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Reverend Paul Collings BTh (Hons) - - - - - - 01392 206229 - - - 07941 880768

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We are a community of faith seeking to discover the face of Jesus Christ in our Church, in our Community and in our Commitment.

Thursday 30 June 2022

Prayer - Adoration

Adoration is recognising the power of God.

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, - Hebrews 1:3

E M Bounds says, “Prayer honours God, acknowledges His being, exalts His power, adores His providence, secures His aid.”

The word for God’s power in theological circles is omnipotence. It is one of the All-nesses of God. All-wise. All-powerful. All-loving. All-knowing. Whilst we cannot ever fully conceive the all-ness of God, in our prayers, we acknowledge in faith and trust God’s greatness above all others.

A boy asked his father, “Dad, what is the size of God? How big is He?”

The Father looked up at the sky and saw a little plane In the far distance and asked his son, “What is the size of the plane in the sky?”

The boy replied, “It is really small. I can hardly see it in the sky."

Then, the father said, “Son, let’s go on a trip to the airport. I want to show you something.”

The boy jumped in his father’s truck and off they went to the airport.

As they approached the plane, the father asked his son: “Now, Son, how big is this plane?” The boy looked at the airplane and said, “Wow, Dad, that plane is huge! It’s a lot bigger than that plane in the sky, isn’t it!”

Then the father put his arm around his son and said, “Son, God’ size is like this plane. It is the same one you saw in the sky from a distance and it looked so small. God’s size depends on how close or how fare you are to him. The closer you are……the bigger God looks!”

Dear Lord,I adore you because you are great, and greatly to be praised! All I have to do is look around to see your greatness displayed. Creation shows me your wonderful work, your power and beauty in all things. Romans 11:35 reminds me of this, “For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever!”

When I slow down from the busyness of life, I notice you more. I hear you in the birds singing and sense your presence in the gentle wind. I get a glimpse of your goodness in the miracle of new life. The morning sunrise reminds me of your mercies that begin fresh every morning. As I go about my day, I will admire how great you are by pausing to enjoy what you created. In the holy name of your son Jesus I pray, Amen.

Wednesday 29 June 2022

Prayer - Adoration

Adoration is recognising the glory of God

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. - 1 Chronicles 29:11

Fred Buechner helps us with this definition. “Glory is to God what style is to an artist. A painting by Vermeer, a sonnet by Donne, a Mozart aria each is so rich with the style of the one who made it that to the connoisseur it couldn't have been made by anybody else, and the effect is staggering. The style of artists brings you as close to the sound of their voices and the light in their eyes as it is possible to get this side of actually shaking hands with them.” 

In the words of Psalm 19:1, "The heavens are telling the glory of God." It is the same thing. To the connoisseur, not just sunsets and starry nights, but dust storms, rain forests, garter snakes, and the human face are all unmistakably the work of a single hand. Glory is the outward manifestation of that hand in its handiwork just as holiness is the inward. To behold God's glory, to sense God's style, is the closest you can get to God this side of paradise, just as to read King Lear is the closest you can get to Shakespeare.

Glory is what God looks like when for the time being all you have to look at him with is a pair of eyes.

Glory to God in the highest,

and peace to His people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King,

Almighty God and Father,

we worship You, we give You thanks,

we praise You for Your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ,

only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

You take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us;

You are seated at the right hand of the Father:

receive our prayer.

For You alone are the Holy One,

You alone are the Lord,

You alone are the Most High,

Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of the Father. Amen

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Prayer - Adoration

So what is adoration? Adoration is the deep love and respect for someone we revere, especially as it pertains to a divine being. In the Bible, adoration is demanded of all who profess to know God. When we adore the Lord, all of our activities should become acts of worship. When our adoration is reserved for only our Saviour all our other loves take their proper place in our lives. We are able to love our families and friends better when our worshipful adoration belongs only to the Lord.

“… shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ - Mark 12:30

In terms of voicing our prayers of adoration we could have an image of our heart, soul, mind, strength - maybe a picture for the feelings of our heart, or colour for our soul; imagine the depth of our mind and the strength of our body? Imagine each of them in prayer, or one by one; offer them to God in love. Part of prayer is bringing our whole self in love to the one who is creating you moment by moment, day by day, in love.

