Many years ago I saw a Russian poster showing military aircraft roaring into the sky with words which conveyed the message “We have sent out into space and can confirm that we have found no trace of heaven or a god. If we ever found such we would blast it out of the sky”.

I remember laughing at the ignorance of such an idea, but there is still much ignorance of Heaven today so let me shed a little light on to the subject.

I start with the Bible statements “God Is Spirit” , and “God made man in His own Image” This means that the real You is a spirit , I am not talking about your body which started out as a small baby and constantly changes with time and use, nor what you look like as changes take place. The real you may develop with knowledge and experience but you will know that You are You and no one else, You live within the confines of a physical body in a physical world.
Continue reading “Heaven”

To Change or Not to Change?

I had not been long as a Minister in Bristol when I visited one of my members who was now retired. I asked him what work he had retired from, and in reply he took me to a shed at the bottom of the garden. “This is where I worked” he said “I was a shoe maker”.

Every Friday he had walked to the local shoe factory down the road with a sack of newly made shoes, and get paid for his work and return home with a sack of pre-cut pieces of leather to make more shoes . From eight in the morning to six in the evening he had sat on that stool working away making shoes out of the parts supplied. Every shoe had to be perfect or he would lose money.

Once a man reached sixty-five he had to stop work, without a pension (except the government one) So life had not been “a bowl of roses” as he put it.

Back in the sitting room with his wife I learned that there used to be five other shoe factories in the district and he could have given up working in his shed to work in them. But each time he had the opportunity, they had prayed about it, and God had said “Stay as you are”. So he did. “Now those factories are all closed” his wife said, “So God knows what’s best for us”. The husband smiled at me “We have a rule in this house. We never change anything without asking Our Lord first”. “He never fails to guide us aright”.

As I sat and enjoyed these simple saints of God I became aware that their simple faith in Jesus was just what their Lord had been teaching all through the Gospels.

If you believed that God would lead you, and just left it to Him, the best would come about for you. If you asked what to do, God would surely show you.

For weeks I was blessed with this man’s simple way, “God had said stay as you are, so he did”.

I feel sure that for many people, when they pray, they don’t expect to see God’s answer. And in the end they fail to believe in prayer. In their heart they don’t expect, so they don’t receive. We must have a solid trust that God is with us, loves us and

“All things work together for good to those who love God”.

“You will hear a voice behind you saying This Is The Way, walk in it”

“Ask and it will be given unto you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will open for you”.

It is the way I try to walk myself, and it has never failed for me.

Gerald Gossage.

Ascension Day, Did You Miss It?

“When’s Whitsunday, just after Ascension Day” there was a hurried hunting for, and looking through dairies. No one could find either date. It seems that a date so important for two thousand years is now to be excluded from public calendars.

For your information, Ascension Day is forty days after Easter Day (a Sunday) and Whitsunday is ten days after that.

Ascension Day always has two memories for me. One is of school days when after several practices of the well known Ascension hymns in addition to the hymns we sang in assembly, we were marched two by two to the local parish church for the Ascension Day act of worship. After which we were given the day off from school.

The second memory is of the times when we went to the railway station to say “goodbye” to people who were leaving us. Perhaps a member of the family, or may be visitors departing after a stay, the procedure was always the same. While waiting for the train to depart no body knew what to say. “Give my love to…” “You will write won’t you”

The train doors would be kept open while we tried to make conversation, then the whistle would send everyone into a panic of hugs and kisses and goodbyes, while the departing loved ones would scramble into the compartment, let down the window, and lean out to wave goodbye. As the train slowly moved out there would be much hand waving and shouted last minute thoughts. The waving would continue, some people moving along with the train as if reluctant to lose sight of that face in the window. Then they would be gone, and one would turn back to the platform exit feeling very much alone. In war time there was always a prayer that the loved one would return unharmed, and an ache in the heart.

I wonder if this was how it was on the day of Ascension.? They didn’t say “Don’t forget to write” (The stamps would be priceless if He had written wouldn’t they !) What they did say was “Lord, will you now restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus replied that He was not going to talk about the future times, “But” He said “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you, and you are going to be my witnesses all over the world”.

Then it happened, He suddenly started to move upward, their eyes followed Him, their heads tilted back, He looked smaller and smaller, and then He disappeared into the clouds.

They looked to each other, and saw that they had been joined by two angels in shining white, who spoke to them “Why are you standing here looking upward? This same Jesus will come back again in the same way as you have seen Him go”.

Hardly a day goes by with out my looking heavenward and wondering, will He come back today ? It seems to me that the events that He told us would take place before He returned have happened now, and I feel excited to think He might come any time. Do you doubt that ? Well remember He said “at a time when you think not, I will come.”

