Dear Friends

As I write this I am looking at my Sasco Year wall planner 2017. It is full of stickers, markers and various symbols, reminding me of what is to come and looking back reminding me of what has past. Every year on December 31st, I stick my new Sasco wall planner up for the New Year. I stand back and look at all the blank spaces and wonder what the year will bring. Every year we start afresh, a blank slate if you like, we make New Years resolutions and hope that we can stick to them.

My New Year resolution last year was to enter a period of detox from the news, media and politics. I felt that God was telling me that I needed to give more time to His Word and not the words of the media (which is often fear based). Also not to allow the disunity and infighting of politics to dominate my thinking. Right at the beginning of 2017, God was teaching me that He was going to be my source and supply throughout 2017 and beyond. Almost 12 months on, my detox of the soul continues. I have kept my New Years’ resolution - not allowing the world and its foolish wisdom, to contaminate my faith.

I have spent more time in the Word of God and more time in prayer. The Christian Television Channel TBN UK, (channel 65 on Freeview and 582 on Sky has replaced Sky news.) I have invested a lot of time and energy building my faith muscles. I wish I could say that 2017 has been a trouble free year and that everything in the garden has been rosy but it hasn’t. As the year progress and we as a family faced our own personal trials of nearly losing our Teenage Son Mark Jnr with his fight for life in intensive care and then the sudden and unexpected death of my Father in Law coupled together with other challenges that have arisen in the family, our faith has been tested and stretched.

As I write this I am reflecting upon the fact that my 11 weeks old granddaughter Bella Ng has spent time in hospital being treated for meningitis, so I think can be forgiven for asking the question of how much more can we take as a family? The trials and tribulations this year alone have been relentless. Why was God calling me to have a detox of the soul at the beginning of this year? I believe it was because He knew that there was going to be many challenges ahead, and I would have to be spiritually equipped and strong to be able to take my stand in faith against them.

That brings me to a very important point. In order for a Christian to remain strong in the face of adversity, we need to ensure that we are doing our spiritual exercises on a daily basis building our faith muscles. Reading our Bibles, prayer and regular church attendance where faith is nurtured and grown is important. Without those disciplines we will become flabby out of shape Christians and more importantly when challenges arise we won’t be able to withstand the storms of life. The fellowship of believers has also played an important part in our journey over the last year, we are part of a Christian community and have valued the love support and prayers of that community.

My detox of the soul will continue into 2018 because I know that I need to be strong in my faith and I can only do that if I get the world out and get more of God in. As the year draws to a close may we all take stock of our lives and ask ourselves the question. What do we need to do to ensure that we are building a strong spiritual foundation in order to be able to stand in Faith. Jesus said “do not be surprised when trials and difficulties arise but take heart, I have over come them all”, and so will we if we remain in Him and He remains in us. Amen.

Rev Mark.