Lion and Lamb
Lion of Judah and The Lamb

 

Bible

In The Word
 
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning."
John 1.1

 

 

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Isaiah Chapter 40 verses 1-5
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
A voice of one calling;
In the desert prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
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CURRENT NEWSLETTER

 

LETTERS TO INTERCESSORS

(Studies In The Word)

2011_02

"BELIEVE"

Study In The Word

Epidemic Overview

Judah Trust Update

 

Study In The Word,

Believe
Zechariah and Elizabeth believed, and John the Baptist was born. Mary believed and Joseph believed, and Jesus was born. The apostles and disciples believed and a church was born. Do read chapter 11 of the Epistle to the Hebrews for a magnificent list of people who believed and the consequences of their belief. Belief is a little word but it is a powerful concept that when acted upon, leads to world changing events.

Belief is something that, as individuals, we are prepared to trust is true. Belief becomes dangerously powerful when we are prepared to act upon our beliefs, when our behaviour becomes fashioned by our beliefs.

We intercede and pray, because we believe in Jesus Christ, that he came for us, died for us, rose for us, and will come again for us. We believe that what he taught us, is to be lived and acted upon as a matter of course. This means that, given what Jesus has taught, we believe in God Almighty taking action in response to our intercessions, that we believe in miraculous intervention within our lives and the lives of those we pray for. If we did not believe this, our prayer could be described as a self indulgent waste of time.


"Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them , “This is what is written. The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. You are witnesses to these things. I am going to send you what my father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24. 45-49.


Because of our belief in Jesus, because of our growth as Christians, we too are classed as ‘witnesses to these things’. And because of our belief and growth, we have had that interaction with the Holy Spirit, that clothing in power from on high. Therefore, we must be prepared to act upon our beliefs and use the power that we have been given.

In our Prayer Diary attached to this letter is a thanksgiving that reads “The time that you spend on your knees, helps us to move forward.” This is the practical reality of acting upon our belief in Jesus and using the power that he has given us.

Now let me give some advice.

Firstly with regard to the word. Isaiah 55. 10-11 speaks of the power of the word of God when it is spoken forth. Ephesians 6 describes the word as the ‘sword of the Spirit’. Hebrews 4. 12 says ‘For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’.

Secondly with regard to the Holy Communion, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper. Whatever our doctrinal basis, there is total agreement that, in some way we meet with the living reality of Jesus when we eat the bread and drink the wine. There is a forgiveness, a personal restoring and a clothing in his power once again. If we put these two things together, word and sacrament, and then go out to pray or minister to one another we will find remarkable things happening.

Many of you believe this; many of you know this and put it into practice. But many have truly believed but not acted on that belief. Many have received the power of the Holy Spirit but have not used it - which is a bit like having a Ferrari in the garage and only ever riding a bicycle.

We wish to testify that from nearly twenty five years experience of working with HIV/AIDS, being resourced by the word, and the sacrament, has enabled us to see the Lord work his miracles. It all hinges on that one little word, belief.

Absorb the vitality and power of these words.
Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.


Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

With that belief, that ‘yes to God’ the world changed for ever. Can we do any less?

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HIV Epidemic Overview
Today, twenty five years further on in the battle around HIV/AIDS, we can see the effects of concerted action against the original four ways of transmission of the HIV virus:

sexual activity: some degree of behaviour change resulting in slower infection rates;
injecting drugs: very little change, requires a totally ‘clean needle’ approach for each injection;
mother to child transmission: well on the way to achieving elimination but depends on availability of drugs;
contaminated blood: virtually eliminated worldwide but subject to maintenance of good standards.

The latest UNAIDS data is optimistic that, globally, we have turned the corner and that the rate of new infections has declined by 19% since 1999, the peak year. But, the new infections are still running at 2.6 million per annum globally and deaths from AIDS are still in the 1.8 million per annum. Deaths have fallen dramatically wherever there is access to a steady and consistent supply of anti retroviral drugs. The level of new infections is still a matter for very serious concern, particularly now that northern Africa is undergoing a sea change in freedom, which normally means an increase in promiscuity and hence HIV.

The emphasis globally remains upon treatment, consistent provision of drugs, and appropriate medical care. The need for greater emphasis on prevention seems yet again to be pushed aside in the need to care.

Behaviour change has a generational aspect whereby each new generation has to take on for themselves that Kingdom Living standards are really good for your health and we do not seem to have people pushing once again for behaviour change to the extent that it is needed. This is an intercession issue of some urgency.

Major concerns with regard to the epidemic now relate to the continuous supply of top tier anti retrovirals, the provision of infra structure to ensure the dissemination of the drugs and training to ensure continuity in taking the drugs. Once started, failure to be consistent in taking the anti retrovirals, enables the virus to mutate into drug resistant strains and there is evidence of a growing spread of resistant virus. The current economic climate is causing severe concern, with funding being ‘flat lined’ or even cut back or eliminated with the consequent risks of a rise in deaths and a surge in resistant virus.

The growing tide of secularism throughout the world is contributing to the maintenance of the new infections level, as secularism emphasises personal choice rather than community choice and reduces the impact of age old standards relating to sexuality and personal morality. Values such as chastity and abstinence no longer have much impact in today’s societies and the resulting promiscuity aids the transmission of HIV. Much more work is needed in this area.

