Posted on: 13th Jan 2020
“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”
How do you respond when you are asked to do something you do not want to?
The most recent craze to sweep social media has been the 10 year challenge. Users have been encouraged to look through their photos and pitch a recent photo next to one from a decade ago. Then friends and followers get to like or comment about the transformation. I fell into this fad and posted a photo of me and my children (the one’s who were born 10 years ago). It is fair to say that there have been significant changes over this period.
I can think of other crazy fads that have taken place during this last 10 years, non more-so than ‘Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen’ which has been seen 301,177,424 times as I write this (once more I will be honest, for research purposes).
I feel the same confusion sometimes when I read the Bible. They had some strange customs and laws that they had to follow. Can you imagine someone coming up to you in the street, interrupting your plans and demanding you go 1 mile out of your way to carry their things? How would you respond? The common responses would have been to do it (to avoid a beating), but moan and argue about the oppression and unfairness of the system. Jesus uses this strange custom to teach about attitude. This is where we get the phrase “going the extra mile” from.
Challenge – Think about a time when you have had a bad attitude to being asked to do something that you think is unfair, or you that didn’t want to do. What do you think would have been the response if you had offered to, ‘go the extra mile’?
Action this week – Go the extra mile. When you feel like you are asked to do something that you do not want to do, challenge your attitude. Do what you have been asked and go the extra mile.
Remember, if you have any prayer requests, please feel free to pass them on either by email, in person, or by using the QR code on the prayer posters around school.
Posted on: 18th November 2019
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”
“Those who read, succeed!” I would like to suggest that: “Those who listen to someone else read on audiobook can succeed too.” But I would go one step further and suggest that unless you do something with what you have read, you are reducing the amount of success you achieve.
In Matthew 7:24, Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his house on the rock.” What you hear and what you read has the ability to shape and act as a foundation to build a successful life on.
In a book by the British Table Tennis Champion Matthew Syed, he tells the story of his rise to success in the sport. His PE teacher saw him play at the age of eight, and told him he was talented. This leads to a discussion about talent, gifts and training. Matthew was an exceptional player for his age, but he also had an older brother who had played against him in his garage, every night for a few years. Matthew had a desire to play Table Tennis, but he also had practiced more than anyone his own age had. His older brother and a table in the garage were the gifts he had to get ahead, but he had to put in the effort. The book is called ‘Bounce’.
St Paul, writing to the believers in Rome, reminded them of the responsibilities of their faith. He told them that the spiritual gifts they had been given are different, and also he reminded them that it is the grace of God that brings them their gifts. Spiritual gifts are given for a reason, for the good of others. Paul lets them know that they were all part of a body and they had a responsibility to build others up. The challenge for the early believers is the same for us now.
Take time this week to consider the abilities you have developed, that you may have not used for a long time. Is it time for you to go back to these and use them again? The Holy Spirit gives gifts too, for us to use for the good of others. My prayer is that you will take time this week to connect with God and ask him to help you use your gifts to help others.
Posted on: 17th March 2017
“And who knows but that you have come to the royal palace for such a time as this.”
Within Saint Wilfrid’s we have often spoken about patience as one of our pebbles or similarly perseverance in our own situations. The Old Testament person we are looking at this week demonstrates both patience and persevere in ways we could never imagine. Of course, it is the story of Esther.
Several noticeable things within the account of Esther stand out from the rest, for one the book of Esther, found after Nehemiah but before Job, does not even mention God once. Who would have thought, a story in the bible that does not mention God, or Jesus or the Holy Spirit, yet, this is more significant than we could think. For those that believe in God and are a Christian, how often do we walk around saying, “I am doing this because I believe in God,” or “I am doing this because God told me to?” It is more likely that we just do the act because God has placed it on our hearts to do so. In time, people may ask why Christians do what they do, but most of the time it’s the little acts and moments, like in Esther’s story, that we just get on with because of their faith.
However, what can we take away beyond our acts from the story of Esther?
Most important thing to note is God loved the Jewish people. Remember the Jewish people were the people who followed God before Jesus came in the New Testament to take away the sin of the world. Though the Jews were in a time of adversity, they still mattered to God and, He didn’t create Esther’s beauty and finesse for her and her alone. God placed Esther in a royal position to assist in the delivery of his divine plan, to take care of the Jewish people in the land. Mordecai, Esther’s Uncle who adopted her, said, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the royal palace for such a time as this” (Esther 4 v 14).
Esther used both the time and position she had been given to follow God’s plan that was in her heart. So, her story also taught us that God gives us divine moment to alter our circumstances. What circumstances are you in now that you wish to change? Do you let the ‘coincidences’ pass you by or do you take the divine chances you have to make a difference to make a change? Remember altering the course of your life by one degree now will change its direction in a dramatic way one, five, or ten years down the line. Is there a slight correction you could seek God’s help for now in order to make your future better?
Finally, one more thing we can take away from Esther’s story is that Esther’s entire story, although only 10 chapters in the bible, is that it did not happen overnight. Esther’s story took years to unfold, yet she stuck with is and pursued God and her faith first before all else.
We have spoken about Moses who served God for 80 years before God used him to lead a nation. We have mentioned Noah who followed and sought God so fervently he built and ark for him which took ages. We have thought of Samuel who dedicate his entire life to following the call of God and seeing two kings to the throne. While this week we look at the story of Esther, a woman with a heart for God, let us not forget the impact that she also had on a whole nation because she did not deviate from her calling.