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ALTAR CALL – ‘God has a plan for us’

Cheryl Harewood

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THE TRIALS and adversities of life are never pleasant, but in them we learn the secrets of dependence, grace, hope and of God’s presence.This was stated by Reverend Derick Richards, the youngest superintendent in the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, as he conducted his final night of a five-day crusade, (held at a variety of Methodist churches), at Paynes Bay Methodist Church, last Thursday.“None of us wishes for trials or adversity, but it is through them that God refines the metal of our lives and moulds us into his image,” he added.The packed church sat listening intently, as Richards revealed that God often allowed us to enter the furnace of affliction so that He might refine and purify our lives.“Of course the most difficult of the adversities we face is that which comes from sin and the attack of the devil. When we are forced to enter the furnace, the potential for pain is greatest.”Speaking from Luke 22:31, Richards noted that the devil was desirous of sifting Simon Peter as wheat, but the Lord had prayed for him.“Simon Peter was made to understand the fact that the Lord Himself will take an active part in Peter’s trial.“I know I am speaking to a group of people who are going through adversity. “However, I know there is hope for you.“This passage lets us know that we do not have to fail in the attacks of life. We do not have to crawl away in defeat, never to be heard from again.“I want to show you that anyone can endure the trials, tests and adversities of life. I want to show you that even if you have failed, you can still rise again from the ashes and salvage what Satan has attempted to destroy,” he told his listeners.He told them that Satan “is never happy when a person who loves the Lord, or when they are spirit-filled”.“The devil has a plan for your life, but God does also,” he stressed.In Jeremiah 29: 11 God says “I know the plans I have for you to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future.”He referred to Daniel’s time in the lion’s den, the three Hebrew boys in the fire, and Joseph’s time in prison, and noted that even in those places God knew the plans he had for them.“God looks at your life with all the problems you have. With all that seem to be going against you. With all the darkness around you. You may put your hand up in the air and cry out.. it’s all over… God looks into your eyes and say dry your eyes, wash your face, because it’s not over for you. I know the plans I have for you.“Don’t you know that you matter to God . . . your life matters to God . . . and God cares about you,” he stated.The healing of the nation is the business of the Church, Richards added, “noting that the devil does not care about you; he does not care about who you are and who you know”.“The devil wants us to drift away from the Church; he wants us to be at ease in Zion; he wants us to neglect the Bible, quit praying, lower our standards and criticise the Church. He wants us to lose our tempers and put off the matter of serving Christ,” Richards added.“Then, if my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.“God says: Even though you are going through some trials and you cannot see the way through, God is saying look up and trust me.” Richards said that God also wanted his people to evangelise.“Our society is broken and in trouble, and God is asking who will I send?”The time has come for each of you to take the world of God to the people.
“Many people are crying out in the world today and God is counting on us to reach the world for Him.He added that from time to time we failed, fell and messed up, but God says it’s not the end.“God is saying come back to me and let us make a new walk even if you have messed up.”He told them to take God’s love into the world and that their holiness should bring about change.The two-hour long service was completed with a skit by the young people of Holetown Methodist Church, music by the choir and a variety of hymns, after which refreshments were served.