Lord, enlarge my heart. Make me more and more sensitive to the quality of your love, especially as I think of your gift of life. May I perceive how much you love me. Make me a grateful person. Amen

Monday 27 June 2022

Prayer - Adoration

Over the next 4 weeks we will explore the acronym ACTS in relation to prayer denoting Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Let’s start with considering Adoration. The Psalms is a very good place to start.

Psalm 150:1-5 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!.

In this psalm, the writer employs all the available instruments to praise God. William Temple believed that “Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, the nourishment of the mind with His truth, the purifying of the imagination of His beauty, the opening of the heart to His love, the surrender of the will to His purpose.”

I don’t know which instrument you would choose to glorify God, but to become a proficient musician requires practice. Adoring God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the right place to start our daily prayer as voicing our heart felt praise sets the scene as well as our hearts in the right place for communicating with God.

You, loving God, are the ground of our being and the river of life;

you both steady our roots and draw them to seek the living waters.

You are like the sunlight enticing us taller

and like the breeze rustling our leaves.

You are with us through hard seasons of summer heat,

and in the nights when winter’s frost ice the landscape

your love warms and sustains us.

You are everything to us.

O let our gratitude be great,

let our praise be plentiful,

let our worship be wonder-full!

Through Christ Jesus your ever-living Son. Amen!

Saturday 25 June 2022


Hymns of Childhood

Philip Bliss completes his hymn with the simple refrain:-

I am so glad that Jesus loves me,

Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me,

I am so glad that Jesus loves me,

Jesus loves even me.

In an iconic moment, Karl Barth the great 20th Century theologian said that the nursery lullaby "Jesus Loves Me" summarised his entire theological works. According to the best accounts of the incident, Karl Barth was at Rockefeller Chapel (really a Gothic cathedral!) on the campus of the University of Chicago during his lecture tour of the U.S. in 1962. After his lecture, during the Q & A time, a student asked Barth if he could summarise his whole life’s work in theology in a sentence. Barth allegedly said something like “Yes, I can. In the words of a song I learned at my mother’s knee: ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” 

Bliss completes his poetic verse with expressing the glad reality of the love of Christ. Much like Paul in his letter to the Romans, where he expresses that nothing can separate us from the love of God found in Christ Jesus.

William Barclay said that "A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms, and nothing in all religious history has done Christianity more harm than its connection with black clothes and long faces." And C.S. Lewis wrote, "It is not so much the joy of the Lord we are seeking as the Lord of joy Himself."

A Prayer

Thank you for loving us and caring for our needs as You do. For You know the plan ahead for us and know how to guide our steps to be in line with that plan. It’s not always easy to rejoice and remain hopeful in You when problems and circumstances arise, but we have to think back on the times we have been in similar positions and remember how You blessed us more than we thought possible. From big to little, we can count the blessings that You gave us before and discover they are more numerous than we ever thought possible. That is because You know our needs before we ask them, You know our heartaches before we have them, and You know what will grow us the most to be all we can be in Your eyes. So, let us rejoice and be glad as we give You our prayers, knowing when we least expect it, You will bring them into fruition. We give all of this to You in Jesus’s name.

Friday 24 June 2022

What an Assurance!

In this assurance I find sweetest rest,
Trusting in Jesus, I know I am blest;
Satan, dismayed, from my soul now doth flee
When I just tell him that Jesus loves me.

Another song writer expressed this assurance in the words

In the love of Jesus there is all I need,
While I follow closely where my Lord may lead;
By His grace forgiven, in His presence blest,
In the love of Jesus,
In the love of Jesus is perfect rest.

In Luke 11:31-32 we find Jesus speaking to his disciples “..set your heart on his kingdom, and your food and drink will come as a matter of course. Don’t be afraid, you tiny flock! Your Father plans to give you the kingdom.”

