Thoughts 5th – 11th Nov

Thursday 5th

Proverbs 27 verse 6    ‘faithful are the wounds of a friend’

What are friends for I find myself asking?  Socialising, sharing life together, being there when things are not going well, but being wounded by them is not an answer that readily sprung to mind.

This verse gets to the heart of what a true friend is, it is someone who wants the best for you and is not prepared to be a ‘yes’ person to the latest flight of fancy you might have.  It is someone who tells you the honest truth, even though you might find it wounding and painful.

Have you ever been in the situation where a friend has shared a decision they were thinking of making with you, with the clear reasoning that they are looking for your agreement, or more honestly your collusion!  You can see clearly that it is not a good decision, but the pressure to maintain a good relationship and agree is extraordinarily strong [people who have done so with me, don’t come a second time!].

This verse makes it clear what being a good friend is all about, you tell them the truth, valuing honesty and wanting the best for them, even though the pain felt can be mutual.

The fool who is deluded and is not seeking the true wisdom that Proverbs speaks of, moves on until they find someone who happily agrees with them.  But the friend who seeks after wisdom will feel the pain of your words and be jolted enough to see the wisdom of them and change their decision.  In this way we can be the vehicle for the wisdom of God to do its work.

Dear Lord Jesus, may we love our friends so much that we are willing to put that friendship at risk, by speaking words of wisdom and truth that can hurt.

Amen

 

Friday 6th

Psalm 144 verse 1    ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.’

This Psalm of David, speaks of David’s experience of the God of Israel delivering, sheltering and making a way for David as king and for the people he was called to lead.  Clearly part of David’s role and calling would necessitate leading his people into battle from time to time.  David’s strength however was that he looked not so much in his own abilities, but up to the Lord Almighty for direction, counsel and help.  He was not like so many of the kings after him who forgot, did evil and ignored the commands, precepts and call of the Lord God; the God who had called Israel to be a people who would know and worship Him alone.  What are we called to be and do as children of this same living God today?  Can we confidently say like David; ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock’?  Whether we are praying, phoning , caring, shopping for others – whatever the task – let us know as David did, that God equips and trains us for the task.

Oh Lord, you are my God, my fortress and my stronghold and deliverer. (verse 2)  Move in power in and through us today we pray.

Amen.

 

Saturday 7th

Luke Ch 2 verses 46,51 & 52    After 3 days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions…..Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth…..and increased in wisdom and in years.

Waiting is something many of us have had to do this year. Waiting for Lockdowns to finish, waiting for Covid results, waiting to see family, waiting for a time when we can hug people again, waiting, waiting, waiting….

It seems endless doesn’t it?

Waiting is a common theme in the Bible. Abraham and Sarah waited a long time for a child. David waited a long time to be King. Israel waited a long time for The Messiah.

Jesus too had to wait many years before his ministry started here on earth.

He waited and we don’t know a lot about his time as a child but we know from this passage that he was keen to learn from the teachers of the Scriptures and he grew in wisdom. He must have spent time too learning how to be a carpenter and to be a good son.

So what do we do while we are waiting? That’s a question we all have to ask ourselves. For all of us it will be a little different. But for many of us it could be trying to grow in our relationship with God, reading the Bible more, listening to Christian music a little more.

This is as well as trying to maintain our wellbeing by perhaps trying new things. You Tube is a great way to learn a new skill!

I hate phoning people, but I am trying to do it more to speak to people to maintain my sense of people still being there.

Whatever you do, remember God is with us in the waiting.

Father God help us in our waiting. May we grow in wisdom and favour as Jesus did.

Amen

 

Sunday 8th

Romans Ch 1 verse 16    For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Most Christians I know find it difficult to talk about their faith, they feel it is the Vicar or Minister who should be doing that sort of thing!  They feel ill equipped, and struggle to articulate what it is about God that they think they should be saying.  For others they are just embarrassed, or even ashamed that in this scientific world that they believe in God.

