Good Morning all- I hope this month’s reflection finds you well- to begin sadly I have to report that our Deputy Branch Leader Andrew Robinson will step down from his role next week as he is leaving the Constabulary to transfer to the City of London Police. Andy has been an excellent support to me over the last few years and his assistance to me in running the Branch has made my life much easier; n behalf of the Branch Andy we wish you well in your service with the City and pray that the Lord guides you in your new work environment! I would ask that everyone remembers Andy in prayer as he moves on and me as I take on the running of the Branch single handed! On another note a team from the CPA are off to the CVM Gathering next weekend so please pray for us as we share our experiences of being Christians in the Police service with men from all walks of life!
Jumpers for Goal Posts
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
So everyone here we go again- ‘Jumpers for Goal Posts, Three Lions on my shirt, England expects everyman shall do his duty, this time we can do it, best team since Euro 96, Goal Line technology, flat back four?, Is Southgate ready/good enough, Is the team too young?, the season is too long, will they cope with the change of climate?, Hope we don’t face Germany in the Penalty shootout…… etc, etc, etc!
Yes it is once again time for the Football World Cup and the excitement has begun to grow right across the world for the four yearly festival of football which is being held in Russia starting this week! The advertising campaigns have hit full speed with every product being hailed as ‘perfect for watching the world cup’. Pubs, clubs and bars across the UK are investing in big screens, extra serving staff and security in preparation for us all sitting down to watch England win the world cup……….?
I would imagine that these preparations are being made in some if not all of the 32 nations represented at this World Cup with the hope of each nation being carried by their players! The truth is however that for 31 of the 32 teams the competition will end in disappointment- there can only be one winner and even a runners up medal comes with a tinge of disappointment; this is the nature of competitive sport! We learn from a very early age that winning and losing is part of playing sport; the ability to win or lose with grace and a smile is something my parents taught me from an early age- it is something I am teaching my children! It is how we face winning or losing that ultimately makes us a winner or a loser!
The truth is that in all sport whether individual or team based there are more losers than winners- in athletics only the top three in the final of any event receive any kind of reward- everyone else goes home empty handed; in team sports there is only one champion in each cup competition and in every league; yet every season those who didn’t win are back, with a clean slate competing to win!
In sport and in life we can never predict how things are going to go- we hope and we plan to succeed, we try our hardest and give it everything but sometimes things simply do not work out as we expected. It is in these moments when things have or are going wrong that we as Christians need to find a way to respond – I was recently watching a film called ‘Facing the Giants’ which tells the story of an American football team and their coach who are facing trials both on the pitch and off of it- it is well worth a watch! In the film the coach encourages his team at one point saying-
‘I want God to bless this team so much people will talk about what He did. But it means we got to give Him our best in every area. And if we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him. Either way we honour Him with our actions and our attitudes. So I’m asking’ you… What are you living for? I resolve to give God everything I’ve got, then I’ll leave the results up to Him. I want to know if you’ll join me.’
What this says to me is that we praise the Lord no matter what- win or lose and not just in sport!!
I recently had the great pleasure to meet Debbie Flood a former British Olympic rower and Christian Sports woman. She told us her story and relayed to us how she had feared that she had lost everything-
‘ Do you ever wonder why your life has gone down a certain path and ask yourself what on earth am I doing here? In the aftermath of losing my Olympic trial in 2000 I was in that place. Aged 18, I had a plan for my life; to row full time for two years, compete in Sydney at the Olympics, and then become a veterinary surgeon. However God had other plans. I had just lost my place in the team and my dreams and hopes had disappeared.’
Debbie went on to explain that after feeling lost and rejected that she had two options- to give up on the plan God had for her or to redouble her efforts and carry on- She decided to carry on rowing and rather than go to the Olympics as she had hoped she had an amazing year where she won trophies and awards at the Henley regatta – she described that year as ‘the most amazing of her international career’.
Debbie went on from that year to win three World Championship Gold medals and Two Olympic Silvers…. Good job she didn’t give up!!
When we fail it is heart breaking whether it is in the world of sport or in our personal or working lives- Having lost in a cup final and failed a driving course I know how it feels! That feeling of heartbreak is however temporary- and we can get past it! We must remember that that one failure does not define us- it is merely a temporary setback in the bigger picture of our lives.