It was the well-known Quaker, George Fox, used to say “Carry some quiet around inside thee, Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit, from thy own thoughts, and then thou wilt feel the principle of God to turn thy mind to the Lord from whence cometh life; whereby thou mayest receive the strength and power to allay all storms and tempests.”

In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was burned at the stake because of his witness for Christ. On the night before Ridley's execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life. Because he knew the peace of God, he could rest in the strength of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need. The wonderful truth of the gospel is so can we!

A Prayer

Father, I pray that You might give me such a peaceful sense of assurance that I might never doubt that You own me; I am Yours both now and forever. I pray that I might let the promises of Your Word guide me during the dark times; I pray that my faith might grow each day in my walk with You. Amen

Thursday 23 June 2022

Only One Song?

O if there’s only one song I can sing
When in his beauty I see the great King,
This shall my song in eternity be:
O what a wonder that Jesus loves me!

I dare say like me, you are intrigued as to which song the guest will choose from their Desert Island list on that British Institution known as Desert Island Discs. It is often not just the choice of song but the reason behind their selection that tells the listener a lot about the guest’s character and life journey.

In line with the 4th verse of our chosen song for this week, Philip Bliss speaks of song that expressed the beauty of our king Christ Jesus but also of the wonder of his live for each one of us.

It is worth carefully reading the words found in Johns Gospel 15:12-17, ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

This is such a rich text, that I may want to spend the time just savouring each word, letting Jesus speak to me with such love and warmth, calling me his friend, promising me a life that will bear fruit, fruit that will last.

Love one another as I have loved you. This is not a burden, an impossible task, but an invitation to the fullness of love and life that Jesus lived. We would do well to ask for the grace to understand better how Jesus loved, so that our love can be modelled on his.

A Prayer
Lord, you are inviting me, choosing me, to be your intimate friend, to go out in your name and to make an impact on this precious world, and bear lasting fruit.
Jesus my friend, in your company I can relax, be silent or talk, grumble or boast, give out and complain, or feel thankful and light-hearted. You know my heart, and make allowances. I do not have to pretend. Amen

Wednesday 22 June 2022

How could I tell?

If one should ask of me, how could I tell?
Glory to Jesus, I know very well;
God’s Holy Spirit with mine doth agree,
Constantly witnessing Jesus loves me.

Have you ever heard an instrument that was really out of tune?

If not, let me save you some trouble… it’s not enjoyable. What’s worse is when the person playing the instrument doesn’t notice, and out of the kindness of your heart, you listen to their whole song (and the encore), while you want nothing more than to lose all sense of sound. “Lord, why did you give me ears?” you ask. Then you realise that’s ridiculous and instead pray, “Lord, why didn’t you give them ears?!”

Any musician knows that you can get an instrument perfectly in tune, but if, after tuning it, the instrument sits neglected or gets knocked around, it’s not going to stay in tune. Instruments require constant re-tuning. And the Puritan pastor and theologian, John Flavel says it’s the same with the heart. Flavel wrote a whole book on just this one verse and tucked in the pages of that volume he describes the heart as a musical instrument. This is why the writer of Proverbs said, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

In 1870, Philip Bliss, the writer of this weeks hymn, became a staff member of the First Congregational Church in Chicago. One evening when he was feeling quite weary, he was uplifted by the words of Paul in Romans 5:5 – “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” That’s when he began writing the above song, which he taught to children in his church the following Sunday.

Today we use a prayer of St Augustine
Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.  Amen 

Tuesday 21 June 2022

O I am Certain?

Jesus loves me and I know I love him;
Love brought him down my poor soul to redeem,
Yes, it was love made him die on the tree;
O I am certain that Jesus loves me!

When I read the narrative of where the rich young ruler comes to Jesus seeking certainty, my heart goes out to him in his uncertainty. Matthew 19:16-22 

The young man comes with an almost academic request concerning which commandment to follow. Interestingly, the commandments which Jesus recites to the rich young man do not include the first three of the ten commandment, which all relate to our relationship with God. Instead, Jesus lists those which address our relationships with each other. The message is clear – we do not live in isolation. Love for our neighbour is the door to eternal life.

In other words the love received and the love I have for Jesus Christ has to find its out working in love for my neighbour.