Medically, it is interesting to note, edition for edition, how the current manuals on HIV treatment are expressing concern about treating the effects of the anti retrovirals themselves. They are potent drugs with very powerful side effects that can be distressing for those taking the medication especially for young children as seen in South Africa.

Sociologically, and culturally, there is a long way to go. The discovery of multiple cocurrent partner networks and its explosive power in spreading HIV across a total community in a very short space of time, as a main driver of the epidemic, is interesting, and helpful, but there are, as yet, no solutions to such networks. The ever declining age of sexual initiation is also not helping, with younger and younger girls being exposed to the virus from older males.

There is also the impact that school fees have on the spread of HIV amongst the young. It is clear that those children who are in school have a reduced rate of infection. Those unable to go to school, usually for reasons of poverty, are at a much higher risk of casual sex and at a very high risk of having to use sex to generate money for food.

In the western world, promiscuity and casual sex remains at dangerously high levels with the attendant risk of HIV. There is also the issue of the example that the ‘enlightened west’ sets for the rest of the world - it is not a good example!

Christian leaders today seem to have foregone their responsibility to speak out for standards of behaviour that, taken together, reduce the risk of HIV. We need to pray for Holy Spirit fire to enter the bellies of our Christian leaders so that they will speak out and will uphold the teaching of Jesus and the entire Scriptures. This is possibly the most important area of intercession that we have before us today.

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Judah Trust Update

It has been a funny old year, with unexpected things altering what we could do and changing our expectations. Ray had recurrent problems with his liver and gall stones in the New Year and again last week - both requiring hospitalisation, and then, in June, July, August, we had to make two consecutive trips out to New Zealand over the period of the death of Joy’s mother.

On the upside, we have been learning much more about the depths and power of prayer through involvement with the Benedictine way of life (Joy) and in the more sacramental approach to our faith and in particular, with respect to priesthood (Ray) and healing (Ray and Joy).

Oast Houses Prayer Retreat
Once again, we held a prayer retreat at the Oast Houses in East Sussex over a four day period in September. This time Richard and Prilla, Ian and Mary and Dermot took the main leading roles and a profound and productive time was had by all. We were joined by Carla van der Kooij from Brazil.

Time was spent studying Hosea, with a particular emphasis on answering the question ‘What does the Lord require of you?’ and endeavouring to hear His response when the same question was couched in terms of Judah Trust. The dates for next year are 29th October to 1st November 2012.

Prayer and Intercession
Many of you will know by now, that over the past 18 months Joy has persevered with the production of a weekly prayer email that has gone out to a small group of a dozen or so. This has enabled urgent prayer requests to be prayed for in a timely and effective manner.

We have now widened this prayer email to some 250 intercessors on our email list and they will receive what is, in effect, a mini prayer diary, every two weeks. If you have not received this prayer email and wish to do so, please send us your email address to admin@judahtrust.org .

We are printing this Newsletter and Prayer Diary on 23rd November and even as we write, our little colour laser is churning out 500 copies of the Prayer Diary - it takes an hour per hundred sheets but is cheaper than printing.

Travelling and Teaching
At the time of writing this there has been an upsurge in riots in Cairo, where two of our team are presently teaching and training. We need your prayers for their continued safety and for all trips that we make into the more volatile areas of the world.

There is, even after 25 years, a dearth of real knowledge about HIV and about caring for those with the consequent AIDS. A new generation has grown where their world has always been a world of HIV and they do not know what a world without HIV is like. We need to bring them hope and the promise of new life in an HIV free world.

Richard & Prilla and Ian & Mary have kept up visits to Kenya, Rwanda and Congo.

Website
We have a very comprehensive website with a rich array of teaching material available. Whilst keeping it up to date is quite a task, we do recommend that you check it out on a regular basis for updated information and news, in fact, why not put www.judahtrust.org onto your favourites bar on your browser?

Funding
Like all charities we have been affected by the lower rate of gift aid tax rebate and by the general economic crisis. We have also been affected by the more sporadic issues of our Prayer Dairy and Newsletter which has led to a falling off in donations. As a result our funds are tight and we are trying to reduce costs, postage in particular.

It is becoming clearer though that we need to undertake a more active teaching and travelling programme and for this we will need funds. We are praying that some of you will be able to assist us in funding specifically for the work of Judah Trust and if possible for this to be gift aided if you are a UK taxpayer. We have enclosed a form for this purpose. Bless you all for your prayer and help in this area.

End Note
As we prepare for Christmas and recall the wonders ahead of the birth of Jesus, so too we look ahead to his coming again and the need to be ready for that time - the main Advent themes. For Christmas, with all its joy and hope, we recall all the reasons for being joyful in the Lord, and during Epiphany, with the recognition of Jesus by the Magi, we recall how knowing who Jesus is, changes our lives.

In our work with Judah Trust those themes of preparedness, joy, and knowing Jesus enables us to transform lives, especially lives affected by HIV/ AIDS.

Have a blessed Christmas,
Ray & Joy Thomas and all the Board of Judah Trust

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