As Christians we have an ever present Lord and Saviour who we can call on at all times- we can rely on him to be with us when everything seems to have gone wrong- it maybe that God has a better plan for you…. I have seen this in evidence in the lives of people around me who have let God guide there steps- as we see in the scripture above from Proverbs that we need to let God guide us to where he needs us!
So this month be encouraged that if you feel you have failed- don’t let it define you- give it to God, Praise him, honour him with your words and actions- give God everything and leave the results up to him!
Oh and ‘Come on England!’
Dear all Good afternoon and a Very Happy Easter to you all!
I am pleased to introduce yet another community partner who has joined our Branch this month- Simon Pinchbeck who works for Christian Vision for Men who lives in Hertfordshire has joined us! Simon does great work ministering to men in his role in CVM- So Simon welcome it is great to have you on board!
Are you sure???
Jesus Appears to Thomas
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20: 24-27
Are you sure? The question that strikes fear into any one of us who have said that they don’t need to stop and ask directions on a journey or when our oldest daughter assures us that her bed room is tidy to ‘Mummy standards’ and I say ‘Are you sure?’ (which usually leads to five minutes extra tidying!)
Those three words are enough to spread doubt and confusion even amongst the more confident of us!
I remember watching early editions of ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ with Chris Tarrant hosting; where the studio lights would go down and a question would appear along the lines of:
‘What colour is the sun?’ with four possible answers of:
The contestant would confidently say ‘I know this Chris- it is A’. Chris Tarrant would pause, nod and reply-
‘Are you sure?’. At which point you could see the seed of doubt had been placed in the mind of the contestant who would normally then waste a life line or two, dither for a few minutes and then ultimately stick with their original answer…… Which of course was right all along!!!
We see in the old testament a clear example of the seed of doubt being firmly placed in the mind of someone- In Genesis 3 we read:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
The truth is that in each of our lives there are days when we are full of doubt- I as a Christian cannot say that over the last 25 years I haven’t on occasion doubted. I have experienced heart breaking loss of family and friends, have seen family issues end in disaster, have been in such a low place personally that have felt totally alone and questioning if God was actually there for me….. we see above that the seed of doubt planted by the enemy led to huge consequences…!
In the Gospel of John above we see how after the Crucifixion and resurrection Thomas says that he won’t believe until he can see Jesus and examine his wounds…. Well we know what happened next!
In his moments of despair he was doubting what others were saying and was only convinced when Jesus revealed himself.
When I have been in that position of doubt I try and spend more time in the word of God and praying by myself- and I very often think back to when Christ was first revealed to me to the extent that I wanted to make a commitment to him- I think back to that wonderful moment standing in the rain in Watford when I was healed of a rather nasty infection, the feeling of absolute peace and absolute Love that overwhelmed me- when I first saw Jesus for who he truly is- the Son of God who Loves me- who loved me enough to take my place on that cruel cross so that I could have an eternal future!
The truth is that we all have ‘Thomas’ or ‘Eve’ moments when the enemy tries his best to undermine our faith- usually when we are at our weakest or lowest as I have experienced in the last year with Anxiety and Trauma issues. Through is all though I have been able to see that even in small ways God has continued to bless me and help me through dark days- the pain and the troubles didn’t disappear overnight but God gave me the encouragement and strength to go on with him firmly at my side.
I was speaking with some guys from my own church this week and talking about the subject of faith and doubt and how God can even turn the worst situations into Good and we discussed the biblical story of Joseph who was abandoned, sold into slavery, transported from his home land, falsely accused and thrown into prison (A brief explanation I know).
In Genesis 50:20 we read – ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’
The enemies intention is always to undermine, hurt or harm you- But God can and wants to change those intentions around if we let him!
So this Easter time be blessed- if you are with family enjoy or if you are working (like me) stay safe.
If you are currently in the midst of an ‘Are you sure?’ time then I want to encourage you to think back to when Christ was first revealed to you and like Thomas have revelation of Christ’s presence.
So once again Happy Easter and God Bless from the family Evans!