Sometimes when we ask a question of God we do not like the answer! When Jesus challenges this good young man to let go of the material things that he treasures, he walks away from Jesus, grieving. Does my heart ever ache because I know God is asking something which I am not ready to give to him?

A Prayer
Teach me, Lord, how to get free of the things that have a hold on me. They prevent me from following you more closely. Help me to see that my possessions are not the treasure I am looking for. Help me to build the lasting treasure of a strong relationship with you. Amen

Monday 20 June 2022

Hymns of Childhood

This week I’m going to explore the words of childhood hymn written by Philip Bliss. Philip P. Bliss (b. Clearfield County, PA, 1838; d. Ashtabula, OH, 1876) left home as a young boy to make a living by working on farms and in lumber camps, all while trying to continue his schooling. He was converted at a revival meeting at age twelve. Bliss became an itinerant music teacher, making house calls on horseback during the winter, and during the summer attending the Normal Academy of Music in Genesco, New York. His first song was published in 1864, and in 1868 Dwight L. Moody advised him to become a singing evangelist.

The first verse concentrates on the love of God showered upon us, his children. 

1 I am so glad that our Father in Heaven

Tells of his love in the book he has given;

Wonderful things in the Bible I see;

This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.

I ask the question do we read of the wonderful things found in the bible.

Some time ago, a couple invited a particular minister to their home to have a dinner. After the minister left, the wife said to the husband “I think the minister stole our spoon!” This bothered the woman for a whole year. Meanwhile, a year later the couple invited the minister again for dinner. Unable to resist, the wife summoned the courage and asked “minister did you steal our spoon last year?” Surprised and somewhat uncomfortable, the minister replied “No, I placed it inside your Bible”

Open my eyes, gracious Lord, as I turn to your word.
I long to know you, to understand life, and to be changed.
Examine me, Lord, by the floodlight of your truth. 

May the words I  read,  

be planted deeply in my mind and heart. 

Help me not to walk away and forget it, 

but to meditate on it and obey it
and so built my life on the rock of your truth. Amen

Saturday 18 June 2022

You in your small corner and I in mine.

Have you ever thought that just as unique is your fingerprint so is your calling as a disciple of Jesus Christ. In 1 Peter 4:10, we read, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.”

Peter also emphasises what to do with whatever gift we have received. We must use it to serve others.  That’s our role. With this declaration Peter is merely echoing the instructions of Jesus to the twelve disciples.  He desires that disciples follow His example and are known for their service (cf. Luke 22:24-27).

Service offered out of love, from this point of view, isn’t just one of many elements of the Christian life; it constitutes it. Jesus is about to go to the cross for his disciples and for us and, at least in Luke’s Gospel, part of the reason is to teach us the nature of true greatness: it is being willing to serve those around us.

I found this surprising quote from Oprah Winfrey, “ I believe there's a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.” 

Perhaps it brings a new context to the hymn quoted earlier in the week, “you in your small corner and I in mine!”

Prayer: Dear God, remind us that greatness rests in service and that leadership resides in care and compassion, for you came not to serve but to be served and to set for us an example of a life lived in and from love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday 17 June 2022

Speaking for Christ

Leviticus 5:1 If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible. 

An example of this can be found in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King when he said, “I am convicted by the Holy Spirit to speak up about racism. It’s a double sin to remain silent for racism is a sin and to not speak up about racism is a sin.”

There comes a time when silence is betrayal. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.  In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends…For evil to succeed, all it needs is for good men to do nothing. 

Silence is agreement, so loving people speak up. Sometimes, it is easier to remain silent, but God has not called us to a path of least resistance. He wants us to speak up under the influence of His Spirit. Even if the words are hard and direct, God’s Spirit can deliver them in a loving manner.

Albert Orsborn voiced this in the verse and refrain of a hymn that said.

O is not the Christ ’midst the crowd of today,
Whose questioning cries do not cease?
And will He not show to the hearts that would know
The things that belong to their peace?
But how shall they hear if the preacher forbear
Or lack in compassionate zeal?
Or how shall hearts move with the Master’s own love,
Without His anointing and seal?

