Heartbeat – Love Brings Your Spirit to Life


Heartbeat

Posted on: 23rd April 2018

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10

One of the fruits of our spirit as the bible states is love, we read about it in Galatians 5:22-23. Now the fruits of the Spirit are not for ‘show’, they are for sharing with others; otherwise, they’re no better than fruit that was never grown in the first place. Suppose you visit the market with your heart set on buying fresh vegetables. You see home-grown tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and several varieties of peppers – everything you need and more. Just as you start to select your items, the farmer who owns the stand says, ‘Sorry, this produce isn’t for sale. I just like to grow it and enjoy looking at it until it rots. Then I throw it away.’ Can you imagine your reaction? Now you likely haven’t encountered such a bizarre situation, and probably never will. That’s because farmers and customers know that produce is for eating. Sure, when all the colours are on display it’s beautiful to look at, but its God-ordained purpose is to bring nutrition and health to people.

If all we do is go to worship and speak about fruit, analyse fruit, and examine each other’s fruit, we are failing miserably. It’s not enough to have fruit, to have love, we must share that fruit and love with others, so they can be blessed and impacted by the kingdom of God.

In Ephesians 2:10 Paul writes, ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’

This week, don’t only bear fruit in your spirit but let it come to life, so others can see it too.

Wisdom


Devotional Blog - Wisdom

Posted on: 16th April 2018

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.”
James 1:5

When we’re at a crossroads in life, when we’re not sure which way to go or what to do, we’ve got a God who delights in giving us wisdom.

When we’re experiencing a conflict or a problem in our lives, He’s got the answers. He knows what’s best for us. But we can so often find ourselves looking to other things for direction or trying to sort everything out ourselves. The Bible says: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.’ God may use other people to give us His wisdom, but we should still ask God before anyone else. He should be the One we turn to first, whatever we’re facing and whatever we need.

God loves it when we desire His wisdom. We can see this in the story of Solomon. When God asked Solomon what he wanted, Solomon replied that he wanted wisdom and discernment, so he could rule the people effectively. The Bible tells us that ‘the Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this’ (1 Kings 3 v 10). And when we seek God’s wisdom, we not only please Him, but we’re blessed too. ‘Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding’ (Proverbs 3 v 13 NIV).

We can ask God directly for His wisdom through prayer. But we can also find His guidance and wisdom in the Bible. Here we find how God wants us to live, and it’s full of advice and stories of people who’ve experienced things just like we face today. When we take the time to read it every day, we become immersed in His wisdom. So instead of doing things that don’t work, let’s turn to God, and His Word, for wisdom.

Easter


St Wilfrid's C of E Academy - Devotional Blog - Easter

Posted on: 26th March 2018

What do you think of when you think of Easter? Eggs? Holidays? Jesus? The Cross?

For some it is these four things: Forgiven. Family. Freedom. Future.

Why?

Well it’s simple really, each time we read the Bible we have new revelation of who God is, what he has done and why. When we read the Bible bearing in mind we know the Easter story and Jesus, we can’t miss these four things.

Firstly, at Easter time, we remember that Jesus’ agonising death on the cross means that He paid the price for our sinfulness and selfishness. Easter reminds us that we can be FORGIVEN by God – ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.’  (1 John 1 v 9).

And through this loving, sacrificial act, we can become adopted into God’s FAMILY – ‘Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of His household.’ (Ephesians 2 v 19). God is our Father, Jesus our ever-present older-brother, the Holy Spirit our constant helper, and the Church is our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Then, the fact that Jesus defeated death through His resurrection, reminds us that nothing is impossible for God and we can experience FREEDOM from our struggles and suffering. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5 v 1).

In this resurrection is our hope for the FUTURE, that we will one day be with God forever in His perfect new heaven and earth – “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.” (Revelation 21 v 4-6 NIV)

Be encouraged this Easter that when Jesus died on the cross and the plan to rescue eternity was set into motion, God had YOU in mind.

Rollercoaster


St Wilfrid's C of E Academy - Devotional Blog - Rollercoaster

Posted on: 19th March 2018

He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
Hebrews 11:26-27

Life is like a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs. Some people seem to be able to go with it. Taking each dip as it comes yet other people fall apart the very moment something does not go the way they intended it to.

