‘And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them, Luke 24. 50.

Once again we commence a New Year and, as we turn our minds to what may be in store for us in another year we could well ask ourselves if we have set any spiritual objectives for ourselves or has the assembly a defined course of evangelism before it. Unless we start with aims in view there is little likelihood of much progress or a joyous expectancy of looking for the blessing of God as these are embraced in prayer.

For the most of us there will have been no such exercise or anticipation and we don’t readily consider that the New Year will offer up anything differently from previous ones. Without much thought or preparation it will be back to the old grindstone of a life in which the natural and the spiritual progress without a great deal of alteration or expectation. One contributor to such lack-lustre in our spiritual outlook is a poor appreciation of what the Lord Himself provided for us in order to keep our hearts glowing and our hands serving.

My heart was challenged as I re-read Luke’s record of the Lord’s final preparations as He anticipated leaving His own to face the formidable challenges of the days of testimony that lay ahead of them. How did He anticipate what was to come and in His own gracious way make sufficient provision for them to face it without heart failure? As one examines what He did you see His overwhelming wisdom in making a provision that would not only see that generation through but all His saints down to our own selves today!

Having already established the fundamental resources of the word of God and the Spirit of God as being essentials for the way ahead, verses 44 to 49, He then takes them to Bethany and no further. Bethany, or rather the significance of the place called Bethany, is where He wants to leave them. It held a secret that they would need to know in the days to come. For it was in the home at Bethany that He was the Centre, He was ‘in the midst’. Here He had the deepest of affection and devotion, here He was really valued. At Bethany He was the only Object of witness, worship and service. The little family there found all their motivation in Him alone. There was nowhere else like it. So too, the local church becomes this ‘home’ for us today, a divine provision of the utmost value. Neglect or despise it and you lose a vital part of His provision for you, but make it the ‘haven’ He intended and it will keep you the entire journey through!

Finally, He will lift up His hands and bless them. He Himself as the High Priest of His people in service at ‘the right hand of the majesty on high’ is the final provision that He bestows. What more could we want? His is a ‘moment-by-moment’ service of the deepest care and compassion. Oh to be found constantly at rest in His arms and satisfied in the certainty that ‘He knows and He understands’.

Thank you for the many responses of appreciation that we received for the issue of the ‘Sixty years celebratory edition’ of the magazine. As a result our circulation figure has risen again and we would that you recommend or pass the magazine to others that more may benefit from it. We still have copies of this issue if you require them.

This issue sees the commencement of two new series. The one is a study of the Lord’s seven letters to the churches as found in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. We start with a ‘preface’ to the studies as Roy Hill reflects on a recent visit to Patmos. We also commence a series of ‘Pastoral Insight’ articles seeking to help those concerned to support fellow believers that are under stress in some of the many problem areas of modern life. Please tell us if you find these of use.

The ‘Keynote’ article is a clear challenge for us to review our activities in gospel outreach. It will certainly make you think if you dare read it! We also try to help with the confusing opinions amongst believers on the use of the Internet. An article introducing you to our redeveloped web site should draw you in to at least have a look at it. Along with the usual spread of expositional articles we hope there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Finally, we would like to give a word of welcome to our latest trustee to join the committee. He is our brother Mark Hill who is Roy Hill’s nephew and in fellowship in the Warsash assembly, Southampton. We look forward to his help in the service of Precious Seed magazine in the years to come, DV.


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