ChildWe all know the phrase ‘The devil makes work for idol hands’ and I wonder if that is true for any of us today, whether we have done or said anything that now fills us with shame should anyone find out, or whether we have experienced something that brings us so low we feel crushed by it. If that’s you then I simply want to share this with you… God is greater than the weight you are carrying. Cast your burdens on the Lord and he will sustain you… I was reminded of this when I listened to a song that always touches my heart. The song contains these words …

“Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal”

Stillness

Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God.”

Mark 4:37-41 
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

To be still, to experience stillness, is to experience the absence of motion or sound… to be settled in one place, not wanting or needing to be somewhere else. It is a state of mind and physicality that demonstrates a focus on the now, not concerned for the past and not worried about the future. Sounds simple doesn’t it. Yet, for so many people this is a state that is really hard to achieve… and why? Because we are so surrounded by noise (emotional, physical and spiritual) we cannot focus.

Victory

O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

Today is VE Day, a day set aside to celebrate the 75 year anniversary of the Hitlers reign of terror and effectively ending World War 2 in Europe (although it did carry on in the Pacific / Far-East region for another 4 months, ending on the 2nd September 1945). Today is a celebration of tenacity, courage, the fight against an evil regime. It is a time to remember the loss and the sacrifice given. To quote Winston Churchill ‘Never have so many been owed so much by so few’. The victory was hard fought, hard won and in some cases it was a war of attrition, where victory in battles across Europe was determined by nothing more that which sided could hold out the longest.

telescope

Psalm 27:4-5, 8
One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. ‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, do I seek.

As I have read the news over the last few weeks, listen to TV and Radio and read articles on the internet a question as steadily risen in my mind…What are we all searching for? This ‘new world’ we find ourselves in has challenged a lot of the old assumptions about how we were, and still are, living as the human race. It has raised questions about the distribution of wealth, it has exposed or made more prominent the fragility of a ‘just in time’ supply chain, it requires answers about the benefits and costs of globalisation based on the values of an unchecked, unrestricted capitalist market economy.

Encourager

Psalm 118:24 - “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Hebrews 3:13 - “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

When were you last encouraged? When did you last encourage someone else? My challenge for you today is to contact at least 3 people and really encourage them. Remind them of something good about themselves, tell them something God wants them to hear, encourage them to do something to lift their spirits.

lego men

James 2:1-5 - My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,”  have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

Who’s right? Is it six or nine? The image presented here is quite light-hearted but does illustrate a point quite well, that where we stand very often dictates how we see the world and thus how we arrive at our conclusions about what we encounter in the world. And what I mean by ‘where we stand’ is simply our perspective on life; formed through experiences, the chance place and time of birth by location and social standing, the views of those important to us and a host of other factors too.

Age

Psalm 71:17-18 O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and grey hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to all the generations to come.

This is not a rebuke… this is an encouragement to all those who feel that they are quite simply too old to do what God calls them to do, from sharing the gospel to serving the community to bringing encouragement and hope to people around them… ‘Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind’