Monthly Message Jan 2020

Dear friends,

A day or so after Christmas I overheard a lady greeting a child she obviously knew.  “Hello!” Did you have a nice Christmas?  What did you get?”  What did you get?!  Has the celebration of God’s greatest gift to us of a Saviour become a festival of getting?  I imagine that eBay and charity shops are quite busy after Christmas with so much stuff people get but didn’t really want or need. So, what do we really want or need?

Agur, whose sayings make up chapter 30 of the Book of Proverbs answers that question thus:

“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die:  Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God”.

 Agur tells us what he doesn’t want, namely neither poverty nor riches.  If he has riches he may have too much and disown God, casting off any dependence on, and trust in, him.  On the other hand, poverty might force him to steal and so dishonour the name of his God.  In his wisdom, Agur sees that both riches and poverty can lead him into sin, so he shuns both.  Instead he is satisfied with his daily bread.  That’s the safe way; it’s what Jesus taught us to ask for.

Paul wrote to Timothy (I Tim 6:6): “godliness with contentment is great gain”.  So, on that note, may I wish you every blessing throughout 2020, with neither riches nor poverty.

Your brother in Christ,

PS  In our national life may the Lord also keep falsehood and lies far from us!

Monthly Message Dec 2019

Festive candle and holly image

“When the time had fully come God sent his Son”

(Galatians 4:4)


Dear friends,

I am writing this on the day before our long-awaited General Election, so by the time you read this we shall know who is in Government.  It will still be early days, though, to know what is going to happen about Brexit, the NHS, the housing shortage, and all the other matters that seem to have been held up in the pipe-line.  We have got rather used to dead-lines being postponed, but as we celebrate the birth of Jesus we are reminded that God never postpones or misses his deadlines!  “When the time had fully come God sent his Son” we read in Galatians.

Even though Jesus’ ministry began in a somewhat remote part of the Roman Empire the good news of salvation that he proclaimed soon spread far and wide.  Despite the harshness of the Roman regime they had established the Pax Romana (the Roman Peace) which, to a very large extent, made travel comparatively safe.  Their excellent road system added ease of travel to safety.  Also, at that time, Greek had become the lingua franca, or widely spoken and understood language across the nations.  Now, add to all that the fact that many  people were becoming dissatisfied with their pagan religions and deities, and you have just the right setting, from a merely human viewpoint, for the emergence and the spread and the growth of the gospel.  Furthermore, add to that the absolute sovereignty of our perfect, holy God and we need not be surprised that the coming of Jesus was in the fullness of time.

Are we not, perhaps, in a similar situation today?  We have many means of largely affordable, safe travel; we have an unprecedented variety of means of communicating information; there is also, to some extent, a dissatisfaction with some of the ideologies and institutions that hitherto served as forms of ‘religion’.  But time may be running out; restrictions on our freedoms may soon appear; we need to seize the opportunities we have to share the Word of God with a needy, hungry, disillusioned people.  Our society may be more ready and waiting to hear the gospel than we think but too often gospel is hidden within church buildings and programmes, or activities that attract attendance but fail to present the gospel clearly, or is diluted to tastelessness by liberal theology.

Has not the time come, then, for God’s people to pray for a fresh outpouring of his Spirit to enable a sending forth of the gospel in saving power to ready and waiting hearts and lives?

“Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! “      (Psalm 43:3)

May you have a blessed Christmas season and know God’s abundant blessing throughout the coming year.



Monthly Message Nov 2019

Traditionally, November is a month for remembering.  It begins with the invitation to “Remember…the fifth of November” and all that goes with that. Then, six days later, more widely and more seriously, we remember all those who fell in two World Wars. I suspect that the great majority of people are now rather vague about, or quite unaware of, the historical facts surrounding the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.  Furthermore, since the Second World War is now an event that ended before most people alive today were born the task of maintaining 11th November Remembrance as something meaningful to them is becoming increasingly challenging.  But the wasteful folly of war and the sacrifice and suffering of those involved in war must never be forgotten.  Have we produced a generation that is largely concerned about the present?  If we live only in the present then everything, from coffee to information, has to be instant.  The past fast loses its significance and the future – well who knows about that?  But some apparently do! And we are being told there might only be a few years of future left!  Will that make the past less significant than ever, and the present just a mess for which the older generation must take the blame?  If that is so, will not our society become still more divided against itself, peace more hard to find, and moral and spiritual guideposts elusive or confusing?

The apostle Peter, writing in his second letter, brings us back to the foundation of our faith and the need to remember.  He is concerned that we, his readers, do not forget the great truths of the gospel and the great need to be effective and productive in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.[1] Therefore he says: “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.  I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.  And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things”.[2]

 Our nation needs to be reminded (or, in many cases, informed for the first time) of the truths and the power of the gospel. As Christians, we believe that God has given us the way to live, the way to peace and a clean conscience before him and the way to eternal life, in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.  “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness”[3]  Sadly, it is all too easy to forget these things.   One of the reasons that Saffron Walden Bible Focus came into being was to make a small contribution to the great task that faces the church in every age to remind, to refresh the memory, to enable to remember the truth, the authority, the power and the grace of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Having now held our third event, I want to take this opportunity of thanking you for your involvement and encouragement, and to give God the glory for all that he has done. Let us, with confidence and prayerful dependence upon him, continue on together in this glorious and exciting task.


Tony Mason

(Chairman, Saffron Walden Bible Focus)


[1] II Peter 1:8

[2] II Peter 1:12-15 (emphasis mine)

[3] II Peter 1:3