Fore Street Topsham, Exeter

Minister : Reverend Paul Collings BTh (Hons) : email : : Telephone : 01392 206229 : Mobile : 07941 880768

About Us

St Nicholas Methodist Church has existed on the present site for over 150 years since it opened in 1867.

We are a friendly community of believers where all are welcomed. We help each other to worship God, and strive to live more like Christ in service beyond the walls of our church building.

Part of the
Exeter Coast and Country Circuit of the Methodist Church.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Thursday 31st December

Psalm 36:5-9 by Dr J P Hunter

On New Years Eve it is appropriate to meditate with this Psalm on the goodness of God as we celebrate the coming of Light into our world this night. David in his life had overwhelmingly experienced God’s steadfast love and faithfulness but also his righteousness and judgments. Out of that experience he compared God’s love to the immeasurable height of the heavens, God’s faithfulness to the clouds. God’s righteousness as solid as mighty mountains and the depth of wisdom of his judgements as deep as the oceans, thereby saving the souls of us humans.

It is in that deep wisdom and out of that steadfast love for humankind, that God the Father decided to send his Son to earth as a vulnerable baby to become the fountain of life and the Light of this world.

Fountain of life 36:9 gives us a sense of fresh, cleansing water that gives life to the spiritually thirsty. Jesus spoke of himself as “living water”.  In your light we see light 36:9. Jesus himself said centuries later these similar words: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” Let us celebrate the coming of Light into our dark world this night. Let us thank God for that goodness.


Lord God, in  this different Christmas Season in a world of darkness, pandemic disease, isolation and fear, I fold my hands and close my eyes to thank you for your steadfast love in sending your Son into our world to become the Saviour of all.

Lord Jesus, as you are the fountain of life, may I ask for living water to quench the spiritual thirst within me. Lord Jesus, as you are the Light of the world, will you bring light into my darkness? Lord Jesus, Saviour of all, will you be and remain my Saviour too? Amen.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Wednesday 30th December

2 Peter 3:8-13

To know that God is Creator also means that we are not only privileged, we are also responsible to assume our God-given role in creation. And as the writer of 2 Peter tells us today, that means we are responsible to leading lives of holiness and godliness, patiently waiting in hope as God continues to reveal Godself to us, toward God’s final restoration of a new heaven and new earth.

Whilst we don’t know what that means or what it looks like it sounds good, doesn’t it?

Thank you, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, for your patience with us as you hold us in the palm of your hand. Give us patience as well, even patience with ourselves, as we surrender our lives into your care, your keeping, and your calling to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Tuesday 29th December -

Read Matthew 12:46-50

Jesus in this reading speaks of two ways he says the people around him belong to his family. Firstly he belongs to the family he was born into, to that of his mother and relations. His other family is made up of those who do the will of God who from now will be his true intimates. Mary belongs to both but she is preeminently the one who has said, “let it be done onto me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). For this reason she is the first disciple of Jesus and the model Christian.

God, thank you for the promise of hope as I approach a new year. May everyone in my family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate. I know that you are always ready to forgive us. Help me to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another. As I begin a new year, remind me of my truest values and my deepest desires. Help me to live in the goodness that comes from doing what you want me to do.   to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that I might live in peace with you now, one day at a time. Amen.

Monday, 28 December 2020

Monday 28th December

Read Matthew 2:13-18

The little family flees to Egypt, where their ancestors had been enslaved for decades. Migration permeates the Old Testament. As early as Leviticus, the warning is given, “The foreigners residing among you must be treated as native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” And St Paul tells us “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers for by doing that some have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it”

The following prayer is an ancient Celtic rune of hospitality

We saw a stranger yesterday, we put food in the eating place, drink in the drinking place, music in the listening place, and with the sacred name of the triune God He blessed us and our house, our cattle and our dear ones. Open my heart Lord, to be the hospitality of Christ, to all those who come to my door. Open my heart to embrace the stranger, the friend, the rich, the poor. Open my life to offer a generous heart towards all. Amen

Saturday, 26 December 2020

2nd Day of Christmas

Saturday 26th December - St Stephen’s Day - Read Acts 5:57-60

It can seem strange to mark the martyrdom St Stephen right after Christmas Day when our dominant emotion is joy in the birth of Christ. The point, however, is that this is why Christ came on earth, to save us from our sins by his death on the Cross. Christian joy is that strange thing, not an emotion, but a deep peace which remains even in the midst of great opposition and difficulty. This will always be part of the Christian life.