Except I am moved with compassion,
How dwelleth Thy Spirit in me?
In word and in deed
Burning love is my need;
I now know I can find it in Thee.

Albert Orsborn

Thursday 16 June 2022

By their fruits!

Jesus told the crowds, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:15-20)

Jesus is asking that our lives reflect our words; or even replace them. Saint Francis of Assisi told his followers: “Go and spread the good news. Sometimes you may use words.” At a time when there are more prophets and gurus than ever claiming our attention, it is wise to look hard at their lives. Sometimes their behaviour shouts so loud that we cannot hear what they are saying. What is my life saying to those who watch?

Our digital world is awash with instant gurus, guaranteeing all sorts of instant solutions in cleverly scripted soundbites. The next time we encounter one of these ‘false prophets’, it may be wise to look below the attractive surface to examine the fruits rather than the promises.

As we read todays passage we may well ask how does it touch me? Am I given to judging the book by the cover? Do I sometimes use this image to condemn others, as what would one expect from that family or that society or nation?

Might this passage be inviting me to look again at the talents, gifts that I have been given and being grateful for them and asking that I might be able to use them for the good of others?

Jesus frequently asked the people to judge him on his ‘works’.

A Prayer

God of innumerable mercies,

give us the grace to be daily buried in the love of Christ, like the seed that is buried in the earth,

and thereby may we begin to live more abundantly.

With his help, may we learn of that fruitful life

which spent in loving others

can glorify your name throughout the world.

Then may the earth know its Saviour,

who with you in the unity of the Spirit

are loved and worshipped,

world without end.


Wednesday 15 June 2022

Witnessing Today

Many of us approach witnessing to others with trepidation. How exactly do we lead someone to Christ without stumbling over our words, getting rejected, or being persecuted? These thoughts run through our mind, don’t they?

What can we say, what language should we use?

The best answer to such question is honestly, just be yourself. Don’t try to be uber spiritual and use deep, theological words. Share your story and let the person know you care about them. That’s it! 

You will recall how when Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection he said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” I suppose the same could be said when it comes to us witnessing to the gospel.

But notice, that Jesus so often meets the disciples with the greeting of peace, offering them what he sees they need. Jesus does not hurry the disciples on from their doubts and uncertainties but asks them to notice what is going on in their hearts. Perhaps we need to take time to review my heart, confident that Jesus wants only to heal, bless and forgive.

Jesus tells his friends that they are to be his witnesses. He asks that of us too. May we pray to be a faithful witness of the resurrection and of the good news about the forgiveness of sins. Like the Apostles, we can only witness what we have already experienced, and we ask for a heart open to Jesus’ presence in my life.

A Prayer

Lord, you wish me to leave the safety of my private upper room and meet you as you come to me daily in the streets. But first let me be with you in prayer, waiting for the power of your Holy Spirit. Armed with this gift let me go forth to witness to you in word and deed. Amen

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Into all the World

It is true that John Wesley said, “the world is my parish”, and indeed it is suggested that he travelled over 250,000 miles in his life time, but I want to as you a question, what is the size of your world?

When Jesus said go into all the world and preach the gospel he of course was speaking to the whole body of the church present and future. But could there be a twist in his words when we put it in the context of the individual. What if each of us interpreted his command as,  “go into all of your world”; the world of your family, your neighbourhood, the society in which you live and move and have our being. 

In simple terms, earlier in the gospel we find Jesus said, “….let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Light does not change what is in a particular place: but it enables us to see what is in it. It helps us appreciate what is good and beautiful, just as it facilitates avoiding pitfalls. We are children of the light: our lives are illumined by Jesus, the light of the world (John 8:12). This light helps us to see the hidden hope of glory that is in us. So we can rejoice even in the darkness of the world.

Perhaps it is in the way that we reflect the light of Christ that brings true light to any given situation.

What did the hymn of childhood say.

Jesus bids us shine,

With a clear, pure light,

Like a little candle burning in the night;

In this world of darkness, we must shine,

You in your small corner,

And I in mine.

as daylight fills the sky,
fill us with your holy light.
May our lives mirror our love for you
whose wisdom has brought us into being,
and whose care guides us on our way.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. AMEN.

