Prayer Diary March 2024

Dear friends,

I am pleased to announce a couple of changes within Saffron Walden Bible Focus which, it is hoped, will ease some of the administrative pressure on the Team and also enhance the effectiveness of our ministry.

  1. Our monthly prayer meetings (in person and via Zoom) have not been very well attended so these will be discontinued and, instead,
  2. The Monthly Message will become a quarterly Prayer Diary, so there will be the opportunity for even more prayer than before!

Spring Event March 2024  (Theme: The Greatness of God)

  • Give thanks for the 70 or so who attended, and for the positive feedback. Ephesians 1:15,16
  • Pray that some of the blessing received will be shared with the fellowships from which the people came. Ephesians 1:17


  • Praise the Lord for the commitment of the many people who have made Bible Focus possible since 2016. Philippians 1:4-6
  • Pray for those who through age, health or for other reasons are contemplating stepping down. Matthew 11:28
  • Pray that the Lord will raise up new people to take their place. Mt 9:38
  • Pray for individuals with skills in administration, planning and practical tasks to come forward. I Corinthians 12:7
  • Pray for leaders and helpers to provide the programme for children and young people and wisdom regarding the future of that provision. Ecclesiastes 12:1


  • Pray that the original vision of providing encouragement through Bible exposition and fellowship for believers in the town and surrounding district will never become dimmed or replaced. Romans 15:13

Monthly Message Feb 2024

“Faith expressing itself through love”   (Galatians 5:6)

 Dear friends,

Writing to the Galatians, Paul makes an astonishingly bold statement (5:6): “…in Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value”.  Wow!  The outward marks of your religion amount to nothing. Moreover, the lack of such outward marks is no disadvantage.  It is like saying, “Simply being an Anglican, or being a member of a Baptist church, etc. does not guarantee salvation”.  Paul does not mince his words.  “The only thing that counts”, he says, “is faith expressing itself through love”.

We mustn’t miss the context here.  Paul is not referring to faith in anyone or anything, but faith in Christ (whose death alone provides forgiveness and eternal life). So how do we express that faith?  He has a rather surprising answer to that question.  He would not, of course, discount baptism, or a verbal testimony, nor an eagerness to grasp sound doctrine.  All these things are important.  But of paramount importance (‘the only thing that counts’) is “faith expressing itself through love”.

It is a sad fact that Christians do not always express their faith through love.  Often sound doctrine has been held in a spirit of self-righteousness.  Patrick Mitchel (The Message of Love”, BST, p225) helpfully says: “It is faith that leads to a dynamic relationship with God, empowered by his Spirit, and evidenced in a life of practical action for the good of others”.  That last phrase is what the Bible means by ‘love’.

If love means ‘practical action for the good of others’, how far is my faith expressed through love?  The Greek word translated “expressing” here means ‘to be at work, or in action’.  Our word ‘energy’ derives from it.  So, the saving faith I have in Jesus Christ should be seen in the effort I put in to being loving towards others.

A mark of a good church is not just its teaching, but its faith expressed through love.

In your church, and in your life, what is “the only thing that counts”?

In Christ,

Tony Mason

Monthly Message Jan 2024

Dear friends,

It was a little before 9.00am on the morning after Boxing Day.  We were getting ready to visit our son for a couple of days, when the phone rang.  The GP practice wanted me in to see the doctor at 9.40.  “It is rather important”, said the receptionist in response to my reluctance to change my plans.  So the visit had to be put on hold.  The doctor was concerned about a blood-test result and arranged for me to have another one immediately, together with an ECG.  A long wait for the equipment to be available ensued, and I got home just before lunch; but I had to wait until 6.00pm for the blood-test result.  Plans disrupted.  Results OK but I was to have another blood-test and ECG in a week’s time.  The earliest appointment would be in about two weeks.  The day came, the tests were done but needed to be repeated – to be quite sure.  That meant about two hours in the surgery with plans for the weekly shop afterwards also put on hold.  The outcome of that is another GP appointment with another blood-test and ECG after the weekend!

Am I complaining?  No, not at all!  Yes, altered plans are disappointing, long waits are frustrating, uncertainties can be stressful.  But that is a very small price to pay for having a potentially serious condition thoroughly investigated and knowing that one is being cared for.

We put a lot of store by our physical health; but what of our spiritual health?  In Psalm 139 the psalmist acknowledges that God knows all about him and that he is never away from God’s presence.  He recognizes that he is “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that God knows exactly how long his life is going to be.  Worshipping such a God raises in his heart an intense hatred of evil: “If only you would slay the wicked, O God!”

But he is mindful also of his own need of the ‘Divine GP’ and of a thorough investigation:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting”.                    (Ps 139:23,24)

Let us put everything and anything on hold in order to let the Lord search us and test us, in order to lead us in the way everlasting.

Your brother in Christ,

Tony Mason

PS The doctor has given me the “all clear” (Praise the Lord!) and so has the Lord.  See Romans 5:1 but consider also Romans 6:1,2.