Lord, thank you for the assurance of our Spirit’s ever presence as I seek to walk faithfully in your way. Give me grace to endure to the end. Amen

Friday, 25 December 2020

Advent Adventure

Friday 25th December - The Manger in my heart. 

Read Luke 2:16-21

Every birth is a precious gift of God of someone new in the world; you and I brought a new joy and promise to parents and to the world on our birth.  This would be more so in Jesus – the one who saves is the meaning of his name. The world would never be the same because of him, and maybe Mary began to know that when the shepherds came and told her their story.

Cradled in a manger, meanly,
Laid the Son of Man His head;
Sleeping His first earthly slumber
Where the oxen had been fed.

Happy were those shepherds listening
To the holy angel’s word;
Happy they within that stable
Worshipping their infant Lord.

Enter, then, O Christ most holy;
Make a Christmas in my heart;
Make a heaven of my manger:
It is heaven where Thou art. 

George Stringer Rowe

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Faith in Times of Crisis - by Dr J P Hunter

Thursday 24th December - Faith in Times of Crisis by Dr J P Hunter  Read Psalm 23

Although this Psalm featured in this series in June, for New Year’s Eve these beautiful words are so fitting that we should be inspired by them once more. This Psalm has a simple message at its core: have confidence in God. David uses two analogies to express his own relationship of trust with God: of a shepherd and of a host. The Lord is my shepherd and You prepare a table before me, 1 and 5

Few sentences in all Scripture have given greater comfort than verse 4: even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me. It is the companionship of the Lord himself that changes all. It does not mean there are no deathly valleys or enemies, but they are not capable of hurt: our souls are safe. Living in that personal relationship of trust in Him we are, I am, able to face a New Year in a time of difficulty and uncertainty.


Lord of all people and of all times, at the completion of this year I would like to thank you for bringing us this far.Thanking you for your companionship, your guidance, your love, your mercy and care. At the start of a new year, may I ask you to be with our country, our people, our Church, my family and myself. Be our guide, be our shepherd, as I am still before you and put my trust in you. Amen.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Advent Adventure

Wednesday 23rd December - Read Luke 1:46-56 - Magnificat 

Mary gives us a model prayer, rooted in the past but open to the future. The prayer invites me to give time to recognise and ponder on the gifts I have received, so that I may thank God for them. Perhaps I could write my own Magnificat and pray over it, recognising the great things the Lord has done for me and through me.

Lord, give me Mary’s confidence and generosity of spirit. I ask not just to listen to your voice and do your will, but to do it joyfully and fearlessly. Let me answer your call with an exultant ‘Yes!’ because I know that my journey into the unknown will be made radiant by your transfiguring presence. Amen

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Advent Adventure

Tuesday 22nd December - Read Luke 1:39-45 - Mary and Elizabeth

What a wonderful encounter: two women, bound by kinship, both bearing sons, both blest by the Lord. How affirming to Mary that the revelation made to her, is understood by her kinswoman. Do I have someone with whom I can share what God is doing in my life? Can others share their news with me?

Lord, as Christmas draws ever closer free me from being self-absorbed and self-centred. Instead fill me with eagerness and generosity of heart. Like Mary, may I too go out in loving service of others and experience your Love leaping up in me and in those with whom I come in contact. Amen

Monday, 21 December 2020

Advent Adventure

This weeks post will consist of  a daily Bible reference for you to consider, a short thought and a prayer for each day of the coming week. May you be truly blessed this Christmastide 

Monday 21st December - Read Luke1:26-38

Surprising calls can evoke fears and questioning, leading to a desire for a sign before saying yes. Have I been through that experience? In my prayer I ask for the same freedom and openness of Mary to God’s surprising ways? Could my fears get in the way of a generous response to God?

