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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OLD NEWSLETTER

 

LETTERS TO INTERCESSORS

(Studies In The Word)

2011_01

"My Help Comes From The Lord"

Study In The Word

Epidemic Overview

Judah Trust Update

 

Study In The Word,

There is a little story in the Bible which has vast consequences. It is a story about the interaction of King Jehoash when he goes to meet Elisha who is on his death bed. Elisha encourages the King to take some prophetic actions such as shooting three arrows into the air. Then, Elisha commands the King to strike the arrows on the ground. The King does so, three times, and then stops. He was not commanded to stop but he stopped. Elisha then spoke these words;
“You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times” (2 Kings 13.10-20).

Norman Grubb in his biography ‘Rees Howells, Intercessor’ asks this question, “What is meant by being an intercessor?” He goes on to define intercession in this way.
That God seeks intercessors, but seldom finds them, is plain from his exclamation through Isaiah: He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor [Isaiah 59.16]; and his protest of disappointment through Ezekiel: “I sought a man among them, that he should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land ... but I found none.” [Ezekiel 22.30] Perhaps believers in general have regarded intercession as just some form of rather intensified prayer. It is, so long as there is great emphasis on the word ‘intensified’; for there are three things to be seen in an intercessors, which are not necessarily found in ordinary prayer: identification, agony and authority (p86).
Grubb discusses the meaning behind his use of identification, agony and authority, and the reaching of a place or stance in intercession, where the exercise of authority through and with the Holy Spirit is enabled, so that the miraculous is released. In the balance of his biography of Rees Howells, it becomes clear how Rees Howells experienced the identification and agony and learnt to use the resulting authority. Rees Howells was desperate to ensure that others were trained in this understanding and his remaining life’s work reflected his dedication to training in intercession.

Many of you reading this will have already experienced the identification with those who have HIV/AIDS. Many of you will have experienced also, the agony, Christ’s agony, of their situation and consequently, many of you will be in that place, have that stance, of spiritual authority over the impact of HIV/AIDS on individuals. But you might not be aware of this and you might not be moving forward as God intends us to move forward.

It is at this point that Elisha’s words to King Jehoash come into play and of which we must take careful note. It is no good reaching that place of authority if we do not use the authority that God has enabled us with. We must not, in running the race, fall at the last fence. We must not, in carrying the terrible cost of the identification and agony, forget to move ahead and gain the prize that Paul talks about in running the race (Philippians 3.14).

There are some reading this who are as yet unaware that the burden and cost of their intercession has given them great spiritual authority over HIV/AIDS. We plead with you to step out and exercise that authority.

There are some of you who are aware that they now carry authority, but for whatever reason have decided ‘thus far and no farther’. We plead with you to go the extra mile, and exercise that authority.

Some of you, even now as you read this, are holding a baby whose life depends on you exercising that authority. Seek the face of the Lord, exercise the authority that your intercession has given you, and to cure that child.

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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
As in any organisation life at Judah Trust has its own rhythm and from time to time this changes. Presently we have the following pattern.

Weekly Prayer Email
Joy prepares this weekly from all the incoming emails and sends it out to a growing number of people who are praying on a weekly basis in small groups or on their own. This weekly approach means that urgent prayer items are interceded for immediately. The list goes out via Heather Drinkwater, who contacts some of those on the prayer list and lets them know that we are interceding for them. The responses back from these emails are always much valued.

Prayer Diary and Newsletter
This is a joint effort with Joy preparing the Prayer Diary and Ray preparing the Newsletter. We mail this out to some 600 people by post and email it to another 250 plus. The Newsletter enables us to address some of the more global aspects of HIV and also to give a deeper insight into some of the ministries for whom we are praying. The Prayer Diary, which is confidential, enables us to pray for specific individuals and situations. In earlier years, when we had a team to help, this went out on a monthly basis. The huge increase in postage (it costs us £600 per issue in postage and copying) has meant that we can afford to issue this 3 -4 times per year.

Servants of the Sanctuary Intercession Days
We endeavour to run three days of intercession, normally on a Saturday in a central London church, where we go deeper into intercession and worship as a group. These days are very precious and much prayer work is done at them. They serve also to enable individual intercessors to know that they are not alone in this work. Richard and Prilla lead our worship and together with Ian & Mary, Robert & Libby, and Dermot, we form a teaching and praying team for the day.

Oast Houses Prayer Retreat
This has become an annual midweek four day retreat in September at the Oast Houses near Rye. The coming aside to spend time with God and often with some of our overseas members and leaders, we can explore and test the directions that God has in mind for us. Last time for example, we explored the book of Ruth and gained a new understanding into the meaning of the kinsman - redeemer.

Teaching and Training and Overseas Mission
At present, Richard & Prilla, often with Ian & Mary, are undertaking missionary work, including locum related medical work, in Rwanda, Congo and parts of Francophone Africa as well as into Egypt. This work often involves a local East Sussex Church Group. Ray and Joy have had to curtail their overseas work (for health reasons) in teaching on HIV/AIDS, but are actively encouraging the work of the rest of the team.

Funding
We receive a number of donations for specific ministries and so part of our work is ensuring that the funds received go to the ministry involved. On average and including the cost of training seminars, we fund about £12,000 per annum worth of projects and ministries.

Website
Ray has developed our website www.judahtrust.org . It has a wealth of material upon it and though we are struggling to keep it up to date, we do commend it to you as a resource base and as a lead into intercession.

Books
Our book, ‘AIDS. I Am Not At Risk, Am I?’ is now in four languages, English, Tamil, French and Hindi and is available free. The English edition is also available as a pdf file on our website. Preparation and administration of distribution is a complicated task and we ask for prayer cover on this.

Diary Dates
9 April 2011 Board Meeting
11 June 2011 Servants of Sanctuary Meeting
13 August 2011 Board Meeting
12-15 September 2011 Oast Houses Prayer Retreat
8 October 2011 Servants of Sanctuary Meeting
10 December 2011 Board Meeting

End Note
God is love. A simple but profound statement that calls people out from all over the world to make that statement known to all and to minister the love of God through our intercession, through our service and through our sacrifice.

Bless you all in the name of Jesus,
Ray & Joy Thomas and all the team at Judah Trust


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