“The Perpetual Battle” by Simon Vibert

Growing up in the lovely Channel Island of Jersey was a great privilege. The beautiful beaches and quiet seascape, proved a peaceful environment for a young boy, although, inevitably, one’s nostalgic reflections can be overinflated!

Image result for german bunker jersey

There was another daily reality, however, which again has only become clearer to me in my later years. As I walked the coastline I saw the German Bunkers.  I listened to my father’s boyhood occupation stories, I heard of 1940’s hardships.  And I remember my Grandparents recounting the occupation mantra “Don’t you know there’s a war on!?”  Within living memory, my parents’ generation knew the reality of World War 2, and the impact it had on life every day in the island.

I became a Christian in my late teens. Those who discipled me as a new Christian encouraged me to read some bracing books: C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters; John White, The Fight; John Owen, On Mortification; William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour; J.C. Ryle, Martyn Lloyd Jones and more.  Books quickly shaped my outlook on my life in Christ, and life as Christian in the world.

The unmistakable message to me was: “Knowing God through Jesus Christ is wonderful: you will now have purpose in this life, and hope for the future. But, you do realise, don’t you, that you are enlisted into God’s army, and having sided with him, you can expect to live in enemy occupied territory until Jesus’ return.”

The Perpetual Battle has arisen out of an anxiety that we are not putting our converts through a Christian Boot Camp.  Suffering and persecution is part of normal Christian experience, and we can expect the world, the flesh, and the Devil, to do their worse to knock us off course.

My hope is that The Perpetual Battle will reconnect you with a biblical theology of the world, the flesh and the Devil, and with the help of the authors which I have mentioned, make you “fit for the fight”.

Published April 2018, available from Christian Focus and other booksellers.

LEJOG completed

With much gratitude for all the friendship, food, enthusiastic support, great hospitality and, of course, your sponsorship, Simon Vibert and Chris Leftley completed the nearly 1000 mile trip from Lands End to John O’Groats on Sunday 18th July 2010.

We saw some stunning parts of the British Isles, help by the vista from a saddle, lovely cycle tracks and rural routing.  We were humbled by the expressions of good wishes and kindness along the way.

God’s creation is truly marvellous.  I found myself musing: “Who does Richard Dawkins praise when he sees the beauty of the natural world?”  As for me, Psalm 103 was very much in my mind as the Psalmist exalts the Lord for his many wonders.  Although slogging up the A9 near Perth in torrential rain was a more humbling experience!

Our final stop-off at the home of Christian Focus was a treat, a lovely rural setting near Tain.  To see first hand the entrepreneurial vision for Reformed Christian Publishing was very refreshing.

Of course, we were acutely aware that we weren’t the first to make such a daring trip, particularly as we crossed into Scotland and were caught in a traffic jam of cyclists all trying to take a photo of Gretna!

Nevertheless, this was a matter of dogged discipline (20 miles to coffee; 20 miles to lunch; 20 miles to tea and then overnight stop!).  We were thankful for good health, largely good weather, and very minor bike problems.

We cycled to raise funds to supplement student teaching resources at Wycliffe Hall.  Out of the target of £10,000 a little over half of that has been raised so far.  Donations are still trickling in.

But, finally, as I return to my desk for less physically rigorous activity, it is good to remember Paul’s wise words: For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8).