This is a massive part of the problem with dwindling numbers of people in many Churches.  If only the Clergy or those that have been trained in theology can speak of God well, we are in trouble, as they can only be in one place at a time.

If only we could realise that speaking about God is primarily about telling them our story, how it started, what it means to us, how being a follower of Jesus has influenced our lives, and how journeying with Jesus through life is the most remarkable thing.

Paul states clearly, ‘I am not ashamed’, he stood up for what he believed because of one important fact, he knew that telling others of the good news of Jesus released the ‘power of God to salvation to everyone who believes’.

How about telling others of your story of faith, and prayerfully trusting that God will release his power to bring the listener to know him for themselves?

Dear Lord Jesus, take our stuttering simple words and use them through your power to be words of salvation to all who will hear.

Amen

 

Monday 9th

2 Kings Ch 25 verse 21    ‘So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.’

On reading this chapter right at the end of 2 Kings, I was left feeling the emptiness, devastation and loss as Judah, like Israel before, are finally taken into exile.  It wasn’t that this was a sudden, unexpected event.  God the Lord who had called them to remain faithful and worship Him alone, was angered by their repeated turning away after other Gods.  Many times, through countless generations and prophets, they had been warned of impending judgement.  Despite all this, when we read what actually happened, it seems such a waste, a complete loss and the end of so much promise and potential blessing – if they had only listened and obeyed the commands of Yahweh.  However, it is out of this smouldering destruction and the remnants of this Holy Nation that as was promised, foretold and prophesied One would be born who would lift the hopes and bring salvation not just for this chosen nation, but of the whole world.  We don’t have long to wait now for Advent Sunday when we will hear afresh of this the best news the world has ever heard!

Lord God, have mercy on us when we so often go our own way and neglect your ways.  May all who are searching and crying out for answers today find in you a hiding place and a sanctuary.  In Jesus’ precious name. 

Amen.

 

Tuesday 10th

1 John  Ch 4 verse 10    This is real love – not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Take a minute to pause and think about what words you’ve said (or typed) this past week.

I must admit some of the words I have typed have perhaps reflected a truth but they have not been particularly kind! 

Do your words reflect how you love people?

It is so hard at times when a particular situation is not easy and it is hard to be positive and not sink into the same old criticisms.

This is when praying for each other comes into its own. We can pray as a church and as individuals for us to demonstrate how much love God has for everyone in the world, especially those we want to shout at and criticise, those who make our lives difficult. those who break the rules.

Let’s reflect today on how much God loves us (with all our faults that we know only too well) and ask for the strength, will power and resolve to love in every word we say and type.

Lord Jesus you forgave those who put you on the cross. You love the world and you died for the world. Help us we pray to reflect and demonstrate that love

Amen

 

Wednesday 11th

Luke Ch 6 verse 38    Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you

This is one of those verses that will never become truly meaningful without actually doing something with it.  There are some passages of the Bible which require our belief, and where our belief is demonstrated in various ways.  But not this verse, this has a simple eight-word phrase maybe a command, and then tells you what will happen when you put it into practice.

We know the phrase, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’?  Well this is the Christian equivalent in regard to giving.  Until you give, you will never experience the overwhelming generosity of God, a generosity that runs over what we might have expected.  It is a measure that is pressed and shaken, but still overflows, it sounds wonderful.

But the final line puts it into context, we receive in relation to what we have given.  If we give liberally then we will receive liberally, but if we give sparingly…….well you get the picture.  We must never forget that when it comes to giving God has a bigger shovel than us, and as quick as we shovel things in his direction, it overflows back in ours.

But we have to make the first move.  As I said, this is one of those verses that will never become truly meaningful without actually doing something with it. 

Dear Lord Jesus, may we give out of generous hearts that are thankful to you, and may we be overwhelmed at the size of the shovelfuls coming back in our direction.

Amen