Lord, may I grow each day trusting in your amazing revelation to me: that I too “am your highly favoured one”.Help me to not to be afraid for  You rejoice in me! In the ‘busyness’ of life, keep these thoughts before me. Like Mary, may I too be ready to play my part in realising your incarnation fully alive in me and those I meet on the way. Amen

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Advent Adventure

Flights of Fancy

Isn’t interesting how often the name of Christ is upon the lips of folk during this season yet without any regard for the incarnate one who can and is present among us.  Merry Christmas, is the greeting, Christmas Sale shouts the advertising sign, and post early for Christmas the message from the Post Office.

The word Christmas is a strange word if you think about it.  Christ meaning anointed one and the word Mass, associated with the Eucharist recalling the sacrificial death of Jesus. In other words the celebration of the birth and death of the anointed one. What a theological conundrum just in that one word.

My companion writer through the last nine months, Fred Beuchner tells of a surprising Christmas revelation.

He writes,  “One Christmas Eve, exhausted, about to go to bed having put all the presents under the tree, I remembered that our neighbour had asked us to feed his sheep every day he was gone.

The snow was falling -- this was in Vermont - my brother and I went down the hill to feed the sheep. We went into the barn and we got the bales of hay. We took them out into the sheep shed, cut the string, turned on the forty-watt bulb and began scattering the hay. 

The sheep came bumbling up, getting close to it. With the smell of the hay, the smell of the sheep and the snow coming down, all of a sudden I realised where I was.

I was in the manger and I almost missed it. I was in this holy place and I might not even have seen it. I happened to see it. It seems to me that in a way, you could say that the world itself is a manger where God is continually being born into our lives, into the things that happen to us. 

Most of the time, if you are like me, you are looking the other way."

LET CHRIST be born in you!

Let hope be born,

Let love be born.

Let newness of heart be born in you!

Let gentleness be born,

Let truth be born.

Let concern for the poor be born in you!

Let generosity be born,

Let compassion be born.

Let close communion with God be born in you!

Let prayer be born,

Let action be born.

Let the faith to take up your cross and follow be born in you!

And let it lead you in the ways of our Lord,

For the sake of our Lord. Now and always. Amen.

– Alive Now

From Alive Now,November/December 2003. Copyright © 2003 CCLI 814800

Friday, 18 December 2020

Advent Adventure


Have you ever thought of where the saying “signs of the times” originated. It actually comes from Matthew 16:1-3 “The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

So often, society forgets or fails to understand the origins of such sayings and in turn fails to see the significance of their true meaning. Our eyes, our ears and our very hearts and minds deceive us and even divert us along our journey. In recent years the subject of how to find God's guidance has become controversial. Some say that God does not have a specific plan for the lives of his people, but allows us to please ourselves. Others say God's will is known by dreams, visions, and 'words of knowledge'. But these are not based upon scripture.

The writer of Proverbs, on the other hand, stresses, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6. Second guessing our way is not part of the disciples toolkit for life, whilst Trust is. 

Life is simple and peaceful when we come to God like little children and say, “God, I don’t want to live on my own. I want to trust You. When I don’t know what to do, I’ll trust You. When I don’t understand why, I’ll trust You. I’ll do my part with Your help, and when I’m done, I’ll trust You to do the rest.”

John Henry Newman wrote, “I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain.”  What signs7 of our trust are evident in our lives.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Faith in Times of Crisis by Dr J P Hunter


Psalm 43 New International Version (NIV)

Vindicate me, my God,
    and plead my cause
    against an unfaithful nation.
Rescue me from those who are
    deceitful and wicked.
You are God my stronghold.
    Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?
Send me your light and your truth,
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you dwell.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the harp,
    O God, my God.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Saviour and my God.