In the Old Testament, we read of a man named Moses, one of the greatest prophets who ever lived. Moses was born during the hard times where the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt and as the population of the Israelites was growing so rapidly the Egyptian king ordered that all new born Israelite boys to be drowned in the Nile River. Moses’ mother saves her son’s life by placing him in the Nile in a reed basket, where he is discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter, who ironically raises Moses in the Royal Palace. As he grows, Moses realises his is part of God’s family and one of the Israelites, he makes a choice and kills an Egyptian who was beating and Israelite slave, therefore must flee Egypt. He does it alone but God shows up in the burning bush and tells him that he must return to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from their slavery. With God’s help, Moses succeeds in his mission, bringing the Israelites to Mount Sinai, where God then appears to Moses to deliver the law and the Ten Commandments. Moses, eventually leads the people of Israel to the edge of their Promised Land ready for the next generation to lead them in.

Moses’ life by far was not smooth, he often had adversities and had to navigate his way around circumstances no one would like to be in. Yet, he persevered. He stayed on track, he didn’t sway his cart to the left or right, he committed to the journey and what a legacy he left. In the new testament it recalls his faith: He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11 v 26-27).

What a guy!

Are you ready for the next bit of your ride? Do you know what your convictions are that are going to keep you on track?

Wow Factor


St Wilfrid's Devotional Blog - Awe and Wonder

Posted on: 12th March 2018

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1

Wow Factor – Awe and Wonder Helps You Connect With Your Spirit

What’s around us can inspire us, enlighten us and empower us. Yet thanks to technology, the media and a greater awareness of the world, we find our first-time, overwhelming experiences of the world to be fewer and fewer.

In the Old Testament, we read of a king called King David. King David started his life as a shepherd boy and a musician and we mainly know him as the young boy who killed Goliath long before becoming king. Over the course of his years, David wrote much of the book in the bible called the Psalms. Each Psalm illustrates a different point in David’s life where he connects with God through his spirit. This verse stands out at the beginning of chapter 19: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19 v 1)

Can you imagine what it is David is thinking about as he proclaims this bold statement? Most theologians believe this chapter was inserted towards the end of David’s life where he reflected on the events over his time on earth.

David knew of God’s awe and wonder and what a magnificent position he must have been in to see each moment throughout his life. When we look outwards and look upwards, we can do the same and connect with our spirit.

This week, consider; why do we sometimes miss moments of awe and wonder? What can we do to realign ourselves so we can see the awe and wonder God has placed in the world?

Trust


St Wilfrid's C of E Academy - Trust

Posted on: 5th March 2018

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”
1 John 4:18

Have you ever found yourself having an internal conversation with yourself over your worries? Sometimes it can become a battle of Trust Vs Worry and worry begins to win with a series of “What if…” type question taking over.

But, here is the thing, worry never works. Worry never hurries answers, worry wastes life, it never solves problems and it dissolves energy and time. Worry falsely gives the feeling of “doing” something, yet, it never does anything.

Therefore, trust is a must!

Trusting in God eradicates fear and in place of fear, God pours out and surrounds us with His love. Like the scripture says, there is no fear in love, perfect love drives out fear.

This week as we think, worry, anticipate our next steps, it is important we remember that trust is a must, and trust in God allows perfect love into our lives.

Compass – Everyone has a Moral Compass


St Wilfrid's Devotional Blog - Compass

Posted on: 26th Feb 2018

“Be very careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”
Ephesians 5:15-16

This week’s theme is about our compass, our moral compass, something that we all have that enables us to gage and react to situations around us. But our moral compass also allows us to set the direction for our life.

From time to time we may twist and turn learning new things about our world around us but as our compass surface area expands, we may question more of how we feel and what we believe.

It’s here where we have the opportunity to make the change. See, if you change your direction by one degree now, in the future you will be facing a whole different direction.

In Ephesians 5 v 15-16 it says: Be Very Careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.

