the great crowds (and his height), he was not able to get through the crowds to see Jesus. Zaccheus climbed a nearby sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, and later, he met with Jesus personally. We do not know how long it took, but it is likely that the tree had been growing there for a long time. I like to imagine that maybe God even sent an angel to protect that tree, knowing that one day it would be used as an important tool in allowing a man to hear the life-changing words of Jesus. It reminds us that whatever we are going through, God has already provided the answer.

Believe the promise

In our world today (maybe you are going through this yourself), many people have become stuck in a place of bitterness. Bitterness can be like a spiritual cancer, and if we allow it to, it can overtake our thinking and lives.

If you are experiencing that today and wondering how you can break free, can I encourage you to go back to the promises of God. Whatever you are going through, I believe that God has already provided the answer (even if you cannot see it) and that if you walk diligently, God will eventually lead you to ‘Elim’: a place of rest and security.

The tree in the stories of Moses and Zacheus are also a symbol of the cross. If you look to the cross and look to the promises of God, He will lead you through.

It may not be easy, but living a life free of bitterness is living life to the full. And this is how I believe God wants us to live.

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Pick your team wisely

This week, UCB’s Board of Trustees met together to review UCB’s activities and accounts for the year so far. It has been a busy few days with our Board travelling in from different areas of the UK, but I am so thankful for each of our Trustees – for their wisdom and ability.

In any leadership position, it is important to have a GOOD team around you. We are blessed at UCB to have a Board and Executive Team made up of Godly, skilled men and women who have the right balance of professional skills and a heart for ministry. When we look to appoint new people to our team, we are, above all, looking for people of integrity with a heart for UCB’s vision and who can help and support UCB to stay focused on the big picture and keep us accountable in all things.

Our Board meetings are a mixture of time spent together with God (this is a non-negotiable) and time spent going over the business and operational side of UCB.

This meeting was no exception, and we began by looking to God’s Word. Although we are governed by a great Board, ultimately God is our chairman, and we always start with worship and devotions. This time, one particular area of scripture stood out for me: 1 Samuel 15.

The prophet Samuel gave Saul an assignment from God. He was to destroy the Amalekites and all their possessions because they were a people who had dishonoured Him. Saul accepted the challenge and defeated the Amalekites, but He preserved the life of king Agag and saved the best of the cattle. Knowing that Saul had been disobedient, Samuel went to confront him. Saul declared that he had ‘carried out the command of the Lord’ but (perhaps with a hint of humour) the prophet Samuel said ‘What then is the bleating of sheep I can hear?’

Saul had been disobedient, but he argued that all these fine lambs would make an even bigger and better sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel reminded him that ‘to obey is better than sacrifice.’

This story reminded us all of the need to be obedient. It is easy sometimes to be focused on matters of business and governance, but it is important, first and foremost, to fear God. This is not a kind of terrified fear, but a reverent fear which ensures we stay close to Him, and when He tells us to do something, we do it!

That is why, for me, it is important to be surrounded by Godly, discerning people such as our Board, for they bring an ‘outside’ perspective and help to keep us on track. In all areas of life, we each need a ‘team’ of people who will support us in the good and bad times, and also, if needed, provide a voice of correction. Do not be tempted to surround yourself with ‘yes men’. Find a Samuel.

Our trustees have now gone home, but we will be meeting again soon for prayer and updates.

Can I ask you to join us in prayer for a few issues? For wisdom and discernment for our Board and Executive team? And also for a breakthrough in UCB’s finances. We continue to experience many challenges with UCB’s income stream, but we are looking to the future with faith (not fear). 

Please could you stand with us and believe for a breakthrough?

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In a time of terror, the Lord is the stronghold of my life

Just two weeks after the attack in Manchester, here we are again, facing more devastating news: ‘Terror strikes again in London Bridge – at least 6 people have died and more than 40 injured.’

First of all, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected: individuals, families, emergency services, the communities nearby, our Capital city of London as well as our Prime Minister and government. How they need God’s wisdom and guidance as they deal with another horrific tragedy.

And for us, where do we find healing when our broken hearts seem unable to recover? As a country, we have barely understood one tragedy when yet another one hits. What can we do?