Monday 13 June 2022

You shall be my witnesses

It is one thing to hear the words of Jesus in church or read the text in our hour of devotions, yet it is another to actually witness. Did you notice the certainty of what Jesus is saying you WILL be my witnesses! There’s no doubt about it, for better for worse, any claims that we have to faith in Jesus Christ will result in us witnessing. But what is the quality of our witness.

Paul Chappel writes, “Often our influence in our communities extends to church programs, musicals, or weekly services. While those things can help present the Gospel, God desires for us to personally be influences on the world around us. Spreading the Gospel isn't solely the church's job; it's the job of every Christian.”

T.H. Huxley, a well-known agnostic, was with a group of men at a weekend house party. On Sunday morning, while most of them were preparing to go to church, he approached a man known for his Christian character and said, "Suppose you stay at home and tell my why you are a Christian." The man, knowing he couldn't match wits with Huxley, hesitated. But the agnostic said gently, "I don't want to argue with you. I just want you to tell me simply what this Christ means to you." The man did, and when he finished, there were tears in Huxley's eyes as he said, "I would give my right hand if only I could believe that!"

What an incredible witness it is to a lost and fearful society when the Christian acts like a child of God, living under the loving sovereignty of the Heavenly Father.

Holy God, you have taught us to live in the “in-between” and the “not yet” and we thought we knew how to do that. But the changes around us are happening so quickly, and there is so much confusion in our world that we feel like we have hardly learned at all. We want to go back to “normal.” Help us to learn anew what it is to live in a world that is “on hold.” Help us find small ways to witness to your unfailing love in the midst of our uncertainty. Amen.

Saturday 11 June 2022

A Call to Holiness

Having yesterday looked at Jesus instruction about being perfect, we come up with the question is such perfection even possible within the human psyche. Many Christians spend their days trying to be the perfect Christian. Day in and day out, they put in hard work trying to say and do everything right, all the time. Honestly, it’s exhausting.

While the Bible does call on us to imitate Jesus, the truth is we can never be perfect like Him. Jesus was the only human who ever lived that was able to be sinless, and we will not be able to replicate that.

We all have already sinned – countless times!

Even if we put in every amount of effort and willpower we can muster into perfection, we will always fall short. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So what is the answer?

I read of ones writer who put it this way, “God doesn’t want us to try and be perfect Christians. God wants us to grow our relationship with Him and give our heart to Him. He knows our true intentions and that is all that matters. Be the best Christian you can be, but don’t feel you have to be an angel.”

Yes, the Bible calls us to be "perfect,"  but what exactly does it mean by "perfect"? The Greek word for "perfect" here is telios, which means "brought to its end, completed, or perfect." Ah! So this is not "perfect" in the way we normally interpret "perfection". Instead, it means that we are to be COMPLETE in Christ.

Philippians 1:6 says, "I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Completion is something that only God can do. He made us, saved us, and promises to perfect us. You are in the process of that perfection right now, but we will not be "done" until we reach Heaven. That's all right though. This life is an adventure in all its imperfections. 

Don't worry about appearing perfect to the people around you. That's putting the opinions and approval of man over that of God's. God is the one working with you and through you. He's your Father, your boss, your co-labourer, and your biggest advocate. Aim your heart toward pleasing Him, and you'll be on the right track.

Father as I humble myself to wait upon you this  day, open my eyes through your word to see how perfect you are in all your ways, help me to begin to appreciate the fact that you want me to be perfect in all things and I give you access into my life to pass me through the necessary experiences that I need to go through in order to make me the perfect person you want me to be in Jesus name. Amen

The Call to Holiness

The experience of Christian holiness may finally be defined as one in which our whole being is redirected towards the highest spiritual end—that is, likeness to Christ, and in this we are granted the continual help of the HolySpirit.

When considering  what holiness means for the disciple we  must not make the mistake of supposing that holiness means the eradication of any of our normal human appetites. 

The redirection and control of all to the divine glory—yes; but the elimination of humanity none.