This Psalm without a title was likely originally written as one with Psalm 42. It is chosen for today in the 3rd week of Advent because of the use of the symbol of light leading us out of personal or seasonal darkness. The author felt downcast and disturbed 43:5, felt oppressed by enemies 43:2, asking why he should go about mourning 43:2 and even why God had rejected him 43:2. But he also knew the answer to his searching questions: he asked for your light and your truth 43:3. That light would lead him out of darkness. The truth would confirm the truth of God’s unfailing, unending love for his people. Then he would go to the place where God dwells 43:3 and praise him 43:4. The author is then able to end this Psalm with an encouragement to his own soul and ours to put your hope in God, our Saviour and our God 43:5. In the days before Christmas, in seasonal or personal darkness, the light of the son of God to come into our personal world is near and is here. Put your hope in Him.


When we feel low or experience darkness inside, we too can ask for light and for truth. Will you give me light to guide my path? Will you bring me truth for my searching soul? Then I may sense hope that even out of darkness you will bring me into your light. And never let me go. Amen.

Hymn Singing the Faith 635 v1 with refrain

1 My troubled soul, why so weighed down?                     

   You were not made to bear this heavy load.                  

   Cast all your burdens upon the Lord;                               

   Jesus cares, he cares for you.                                            

  I will praise the mighty name of Jesus,

  praise the Lord, the lifter of my head.

  Praise the Rock of my salvation,

  all my days are in his faithful hands.                                                        

Robert Critchley (b.1959)                                                                



Rev’d Paul Collings 
St Nicholas Methodist Church
Exeter Coast and Country Circuit 
Telephone 07941 880768

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Advent Adventure

The Way of Peace

A few years ago I remember chuckling at an unusual Christmas story called ‘Round the Back’. It tells of an harassed inn keeper inundated with visitors in search of the new born King. Each visit disturbs his sleep and shatters the peace as each  asks where they might find the goal of their search, he successively shouts louder each time, “Round the Back.”

It was William Arthur Dunkerley (12 November 1852 – 23 January 1941), a prolific English journalist, novelist and poet who wrote the hymn.

Peace in our time, O Lord,

To all the peoples—peace!

Peace surely based upon thy will

And built in righteousness.

Thy power alone can break

The fetters that enchain

The sorely stricken soul of life,

And make it live again.

How to know the deep peace bequeathed by Jesus when all around is in turmoil or even find the peace of heart in the most tranquil of scenes when our inner selves are anxious or frustrated seems so difficult. How to take Jesus words to heart for so many of us is the issue at stake. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

You see, Peace is there but calls for us to come and to take and find rest. Come” is a familiar word in scripture. “Come back to me; come and see; come follow me.” God continues to invite us, desiring what is best for us. This is the God who leads us to restful waters, who desires that work be service, not slavery. We are promised the help we need by a gentle and humble Lord to walk more lightly in life, knowing that he is with us.

Perhaps we need to ask ourselves these questions, “Do I hear the Lord’s invitation to me as life-giving and liberating? Where do I feel burdened or enslaved knowing the Lord desires freedom in service of him and others? May we turn to the Lord for what I need to travel more lightly in life.

May we also take to heart the Gaelic Blessings that says, 

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ,
of Christ the light of the world to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Advent Adventure

Seeking Directions

With all the technical navigation aids of our time, local knowledge is still perhaps the best.  Mind you. I recall when trying to find a Methodist Church in the West Devon area of the county stopping a local and asking directions. i was met with the reply, “If I was going there, I wouldn’t start from here!”

On the other hand, there is nothing like someone with that local knowledge who can lead you to where you need to go. Right through the bible we find signposts, whether the children of Israel passing through the wilderness, shepherds with angelic direction and even the Magi’s starlight guidance. 

In the Acts of the Apostles we read of an angel pointing Philip in a direction toward an Ethiopian Eunuch in need. Philip in turn finds himself in the right place at the right time as he explains the scriptures to this North African seeker. 