Well, for me personally, my only advice is to stand firmly upon God’s Word, for that is where I find my comfort and strength. God’s Word has been the anchor for my own family in times of desperate tragedy, and it is the one thing that we can ALWAYS rely on. God’s Word never changes, and it contains all we need for hope, comfort, healing, wisdom and guidance.

If you are fearful, grieving, or broken today, let the truth of God’s Word sink into your heart:

The Lord is MY light and MY salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will NOT fear, though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)

To me, in darkness and devastating times, the Lord is my source of light. That means He WILL guide and lead me. Darkness may be the symbol of distress, trouble, perplexity and sorrow, but light is the very opposite of these. God supplied King David with so much light that his very darkness disappeared and his way became brighter, even in a time of real trouble. If we allow God to invade our lives, He gives us His peace that surpasses all understanding, and He reminds us that He IS God, and when we are with Him, we are safe.

Today, you may be broken-hearted. Well let me tell you that He still heals broken hearts. I know because He healed mine. Psalm 147:3 says: ‘He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.’

The definition of ‘broken’ is ‘reduced to pieces’, fragmented, ruptured, torn, fractured, not functioning properly, out of working order.

Is this how you feel? Do you feel like your heart has been reduced to pieces? Ruptured? Broken? Destroyed? YOU ARE REALLY HURTING! It’s like your heart has been shattered into many pieces and you feel emotionally crippled. Ask God to help you, to strengthen you, and to heal you. Hand your situation over to Him, trust in Him, anchor yourself in His Word, and allow Him into the broken parts of your life.

He STILL heals the broken hearted! Why? Because He really loves you.

Our hearts and prayers today are with everyone who is broken, lost, and feels as though their lives have been shattered. The cry of our hearts is ‘Lord God, heal our land!

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How to be a radical disciple

How to be a radical disciple.

A few weeks ago, it was wonderful to have Jarrod Cooper with us to speak at our Foundation event for leaders. We were so blessed by Jarrod’s ministry, and I have asked him to share a few thoughts this week as a guest blog. I hope this encourages you to be radical in your discipleship.

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Radical disciples

God did not ask us to make ‘church members’, count ‘decisions’, or even have people say ‘the sinner’s prayer’ (not that I’m against any of those things necessarily). He actually told us to make disciples.

‘Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me!”’ Matt 16:24

A church member in some of today’s circles is more like the member of any social club. Some want to go to a certain church because it’s cool, big, glitzy or because it’s small, comfortable, not too demanding. All this has little to do with the real walk of faith and the real JESUS. In the gospels, we find that Jesus-followers entered into a deeply life-changing arrangement.

The disciples had to be…

Available

Busy people gave up their jobs and plans to follow Jesus after a single request. Would you or I? He may not require everyone to give up their careers, but all will have to make space for the learning and mission of being a disciple.

Teachable

Jesus told them ‘I will make you fishers of men.’ It was clear He was going to teach them. A disciple, by inference, has a teacher. If you are the leader, that’s you! Are we discipling our church members or filling in databases and doing hospital visits? Every church should be a training ground, and every Christian a soldier either in, or preparing for, battle.

Breakable

Talented Peter went through some deep, humbling experiences. Disciples accept humility and brokenness as part of the journey. Pride is at the root of all sin and must be winkled out. God will line all of us up for some rejection, failure, and being overlooked. Are we teaching our people to handle it? Are we preaching brokenness and teaching repentance? Are we confronting sin? We’ve all got to pass that test (or keep retaking it!).

Correctable

True discipleship involves some straight conversations. ‘Iron sharpens iron’, but soft, marshmallow conversations rarely change anyone deeply! Our society is so hooked on approval that often we don’t know what correction or discipline looks like any more, so we call it rejection. But correction is not rejection – it is protection. And discipline is not disapproval, it’s the removal of stuff that is going to harm you! ‘God disciplines those He loves’ (Hebrews 12:4-11) Are we raising disciples who will embrace correction and find life in it?

Connectable

Jesus called His disciples ‘to be with him.’ Friendship with a more experienced man or woman of God and a group of fellow disciples is a vital part of healthy growth. Are we allowing a few to get close, to walk the walk with us, and not just listen on Sundays? You can’t be connected to everyone, but we all can disciple a few.

