From the editor
2004 has come and almost gone. I trust that for most of our
readers 2004 has been a prosperous and blessed year. And that for
those who have experienced life’s harsh realities, that you
have been able to clamber up on to the Rock, Jesus, Who is so
much higher than us. Whilst I am a firm believer in living
life to the full, throwing ourselves into our work here with all
of our might, ‘occupying – until Jesus
comes’, the hope of every believer remains. We are all
leaving here soon, going to be with Jesus.
We have several family members and friends who are currently
dealing with cancer. I hear of acquaintances being diagnosed
This disease is so prevalent in the world today that when
Matthew 24 and Luke 21(i) talk about ‘pestilence’ being
a sign of Jesus’ return (Greek: loimos meaning ‘a
plague’ – literally the disease), it is
clear that we are witnessing this sign right now.
Tribute to Peter
In early November we lost a special friend (and family
member), Peter Capell, who went to be with Jesus after an eleven
month battle with a very debilitating form of cancer.
Peter was a ‘good man’. He gave his life to Jesus
at a young age, served the Lord enthusiastically for over 20
years, and would seem to have had so much more to achieve. His
work for Jesus has had an impact on many people all around the
world. We will miss not having Peter’s character present
with us as we continue our race – but picturing him with
Jesus can only make me smile.
God’s ‘Appointed time’
Certainly questions have been asked as to why someone as
good as Peter, who has served the Lord so well in
Christian missions, dedicating his life to this purpose, should
be called home prematurely.
It’s so easy to use the term ‘pre-mature’
when we wrestle within our finite capacity to acknowledge
God’s appointed time. God had an appointed time for Peter
and He also has an appointed time for you and I. We struggle with
this divine appointment most often because it makes ‘little
sense’ from our perspective. I don’t know that I have
ever witnessed an occasion where God’s appointed time has
ever been convenient or right for us.
There are two perspectives on it really - the
local/earth-based view leaves us holding God to task. The
eternal/timeless/heavenly perspective is sweet. It holds to
God’s wisdom and takes the sting from the mourning...
incredibly, even turning it into dancing.
Faith and preparation
We have been acquainted with this situation (bereavement)
numerous times over the past decades. Family members, friends and
ministry associates have come to their appointed time. We have
watched, participated in and even lead the ‘fight of
faith’ against sickness or injury. In many cases, the
prayer of faith has been accompanied with words or assurances of
healing. Still, our faith cannot change the appointed time.
Confusion around faith and healing comes when we lose the
ability to ‘rest in Father’s faithfulness’. We
mean well, we try hard, but silence from the Almighty should
never ever be interpreted as a consequence of a lack of faith.
And for all who sit in condemnation over not being able to
‘pray hard enough’ or ‘get the breakthrough we
so desire’, we can find God’s peace in acceptance
that ‘He knows – and is not taken by
Someone says – so you don’t believe in the
prayer of faith, and petitioning God fervently for positive
results during difficult times? Yes - I certainly do!
But the response to prayer is God’s domain. My domain is
to prepare responsibly should God have ideas which are not my
ideas. Furthermore, in such tender situations, it is absolutely
imperative that we redeem the time we have in a practical sense
– ensuring that people are not only prepared spiritually
for the possibility of moving on to Heaven, but have also been
allowed the opportunity to relate to loved ones in a very real
way, preparing for the life which will carry on without them.
Succession planning is all too often overlooked in the context of
faith and seeking healing. And, should God choose to heal –
nothing is lost from the exercise!
A friend of ours sent me an email this week with a quote from
Chuck Swindoll(ii) which is most assuring.
Cancer is limited
It cannot cripple love
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy friendship
It cannot shut out memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot reduce eternal life
It cannot quench the spirit
It cannot lessen the power of the
Heaven is our home
It seems like it has been a long year, I admit to real
fatigue. Sometimes I don’t feel like I can continue –
and then I remember. One of the most powerfully motivating
thoughts I carry around in my head/heart is the picture of
For the believer in Jesus, the thought of Heaven is one of the
most motivating ‘visions’ we can carry around in our
hearts. Incredibly though, we talk less and less about Heaven in
our religious circles these days – as our focus (evident in
our sermons, conversations and indeed Christian culture) has
shifted to ‘staying’ as opposed to
‘leaving’. One of the real benefits of the hope of
Jesus coming is that it comes part and parcel with a focus on our
new heavenly kingdom.
"And if we just could see, one glimpse of what will be,
we’d want to win this race, living our lives by faith.
Because heaven is our home, where we’ll reign forever,
shining like the Son, with our King forever. Every sorrow gone,
we’ll rejoice forever. Heaven is our home"(iii)
All the best and God bless you as you contemplate 2005.
Maranatha – Jesus is coming!
i) Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11
ii) Charles Swindoll "The Finishing Touch"
iii) Song "Heaven is our home" – composer unknown