The truth is that no part of me—eye, temper, hand— is in itself evil, though each may be put to an evil end as my will may determine or allow.

The question is are we struggling to become holy in this time of uncertainty, or putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves to become something more than what God is requiring? Are we face to face with our humanity as we figure out what the next few months will look like for us and those we love? Perhaps we should learn how to be patient with ourselves. Remember that every saint who came before us was as human as we are. Remember that we have a Saviour who was human in every way. Phillipians 4:15 tells us that Jesus himself was able to sympathise with our weakness. He was tempted in every way yet did not sin. With our eyes on Jesus, look to the example of every saint who, in loving God, became more human and less sinful. St. Iraneaus said, “The glory of God is a human fully alive.” With this in mind, delight in your humanity as He continues to make you holy.   

Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to comfort us in our weaknesses. You give us strength when we cannot take another step. Guide us into all truth, remind us of your ways, and give us boldness to testify about what you’re doing in our lives. You shape and mould us into a purer reflection of your Son. 

May you guide our steps, our thoughts, and our attitudes as we partner with you in faith, in obedience, and in submission. You are wholly trustworthy, and we praise you that you sparked the flame of faith in our lives and that you keep it going by your power. Pour out your Spirit on us so that we might testify about you to those who need your transforming power in their lives. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Thursday 9 June 2022

The Call to Holiness

Jesus said “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. - Matthew 5:48

The early twentieth century writer, Mildred Duff once described the New Testament as a severe book, and this call to perfection may be regarded as one of the severest of texts. In our common usage perfection implies a state not requiring further improvement. There are no comparative and superlative comparisons of the adjective perfect. Perfection is the final goal of all endeavour, the summit peak beyond which no climber can go. 

Yet the perfection we are called to is to be loving, merciful ‘women and men for others’ as St Ignatius says, rather than upholding any law other than the law of love. Jesus is uncompromising in his insistence that our default position is to love, to respect, to be just.

But there is a strange almost contra effect that stems from this Christy perfection. There are times when the Lord lifts us beyond what we thought possible. He asks us to be perfect: meaning that in our hearts we should bless even those who hate us and wrong us. The love of God can be poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us. Even when we feel far from blessed ourselves, even when we feel there is little we can do for others, we can still give our approval and blessing to those we meet; that will lift them. Now that’s a perfect objective, isn’t it, bringing perfection to a an imperfect situation.

With this in mind, John Wesley wrote,

“Purge me from every sinful blot;

My idols all be cast aside: 

Cleanse me from every evil thought,

From all the filth of self and pride.

The hatred of the carnal mind 

Out of my flesh at once remove:

Give me a tender heart, resigned, 

And pure, and full of faith and love.”

Wednesday 8 June 2022

The Call to Holiness

This was one of the earliest titles given to Jesus and seems to have been a favourite with Peter. It is the name which he used as disciple to confess Jesus as Messiah (John 6: 69, R.S.V.) and which, as apostle, he quoted from Psalm 16: 10 on the day of Pentecost. 'The Holy One' was a title of messianic rank, but we may also take it as a description of character.

In the first place, Jesus makes holiness visible. As the great poet Tennyson claims, “Thou seemest human and divine,  The highest, holiest manhood, thou. In Jesus this holiness is changed from an abstraction into a living example.  In fact the word holiness becomes flesh and dwells among us.

You will recall how Jesus said to his disciples, “Jesus said to his disciples, "No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lamp stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away." Luke 8:16-18

A Prayer

Jesus wants his followers to follow his example to let their light shine so that it can be seen by others. This is not putting on an act. It is living according to the lights we have received. At times this can be challenging. Being laughed at and sometimes being physically persecuted for acting upon our sincerely held beliefs, requires divine help. Jesus, however, has promised to be with us and give us his unfailing help to the end of time. 

Lord, to be a Christian today is challenging. In times of struggle I am tempted to hide my light, to remain anonymous, to be silent out of shame. Lord, when the wick of my lamp flickers and fades, strengthen its beam and let me be again a light-bearer, a beacon of hope to all whom I daily encounter. Amen