Sendable

Another new word! Jesus ‘sent them out.’ Are we sending the troops somewhere, adventuring selflessly as part of a vision bigger than ourselves? Every true disciple is a missionary.

So are we raising disciples or gathering members? Some of us need to change the polarity of our relationship with our church members, because it should not be the leaders who are chasing around after members.

Instead, the leaders should be saying to others ‘Follow me, and I will make you…’ (Matthew 4:19). Leaders of the Church of the future won’t simply be carers and counsellors (though both are necessary), but pioneers who get a vision, make it plain for all to see, then march off to a brave new world with disciples following. In this way the Church will become more of a movement than a hospital. An army on the front line, not cadets locked in their barracks!

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Darkness will never extinguish the light! 

I am in France this week taking part in an exciting mission with Pastor Marc Declaudure’s churches in three townsL Saumur, Thouard, and Ludun. I woke up this morning, like many others, to devastating news headlines: Manchester Arena blast: 22 dead and a further 59 people were injured after another suspected terror attack.

Although I was born in France, I have lived in the UK for well over 40 years, and my wife and I raised our family here. The UK is our home.

I was in France in November 2015, when terrorists attacked Paris. And similar to that incident, I was in the middle of an exciting week of mission at my brother’s church then too. We were seeing incredible miracles, lives set free, and people committing their lives to Christ.

We were full of excitement at what God was doing, and then we heard the horrific news about Paris. Our hearts were broken, just as they are today for the people of Manchester, for all those who have been injured, for all those who have lost someone.

We are so thankful to live in a country that is able to respond quickly and with deep compassion in the face of a tragedy.

As Christians, we sometimes wonder what to say in the face of such a terrible situation. Today, I am again reminded of the words of Psalm 37, this very same Psalm that we read the Sunday morning after the attacks in Paris:

Do not fret because of those who are evil

or be envious of those who do wrong

Be still before the Lord

and wait patiently for him;

do not fret when people succeed in their ways,

when they carry out their wicked schemes.  

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;

he is their stronghold in times of trouble.

The Lord helps them and delivers them;

he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,

because they take refuge in him. 

How can we pray?

Firstly, let’s consider people. Let’s pray for those who are fighting for their lives. Let’s pray for the families and those who have lost someone they loved. Let’s also pray for those who witnessed the attack and for the local residents who have to come to terms with this enormous tragedy. Let’s pray also for the medical centres who are working with the injured.

Secondly, we need to pray for wisdom for our Governments as they discuss and debate what happens next: pray that they choose ways and responses which are inspired by God and not necessarily their own intuition.

Thirdly, let us always go to God’s Word for our answers. His Word (John 1:5) says that the darkness in the world will get darker, but that darkness will never extinguish light. In fact, it says that light (His light) will continue to shine brighter and the darkness CANNOT overcome it.

That is where I get my strength and hope. Let’s pray with passion for our world and all those who are suffering and grieving today.

And may God’s light, His inextinguishable light shine ever brighter in the middle of the darkness we see.

Christian Media, Christianity, Devotional, Evangelism, Faith

Thank you!

On UCB 1 and UCB 2 last week, it was our National Appeal, and if you were involved in some way, I want to thank you for your support.

The theme of the appeal, ‘Bring 4:35 alive’, was based on John 4:35 where Jesus says to the disciples ‘It’s still four months until harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.’

I have been thinking about and studying this verse for a long time, and I get so much from it. It reminds us to stop looking around at the problems we face and all the uncertainties in the world. It tells us instead to look up… to be ready… to reap the harvest. The time is now. People are ready to hear the incredible life-changing message of Jesus. And at UCB, we believe that Christian media can be an important part of reaching people, and that by working together, we can reach the UK with the Gospel in an unprecedented way.

The appeal last week was remarkable, and as I walked around UCB overhearing conversations on phone lines or between staff members, I could feel faith rising in all of our hearts. There was an air of excitement and expectancy, and as we exceeded our original target on day 2 of the appeal, we were overwhelmed at God’s goodness and provision. By the end of the appeal, thanks to your support, more than £220,000 was raised to help UCB’s mission and ministry.