The Old Testament has some advice for us, “If ... you will seek the Lord your God, then you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and soul.  In your distress, when all these things happen to you in days to come and you return to the Lord your God, then you will hear his voice.  For God is compassionate. The Lord your God won’t fail you. He won’t destroy you or forget the covenant that he confirmed with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:29-31

It is all very well receiving directions, but they are only of use if we follow them through to the intended destination. The pivotal word is always ‘if’, and another Old Testament ‘if’ statement for our times could be, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Lord, help me to constantly look for ways to point those in my life to You.  Help me to be selfless and sacrificial at all times.  Help me to realise that love is all about You and is all about helping others come to know You and follow You.  When that requires sacrifice on my part, help me to embrace that sacrifice with wholehearted joy and zeal.  Amen

Monday, 14 December 2020

Advent Adventure

Meeting others on the way

My family often laugh at me when I return from travelling across the UK or even abroad and say, “who did you bump into this time?” as Inevitably I have recognised someone or they me on my travels. Even though in some cases, many years have passed, either I or they recognise something familiar.

One of my favourite encounter accounts in the Gospels is found in Luke 8:26-39 where Legion, the man possessed and in so much inner conflict, comes face to face with Jesus. Two verses stand out for me are v28 “When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” and after Jesus had cast out his inner demons, we read “When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.” This for me just shows how Jesus changes the lives of those who meet him on their way.

There is something about the joy of meeting a dear friend and allowing their presence to lighten our day. Paul in writing to the Corinthians understands such joy,  particularly in his encounter with Jesus. “For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

In these words, Paul has something to say about Jesus. The great thought that he drives home is that in Jesus Christ we see what God is like. "He who has seen me," said Jesus, "has seen the Father." John 14:9. When Paul preached he did not say, "Look at me!" He said, "Look at Jesus Christ! and there you will see the glory of God come to earth in a form that a man can understand."

C. S. Lewis has words to help is to reflect the presence of Jesus in every encounter, “Don’t shine so that others can see you, shine, so that others can see Him.”

Loving Lord Jesus!

Give me the grace to seek You diligently all through the day just as how You sought Your Father while You sojourned on this earth. Help me to seek Your kingdom and its righteousness first and trust that You will add all things to it. May I learn to unload my burdens at Your feet and carry Your yoke which is light and easy to bear.

In Your precious name I pray.


Saturday, 12 December 2020

Advent Adventure

Fly Tipping on the Roadside

There has been a huge spike in fly-tipping in some parts of the UK during the coronavirus lockdown. The Countryside Alliance reports a 300% rise in fly-tipping in some areas after local authorities closed recycling centres amid the Covid-19 crisis. This lack of community care is not only unsightly but can be a danger to those who travel down the lanes and byways. 

So often, it is the selfishness of the few that impinges upon those who are without voice. Those who deposit rubbish on the pilgrim path others. The words of Ezekiel 34:4 reveal such actions.  “The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.”

The question is, are we complicit in dumping our rubbish in the way of others, causing them to loose their sense of direction on the Pilgrim way.

Isaiah 11:1-4 says ‘On him the spirit of the Lord will rest: a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and power.... with justice he will judge the poor and defend the humble in the land with equity.’ (REB)

This combination of spiritual giftedness and deep sensitivity for those in greatest need brings about an environment of peace, symbolised by normally hostile animals lying down together in harmony. The sign that true justice prevails is the presence of enduring peace and harmony. The notion of the environment having a spiritual emphasis should awaken in us a desire not to harm the inner as well as the outer environs.

Lord we pray for an end to the waste and desecration of God's creation. For access to the fruits of creation to be shared equally among all people and for communities and nations to find sustenance in the fruits of the earth and the water God has given us.

Loving Lord, you created the world and gave it into our care so that, in obedience to you, we might serve all people. Inspire us to use the riches of creation with wisdom, and to ensure that their blessings are shared by all; that, trusting in your bounty, all people may be empowered to seek freedom from poverty, famine, and oppression. Amen

Friday, 11 December 2020

Advent Adventure

Whistling on our way

I could always tell when my grandfather was coming home from his day at sea as I would hear his distinctive whistle well before he entered my grandmother’s house. Whistling helps eliminate stress: It is said that no matter if you are working overtime, stuck in a traffic jam on your way home, or running errands, whistling clears your mind—stopping you from concentrating on problems and fixing your attention on your favourite tunes. Research also shows it reduces anxiety: improves your mood, boosts lung strength, makes exercising less boring, and keeps your one young-looking.

