“ Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”
Our church fellowship had begun the New Year looking at these verses – because we wanted to start our Year well. And as we read them it seemed like three simple commands to carry out. But the reality is that we would find them quite difficult to do in our daily lives. Nevertheless, we were exhorted to rejoice, pray and give thanks. But ultimately in all these things, we do it because this is God’s Will for us in Christ Jesus. Often, we think of young people who ask the question from time to time what is God’s will for me and my life? But perhaps also as we are getting older leaving a work we have always done, ‘retirement’ or just wondering what do I do next?– we may re-visit the question in our own life. These appeals to rejoice, pray and give thanks inspire us on in the remaining years of our lives. Knowing that part of God’s will for us is clearly spelt out for each one of us here, as we seek to serve God where we are.
These verses were quite pertinent for me, to be able to give thanks in what has been a frustrating time. Since returning back from Israel I have been off sick, with a trapped nerve in my neck. This was extremely painful and debilitating, finally after physio though not 100% I was able to return to ship visiting at the beginning of January. And it was really good to get back visiting the ships and seafarers.
Visiting the Gannet Bulker I had a good welcome from the Russian and Ukrainian crew and especially productive conversation with one of the A/B’s Yuri. It took a while to talk through some of these issues – he was keen to know about Liverpool and places of interest etc. Later on, as the conversation continued, he asked me about my work – this gave a great opportunity to share the Gospel and to offer him a Russian Bible.
As he took it, he asked me whether it was a history book? In one aspect I could answer in the affirmative but would go on to explain that it was much more than that. Having shared the gospel, I further explained a very brief synopsis of the Bible. I then encouraged him to begin in the NT rather than begin with Genesis. Here he could read the truth of the gospel for himself. “I think reading this book could transform my life he said ”. That was certainly a prayer of mine as we continue to pray that God’s Word would speak into his life. Please join with us in this.
Over the years it has been a privilege to be supported in this work by a number of Christian Ministries who provide literature. One of these is Our Daily Bread (ODB), who have supplied quarterly devotionals for the seafarers. Over the last year they have targeted the work of Port Chaplains nationally. And from this have provided (free of Charge) yearly devotionals in English, Tagalog, Russian, Polish and Indonesian. These are a great resource, and I have recently taken delivery of over a thousand of these devotionals for distribution.
At the same time Our Daily Bread have also been visiting Chaplains and accompanying them on ship visits. Tim Farmer media specialist with ODB filmed/interviewed me and then came with me as we visited a Filipino ship the Handy Perth. We were able to meet the Captain C/Officer and several crew and distribute the devotionals and conduct a short film interview with them also. This will be integrated into a short film clip of work among seafarers in the UK. Hopefully, it will be shown at the up and coming ODB Bible Conference in London and Liverpool.
I had a great conversation with the Indian C/Engineer Medisetty – on the MV Yoga he is a Hindu – but has Christian family and very good Christian friends. We spoke a about a verse in 1 Tim 6:16 where God dwells in unapproachable light and he mentioned Paul so I thought he was mixing up Acts 9. He got his NT which he reads a lot and we read from that how Jesus appeared to Saul and Jesus appearing in bright light had left him blind. In our conversation I spoke about Jesus and how that he can heal and forgive using Luke 5 as an example. I also spoke about Jesus and the uniqueness of his life how that he had lived, died and was raised to life and lives today. How that Jesus had made quite exclusive claims about himself, that he alone was the only way, the only truth concerning the living God – He seemed to accept what I was saying and who Jesus was so I asked him if he had read all of this and found great truth in the NT why was he still a Hindu and not a Christian like his friends and some of his family?
He said that to him and his Hindu faith all religion is like an endless river that flows from the beginning into eternity and into the river through history come many ‘gods’ Vishnu, Brama, Shiva and countless others – Jesus is just one of the many – wonderful though he is. Then I realised, for all the spiritual truth I was seeking to explain that only by the working of Holy Spirit could his eyes be opened to the reality and uniqueness of Christ as the only Lord and Saviour. The only one who had power to save and deliver and give eternal life. Please pray that Medisetty would have his eyes opened.