As we closed the phone lines on Friday night, our hearts were full of joy, not just due to the funds that were raised, but because of the feeling that God had heard our prayers and opened the windows of heaven.

So, if you were part of UCB’s appeal, in giving or in prayer, then thank you. We still have a long way to go, but these 3 days reminded us that we have a God who hears us when we pray. We do not always get our breakthrough immediately, but when we begin to see God move in our circumstances, it is unmistakeable.

Can I encourage you? If you are waiting for a breakthrough in your own circumstances, keep praying, keep believing, keep holding on to God’s Word. We serve a God who hears us when we pray.

Thank you again for all your support.

P.S. If you would like to support UCB’s appeal, you can still do so by clicking here.

thank you

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UCB needs your help

I am taking the unusual step of putting these thoughts into a blog post due to an urgent need we are facing at UCB.

We live in uncertain times. Our political systems are changing, and the world is shaking in a way that we have not seen before. But do you know what? God is moving, and we know that He has great plans for our nation.

UCB is seeing a great demand for its resources. Every year, we reach well over one million people through our radio, television, Word for TodayPrayerline, and many other aspects of our ministry.

Can I really share my heart to you?

Right now we urgently need your help. Demand upon our free resources is growing, but in 2016, our income dropped by almost £1 million pounds, and it’s continuing to decline.

We are asking you to stand with us, but you may be asking, ‘How can I do that?’

Number one, you can pray for us, and you can also tell people about how to engage in our resources. But right now, I am asking you to stand with us to support UCB with a donation. Your regular giving allows us to plan for the future so that we can meet this growing demand.

You may not be aware, but UCB is a charity. We receive no government funding and are completely reliant on God. But God uses people like our faithful listeners, viewers, and readers to support this ministry. Our heart is to reach as many people across the UK to see God’s light shine in the darkness and to see lives transformed by the power of God’s Word.

Time is of the essence, and we must not let the enemy’s strategy prevail, which is to steal, kill and destroy. Thousands of people rely on receiving God’s Word through the UCB Word For Today, UCB Radio, UCB TV and much more to bring hope and spiritual encouragement.

Will you stand with UCB today?

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Face fear with your faith!

After the arrest of Jesus and later His execution, we know that the disciples were afraid.

John 20:19 tells us that on the evening of the first day, they were together ‘with the doors locked.’ It must have been a very distressing time. Their best friend and Saviour had been publicly executed, and they must have been very shocked by all they had witnessed. In fear for his life, Peter had denied knowing Jesus, and now they were all hiding behind locked doors.

This picture hidden away in a room is an illustration to me of what the enemy tries to do in our lives. I believe fear is the greatest weapon of the enemy – fear literally paralyses us and stops us from moving forward.

It might be the fear of ill health, of losing your job, of what others think. It does not matter; it all has the same outcome – it holds us back from all that God wants us to do. It was the same for the disciples. Just a few days before, they had been enjoying a Passover meal with Jesus, and then they were in hiding, trying to preserve their lives. They were unable to move forward.

The amazing part of this story to me is that when Jesus appeared to them, He asked them ‘Why are you frightened?’ Luke 24:36 says Jesus asked them: ‘Why do you doubt that it is really I? Look at my hands! Look at my feet! You can see that it is I, myself! Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost! For ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do!’ As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see the marks of the nails and showed them the wounds in his feet.

Luke 24:41 says ‘Still they stood there undecided, filled with joy and doubt.’

Even when Jesus appeared to them in power and wonder, after being so brutally killed, they were still not sure whether they could believe their eyes!

The journey of faith is not always an easy one, and sometimes even when we know and experience Jesus in the middle of the situations we face, we wonder if He really will save us. This story speaks to us of the heart and mercy of Jesus. He appeared to the disciples in the middle of all their doubt and confusion, and then he ate a meal with them. As they listened to all that he said, the Word of God tells us that they ‘opened their minds to understand at last the Scriptures.’

I believe that faith is a journey. We do not always feel full of faith, but we can make a decision to trust in all that God has said to us. Faith is not the absence of fear; it is the mastering of fear.

For me, the story of Easter speaks to us of hope, of life, and of Jesus meeting us in the middle of our confusion and reminding us that we have nothing to fear.