‘I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory.’ Judges 4:9
In Judges 4, Barak has heard God’s word through the prophetess Deborah. He’s been commissioned to lead Israel into battle against Sisera’s cruel and oppressive army. Barak responds that he will go if Deborah goes with him. She agrees and then cautions him that the victory that God will give, won’t lead to Barak’s glory because ‘the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ Cue everyone’s nightmare camping companion, Jael with her hammer and tent-peg! Of course, the purpose of this rather strange choice of ‘salvation strategy’ is not so that Jael would get the glory instead of Barak, but that God would get the glory that is rightfully his. Traditionally Barak is criticised for his hesitancy and even cowardice. But who did he want to go with him? Answer, Deborah, the one who spoke God’s word. And once he had that assurance, he went in faithful obedience and did all that God had commanded. We could therefore conclude that Barak was a man who heard God’s word and obeyed God’s word, but it was God who got the glory.
I've been thinking about this story recently (and not just when sleeping in a tent for two weeks on Öland with a tent peg inches from my head!). The challenge for us has been, ‘Are we prepared to simply be those who hear God’s word, obey God’s word and desire above everything else that God would get the glory?’ So often we can be attracted by the achievement of personal ‘significance’ or feel the pressure of expectation for ministry ‘success’. Please pray that daily we would passionately seek God’s glory and trust him to get it, in whatever way he chooses, through whoever he uses and however long it takes.
Our camping trip to Öland was a really special family time at the end of a summer for which we’re thankful to God. Emily and Grace attended CEF training week in Kilkeel, Co. Down and Alice joined them for Intents Bible Camp at Castle Saunderson, Co. Cavan.
Praise God for the faithfulness of mission workers and camp leaders who poured God’s word and their lives into others this summer and for how he has been at work through this in the lives of our girls. Pray for the girls this week going back to school into a very different environment. The past year has been particularly challenging for us all as a family and this has had an impact on the girls at school also. Emily has returned to Hvitfeldtska. Alice will move up to IES senior school where Grace is entering her final year which will include national tests in preparation for high school. Unknown to us, Grace has been praying, since camp, to have a Christian teacher and yesterday we discovered that her new science teacher is the wife of a guy who is leading a New Frontiers’ church plant in the city! Praise God! We’re just overwhelmed with thankfulness! What an encouragement this is to persevere in prayer and to trust God and his goodness.
Give thanks for ‘Summer Sundays’ at the lake (see photo at the top of the page), as we met in the open-air for teaching, worship and fellowship. Over seven Sundays we considered the ‘sign’ passages in John’s Gospel. Pray for a number of international visitors who joined us in this more informal setting and also for those around us who ‘eavesdropped’ on the good news preached and the praise of his people.
We’re back again meeting in Kortedala Forum as we begin the new ‘season’ in church. Thank you for praying for the problem we had regarding our venue that has now thankfully been resolved. Trevor will continue with studies in 1 Peter and Daniel will begin Exodus. On the last Sunday in each month we are going to have Cafékyrkan, where we will address ‘Questions about God, the Bible and me’. Pray for Omid as he begins with ‘Can we really trust the Bible? Please pray also for Sunday school which will begin weekly from the end of August. We’re so thankful for CEF materials that have already been translated into Swedish and we plan to follow the new Good News Club curriculum. Judith and Ingrid (CEF Sweden) are helping us with training and preparation for this new venture. Please pray for those who will be part of the Sunday school rota and especially for the children who will hear God’s word week by week.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll also be starting back to the Sagåsen refugee camp on Tuesday mornings and also recommencing our Easy Swedish Bible Study on Wednesday evenings. Trevor and Alex will return to Philippians for the studies through the autumn. In the past this has been a wonderful opportunity to open up our home and invite people who God has brought into our lives mainly through language study. We would love to see neighbours coming in. Please pray for us in some new opportunities with neighbours that seem to be opening up. A lovely Indian couple have moved in opposite us. In God’s providence they’re friendly with A, also from India, who previously came to Bibel Språk Café. Our Tillsammans one-to-one programme begins in September. Give thanks for how this has been used in lives to deepen relationship with Jesus and with one another. Pray for partnerships this year that will grow and be built up together.
Thank you for praying for the training opportunities we have through Equipped. In May we had an encouraging Equipped to Preach Module 1 course here in Kallebäck. We are now planning for our first Module 2 course (25-26 October). Pray that there will be a good uptake from those who have attended Module 1 courses. Trevor continues to meet with Joel and will travel to preach for him in the Missionskyrkan on Tjörn on 1 September. Two members of Joel’s church attended the last Equipped course. Please also pray for new opportunities to share with pastors about Equipped. We had good contact with Josef earlier in the summer who is a Pingst pastor in Småland and also with Timothy who has recently come to minister in a Lutheran Svenska Kyrkan quite close to us. God is at work!
When the post-battle song of praise is sung, in Judges 5, it’s very clear who gets the glory, as Barak and Deborah ‘make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel’. Salvation is the Lord’s! Of course, one day a greater deliverer than Barak would come and his would be the ultimate salvation deliverance, crushing Satan’s head through the cross. His is the glory, honour and praise, forever! It’s our privilege and joy to serve him here in Sweden and to partner with you in this work. We’re in this together for him! May God keep us all listening to his word, obeying his word and desiring above everything else that he would get the glory!
With warmest greetings,
Trevor, Andrea, Emily, Grace & Alice xx
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