We are thrown so much in life, trouble, love, anger, adoration, but when we get the opportunities to use our moral compass, be careful how you live, wisely making choices and make the most of every opportunity.

Controlled – Our influences make or break us


St Wilfrid's Devotional Blog - Control

Posted on: 19th Feb 2018

“Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?””
John 21:21-22

Sometimes we can look like we have it all together on the outside but inside we are a complete mess and feel totally out of control. Many circumstances and expectations of others can lead us to feel and act like this on a daily basis.

Expectations of others can lead us to feeling overwhelmed and control us to quickly grasp onto any way of keeping our ‘all together’ outside appearance. However, that is when life can spiral out of our control, when others’ expectations and in turn our own expectations, can consume us.

How we respond to these circumstances or influences around us can either make us, or break us. We cannot control what tries to influence us but we can control how we respond.

In the Gospels, we read of Peter, one of Jesus disciples, controlled by his jealousy of his fellow disciple John. Peter constantly compared himself to John and all the things John was getting to do until one day Jesus was speaking life into Peter, calling him out to be the leader he was meant to be and he looked around at John and then asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”

Can you imagine? Jesus, the Son of God who was crucified, died, and then come back from the dead has just given you responsibility, a title, a role for the future you look around and compare yourself to those around you! How often do we do that, always wanting to have one better than the people around us do or at least comparable to those around us, something to brag about.

“What about him?” How many times do we ask, “What about them?”

Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must, just follow me.”

Jesus gently reminds Peter, it does not matter what the others have. This is the unique role God has called Peter to do, he just needs to focus on Jesus and it will all remain in control.

This week, consider whom are you comparing yourself to? Do you let the expectations of others control your life? What can you focus on that means you are not controlled by your surrounding influences?

Patience


Patience

Posted on: 5th February 2018

Isn’t it ironic that the majority of time we ask for patience is when we want it immediately? Even Christian’s pray for patience… and they want God to give it them now!

Think through the past few weeks. Who or what has tested your patience? A teacher who did not understand you? A friend who annoyed you? A brother or sister in an obnoxious mood? A parent’s expectations that seemed unreasonable? A disappointing grade? A broken-down car? Other drivers on the road? Sickness?

Now consider, which of those situations did you have any control over? Probably not many and whilst it’s good to try to control those things you can control, just to simplify your life, the things that test our patience are often out of our control. We just have to live with them and through them, learn patience.

So, now what?

Paul tells us to be “strengthened with all power according to God’s glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11).

Yes, God can give us the power of patience; He can also teach us patience when we ask for it.

Are you patient? Do you need to learn patience? In which areas of your life could you do with a bit more patience?

Focus – your focus frames the world


Focus

Posted on: 29th January 2018

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
Proverbs 4:25

Focusing on the future can be scary, for some thinking about the past can also be a daunting experience. This week’s theme revolves around our focus, like we talked about last week actually framing our world and for some of us it may be easier to think about where our focus is than others but don’t worry, wherever you are at when you are reading this, remember that God has a plan for you, he loves you and wants the best for you (Jeremiah 29v11).

Probably the most famous painting in the world the Mona Lisa (by Leonardo De Vinci) hangs in the Louvre in Paris, France. It is a portrait of a woman called Gherardini and became the topic of conversation due to the women’s expression being indecipherable. Many stories have been suggested as to why her face is painted in such a way, was it her character? Does the image depict how Di Vinci was feeling? Does it show how Di Vinci saw Gherardini?

Whatever the story, Gherardini was the focus of Di Vinci’s painting, ready to be framed.

Your focus frames your world.

If you were to draw an image of what your world looked like now what would you draw? Would it be just as you see it? Would your expression be indecipherable or would you know exactly what you were trying to show? Would you show every unique detail or would your brush stokes make the image fuzzy in some places and blurred in others?

The writer of proverbs reminds us to seek wisdom as our first focus. In fact chapter 4 really goes to town on what we should focus on in verse 25 it says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”

It encourages us not to focus on what is behind, not to look to the left or to the right but to look straight ahead and keep our gaze fixed there.

So where is your focus this week? How does it frame your world?