But after the departure ones thoughts turn away from the moment when we waved goodbye, and they settle on where they are now. They must have reached so- and-so by now. They will have arrived by now. I wonder what they will be doing now ! Over Jesus’ departure we have a good idea what He is doing now. He has “gone to prepare a place for us”. I wonder what that will be like ! He is “Seated at the right hand of The Father always making intercessions for us”. He still is there helping us ! And “Lo I am with you always, even unto the end” He told us.

Isn’t Ascension exciting ! ( from Gerald Gossage)

The Spirit and Us

We live in a materialistic world, and like Thomas, the apostle, we are inclined to say“ unless I can see, touch, and handle I will not accept it as real” (my translation)

But God tells us that material things are only temporary, they did not exist before God created the world, and they will not exist in our eternal life. God Himself is not material, “God is a Spirit”. And you and I are spiritual beings, living in a body that lasts only for a short time. When Jesus comes back He will give us a new kind of body, but on the evidence of Our Lord’s appearance on earth between Easter and His Ascension, it will not be a materialistic body to fit in with this world which will be destroyed . So here is a mystery. (read I Cor: ch 15 from v35)

The season we call Whitsun, or after the Jewish festival,- Pentecost, helps us to understand, and get inspiration, for it teaches us something about God Himself. While Jesus was living here on earth He talked (prayed) to God as His Father, He also taught His disciples to say “Our Father”. But God, The Father, also showed Himself as Spirit when He came and said “ This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”. So we have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in oneness as God. John (ch4.v23-24) teaches that God is Spirit, and We are Spirit. When we communicate, or worship Him we MUST do so in our spirit, not in materialism. The body dies but the soul (spirit) lives forever.

The thrilling part of this for believers is that God can be with us. The Father was with Jesus at His Baptism (like a dove) He was with The First Disciples on that day of Pentecost (like a rushing wind and tongues of flame) and there are plenty of others to whom The Holy Spirit came.

The condition seems to be the desire of one to be with the other. God desired Paul to change from persecuting Jesus to working for Him. Others desire to seek God, but it always has to be under God’s terms not ours, because His ways are more important than ours, and He knows what is best. A verse of an old hymn comes to me as a wonderful way to express what God is seeking to teach us, it says :- “He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own And the dreams we share as we tarry there none other could ever know.” (I hope I have remembered it ) But God being Spirit, and we being spirit too means that we can live in Him every minute of every day as together we share this life He has given us.

Jesus said “Without Me you can do nothing”. It follows that With Him we can do always what is pleasing in His sight, and not do things which displease Him. I testify that I have found this to be true of my own life. When He said “Lo I am with you always, even unto the end” I believe this has been so. And the pure delight of that union I could not describe.

At this time it could be a real blessing to you to rededicate your life to God who is The Holy Spirit. To learn to pray in spirit (all the yearnings of your heart) and enjoy a new oneness in God your Saviour. Try to practice walking with Him and Talking with Him all the time in you mind Just love Him as you have never loved before.

His Blessings be In You. Gerald Gossage.

Jesus and Saturday

The term “Easter” means different things to different people. It is “Holy Week” as some follow all the events of the last week in the earthly life of Jesus, ending in that glorious Easter Sunday when He came back to life, after which He spent forty days before returning to His home with the Father in Heaven. To some it is a period from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. To others just Easter Day, worshiping on the day on which He arose from the dead. To people who do not acknowledge God it is time off from work to enjoy a break.

What was it like for Jesus who had to live through those three days ?

On Good Friday ( so called because it was the day when Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, and died in our place) Jesus suffered being despised and rejected by people, was whipped, and knocked about, bleeding also from the crown of thorns , nails hammered through His flesh, bleeding to death on the cross, and experiencing death itself.

We know well that He came back to life on that Sunday morning. BUT what did He experience on SATURDAY ?

Today branches of the church that repeat what they believe in a ‘creed’ say “He descended into Hell “. So let me explain this. Our word “hell” has two meanings in the Bible, One SHEOL meaning the place where all the dead go. Another word HADES (or Gehenna) meaning a place of punishment.

On the Easter Saturday Jesus went to Sheol to preach to all those who had died, so that they might have the opportunity of believing in Him. More than this we do not know. But to me it was a loving act which shows something of the love that God has for all of us, He is not willing that any should be without the opportunity of being saved from the result of disbelief and loss of eternal life for ever more.

I can only write of my own experience, but in our land there is part of Christ’s Church within reach of all people, there are Christian people mixing everywhere living out their life for all to see, the Word of God (The Bible) is cheap and available for all to read, and the story and history of the lives of Christian men and women is there to be learned by anyone.

As young people in every generation have discovered Love cannot be forced, If someone doesn’t love you, you cannot make them. God had done everything to show His love, Those who turn away from Him loose His loving care, and His offer of life forever more in Heaven. Let us do all we can (including our prayers) to help others to know and love Him while we are here on earth.

I wish you A Happy Easter, from Gerald Gossage.