Matthew 11:16-19 says; “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Certain forms of psychology suggest that one can change our inner view and wellbeing by laying down a sound track in our minds that enables us to reconstruct positive thoughts. The research shows how music engages our emotions, imagination, and intelligence in creative endeavours that promote personal wellbeing and social cohesion. However, it takes some effort on our part and our willingness to transpose the harmony of the mind into a symphony of the soul.

In these days when singing, humming or even whistling is not allowed under the Covid restrictions, it is even more difficult to sing from the heart even though the tune of gospel that can run through our minds. What Jesus offers is a joyous melody that we can sing deep within us if we are willing to join his wonderful hymn of praise.

A prayer

May we learn to whistle to a new tune, Jesus, may we hear what you are playing, and follow in your lead. When you hear our clamour, like children at play — sure that we are right and others are in the wrong: wanting everything to go our way — show us God's way. Help us to recognise others’ rights and our responsibilities, help us to see what we can give up and where we need to get involved. When you see us caught up in self-justifying busyness, turning celebration into a chore, remind us that, in God's wisdom, holy days and holidays are the same thing. Amen

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Faith in time of Crisis

Psalm 18:1-3, 6, 27-28, 31 Good News Translation. For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord.

   How I love you, Lord!
    You are my defender.

2 The Lord is my protector;
    he is my strong fortress.
My God is my protection,
    and with him I am safe.
He protects me like a shield;
    he defends me and keeps me safe.
3 I call to the Lord,
    and he saves me from my enemies.
Praise the Lord!

6 In my trouble I called to the Lord;
    I called to my God for help.
In his temple he heard my voice;
    he listened to my cry for help.

27 You save those who are humble,
    but you humble those who are proud.

28 O Lord, you give me light;
    you dispel my darkness.

31 The Lord alone is God;
    God alone is our defence.

Meditation by Dr J P Hunter 

This Psalm is chosen because of the themes of protection and giving light, appropriate in dark Advent days. 

This Psalm may have been written towards the end of David’s life when peace had been achieved and David looked back in gratitude for guidance, help and deliverance. 

The Psalm starts by expressing David’s love for the Lord. Then describing God as his protection, fortress and shield, defending David and keeping him safe.  It was David’s personal experience that when he was in trouble and called to the Lord, his cry for help was heard, recognising that the Lord saves those who are humble. David received light to dispel his personal darkness and concludes that The Lord alone is God.  

Like David, we too can look back, see the hand of God in our lives and become thankful for all we received, for guidance and deliverance. We too can come to see that God gave and gives light in our lives to dispel our personal darkness. And we wait in the season of Advent the arrival of the Light of the World in God’s one and only Son. Sent into a dark world to provide light. Sent to save you and me.


Lord, Light of the World, in these dark days and long nights before Christmas, I come to seek your presence. Seeking to thank you for all the years you have guided, protected and delivered me from darkness and trouble. Seeking you to pray for this day that, like David, you will protect me and my family like a shield and keep us safe. Seeking to ask you for the days of Christmas that your light will come and remain with us all. In your name, Amen. 

Hymn – Singing the Faith 188, verse 1

There’s a light upon the mountains, and the day is at the spring,

when our eyes shall see the beauty and the glory of the King;

weary was our heart with waiting, and the night-watch seemed so long;

but his triumph-day is breaking, and we hail it with a song.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Advent Adventure

Refreshment Break

“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41:17-19)

If you travel along the M4 into Wales you will see a number of signs that say, Gwasanaethau (Services). In Germany or Austria they are called Autobhof  and I recall in Poland in 1988 seeing a sign that said autostrad, although in the later case it comprised of a rough parking area and a shack.

Each is in their place with the aim of refreshing the would-be traveller. However, whilst the signs indicate where we may receive refreshment, unless we stop for a while at such places we will become hungry and thirsty on our journey.

Refreshment means restoring strength, energy and vigour. A light snack is sometimes referred to as a ‘refreshment’. Physical refreshment can also come, for example, from sleep, rest, or exercise.

