God, The Encourager…

Thinking back over the last few days. Two occasions when I was aware in a very tangible way of God’s presence. the first time was just before I was about to play “O come all ye faithful” on the organ at the Christmas Eve service at Brucefield Church in Whitburn. Sadly, their very brilliant organist passed away not long ago, and I thought it might be nice if they had live organ instead of recorded music on Christmas Eve. Though I am no organist at all, I thought I should help. Anyway, I was nervous. Hence the repeated requests for your prayers! At the said moment, when there was only one carol left to play, I felt the presence of God resting upon my in a very physical and tangible way for quite a few minutes. It felt like God was saying, “You are almost there. Come on you can do this. You are doing well. Thank you!”

The second time I was aware of the same presence, to a degree that surpassed, humbled and delighted me, was when I was about to take the Christmas Day Service in Shotts Prison. As it happened there were no other volunteers there that day so it meant not only preaching and playing the piano, but organising the distribution of doughnuts and Selection boxes etc. (By the way I learned a new maths in prison! Each inmate was meant to take 2 Krispy Kreme doughnuts each. There were, I think, 20 prisoners at the service. There were 48 doughnuts sent in by the Chaplain, Dorothy Russel. Well, apparently, 20 X2 = 48, as there were none left!!) Just waiting for the service to begin, again as the night before in Whitburn, I was aware of the presence of God as I enjoyed a cup of coffee and some wonderful home baking brought in by the Catholic Chaplaincy. Once more it was as though God was saying, “Come on! Don’t be afraid! I am with you. All will be well. You can do this! Well done! Thanks for helping out.”

In both these settings I was simply helping out, nothing more grand than that. I was not taking over a leadership role, but simply there helping out, because help was needed.

So at the end of the year and looking forward to next year, here is my suggestion for encountering the sense of God’s delight. Look for opportunities to help out. I am not talking about His love depending on us doing anything or any sort of conditional love, but just trying to pass on what I have learned over the last few days, sharing my joyful discovery. For some reason, God really seems to like it when we “help out” even if what we are doing is not really something we feel particularly skilled in, and rewards us when we step up – however nervously – with His presence, His “Thank you” and His “Well done.” He is so very kind, so very encouraging. You would almost think He must share our frame, He seems to understand us, what we need to hear and know so well, so well. But wait a minute…

God bless


Memories awakened…

Loved hearing Kenny Gillies, the recently arrived new pastor of Livingston Elim Church share a wee bit of his testimony when I was preaching in his church last Sunday morning. In a Church of Scotland in Applecross he found himself stumbling to the front of the church to receive communion. He commented that it was a bare whitewashed church building.No music being played. No texts on the wall. Nothing. But the minister there, Kenny Macdonald (Kenny Bahn) had been converted in the Lewis Revival. The presence of God was there. That day in Applecross, Kenny Gillies felt a hand on his head and was electrified with the presence of God from head to toe. He had a vision of angels dancing as they shouted “Kenny is saved!”

When will we realise all that is necessary is the manifest effectual presence of God and mourn its loss and seek His presence alone?

Leonard Ravenhill once asked why we do not have revival. His reply? “Because we are prepared to live without it.”

I met Kenny Bahn in a few occasions. He somehow managed to carry a full to overflowing cup of impact of the Lord’s heart rending, beautiful presence right into his latter years. Meeting him left me with no option or desire than to seek the face of God for myself. Others born from above in the fire of the same Revival have had the same effect on me…when in their presence I have found myself several times in bits even though they never spoke a word or spoke in Gaelic which I cannot make head nor tail of….

God bless