Paul tells Philemon that he has ‘refreshed the hearts of the saints’ (Philemon 7). Later on in the letter, Paul asks him to ‘refresh my heart in Christ’ (v.20). But how do we refresh our minds, hearts and souls? Of course, if we are travelling an unfamiliar route, it is more than helpful to have a guide, one who knows the best places to stop, rest and refresh. We have such a one in Jesus. Remember he said to his followers, “If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:18 Common English Version)

Jesus travels with us offering the gift of refreshed life in abundance – but we all too often remain choosy about the packaging in which his message is showcased (too ‘churchy’ – or too worldly)…if only we took to prayer, we might find our hearts becoming more open and truly refreshed.

Father, we come to you for we realise our need when we are drained of energy, distracted from purpose, and drowning in expectations. Rescue us from endless fatigue, aimless pursuit and comparison. Take the loads we carry and replace them with Your peace. We enter Your presence, ready to be quiet, and stand in awe of Your greatness, Your holiness, Your power.

Grant us a refreshed spirit and a renewed mind so we may see You, and the world around us. Restore our joy and give us eyes for Your presence in us and around us. May we, if just for a moment, take our gaze from: our problems, our busyness, our burdens and give it to you. We lay our whole selves on the altar in this moment. Teach us to surrender a greater and greater portion of our lives, our hearts to You. We trust in: Your will, Your way, Your timing.

Build the courage to depend on You, to know where we’re going, to know what’s best, to be in control. Mould us, our lives until we are conformed to You. Ground us in Your promises. Lead us in Your love. Realign our lives to Your path, Your purpose. We praise You for being the God who: hears, sees, knows. Us. Kindle a new fire in our spirits today, Lord. Let us walk only toward You. Amen.

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Advent Adventure

Journey Fatigue 

Here are three Bible verses that span the scriptures with a reference to fatigue and its remedy.

“It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’” (Exodus 31:17) “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.” (Isaiah 40:29) “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Have you ever had a long and difficulty journey, perhaps hampered by delays or hold-ups of one kind or another. I recall waiting for a flight delayed by 10 hours and at another time of being stuck for 7 hours on the M5 due to an accident further along the road. Such travel problems often sap our energy and fatigue inevitable sets in. At such times of tiredness, it is difficult to be rational and make sane or responsible decisions.

Spiritual weariness is something every pilgrim this side of heaven is acquainted with from time to time. But what about when that weariness is long term; creeping into our lives, making us feel burdened with the weight of continuing on?

We must recognise, like all types of tiredness, that there is often a reason we feel tired. Our eyelids drooping. We probably aren’t getting enough sleep. Our arms weak. We are either  working out too much, or not enough. Tiredness is a symptom of a deeper reality; so it is with our spiritual weariness. There is a distinction to be made, however, between being tired from time to time (which is a sign of healthy labour) and staying tired. When the latter happens, we need to take a more serious look inside, what are the symptoms revealing? 

The creation narrative sets a preventative guidance of the need for rest. The Hebrew word used for rest means to cease, to purposely stop what we are doing and the word refreshed has the meaning to breath.  A modern way of looking at it would be to ‘catch our breath.’ But in this case it is not only catching our own breath but to breathe the breath of the Spirit and it is through this spiritual resuscitation that we are strengthened.

D. A. McBride points out “Sometimes you must stand still in order to get moving to where God wants you to go.”

Dear Lord,

Thank You for another day! Thank You for my life and the purpose You have given me. I come before You tired and ask for a refreshed spirit. I am exhausted and I need Your strength to carry me.  Fill me with joy, so that no matter how tired I am, I rejoice because You are good and Your love endures forever. I pray for other wives who are feeling tired or empty. Help us not to complain amidst our weakness. Restore our minds so that we can still function properly. Give our bodies the energy needed to get through each day. We claim healing in Jesus’ name! Please also help us to manage our time so that we will get the rest we need.  Help us to prune things that are hard to let go of that suck the energy from us. Lord, we lay our lives down at Your throne and praise You in Jesus’ name AMEN!

Community Groups Regularly Usiing the Church

Regrettably, due to the current restrictions, there are no community activities at the church premises.

Watch this space for news of when activities will restart.