Posted on: 3rd June 2019
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
What does that mean? What is God’s kingdom? What would it look like for us at St Wilfrid’s if God’s kingdom and will was done on earth as it is in heaven?
In Matthew 6:25, Jesus tells his hearers, “Do not worry.” I believe that the message of the kingdom of God is the same today. Do not worry. He tells them not to worry about their food, clothes or length of life. He doesn’t just tell them not to worry, he tells them what to do instead… “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”
There are some things in this world I just don’t get. Like sand art. Artists spend hours making elaborate sculptures. I’ve even seen the last supper depicted in sand. Then what happens? A few waves later…gone. We do our best at our house to keep tidy. What happens? Children! As time goes by, things change.
What if there was something that you could build that would last forever? In Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
The challenge for myself (and you if you dare) this week is to consider what I treasure the most. Do my treasures match the Lord’s Prayer? Do the things I treasure cause worry? Will my treasure last forever?
If you are experiencing periods of worry in your life at the moment, my prayer is that God will reveal to you those things that are of His kingdom, things that will last, that will bring you His lasting peace.
Posted on: 9th July 2018
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”
For those of you who are involved in social media, you will know what a ‘Profile Pic’ is. From my experience the profile pic is the best representation a person can give, something that represents the image they wish to portray. For some it is of a great sporting achievement. For others it is of a time with family or friends. Very few profile pictures capture the nitty-gritty, day to day you.
When we read that we are ‘created in the image of God’, let us consider two responses. The first response is denial. If the imperfect me that I see in the mirror is a representation of God’s image then God cannot be God. The apostle Paul realised this too in Romans 6 when he wrote:
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
Paul came to the conclusion that there is part of him that wants to live a life that is the image of God, but there is part of him that is at war with that desire. Have you ever struggled like Paul with a decision or action that you want to do that you have not done?
King David too came to the realisation that he was not a great representation of the image of God. This is what he wrote in Psalms 139:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
The second response to imperfections is meditation. King David spent time with God, searching his heart, thoughts and actions. When was the last time you took a moment to search yourself? Maybe today is your moment.
However you respond this week, be cheered by Paul’s conclusion to the dilemma he described above:
Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Through Jesus we begin to reflect the image of God.
Posted on: 11th June 2018
“ ‘…will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope’ ”
When we’re facing a tough situation, or a hard time in our lives that doesn’t seem to be ending, we can sometimes start to lose hope.
We feel like things will always be this way and that there’s no possibility of anything changing. We may have been praying for years and not seen any change. It can be discouraging.
When we lose our hope, we lose our ability to see beyond our circumstances. We can become consumed by fear, disappointment and resentment that our situation isn’t changing. But God says He ‘will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope’ (Hosea 2 v 15). Achor means trouble. So here God is saying that He’ll turn trouble into hope. And the Bible says that ‘those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint’ (Isaiah 40 v 31).
We have spoken about the Israelites before on their journey to the Promised Land. When the Israelites were in exile, there must have been days when many of them doubted whether they would ever be allowed to return to the Promised Land. They may have even thought that God had abandoned and forgotten about them. But Jeremiah the prophet (one who God talks to about the future) says, ‘They shall come back from the land of the enemy.’ The word ‘shall’ is a definite; that was what was going to happen – and it did. And we can have that same expectancy.
When God promises us something, He’ll always come through. He is faithful and always keeps His promises. He has the power to completely change our situations and turn our trouble into hope.
Posted on: 16th April 2018
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.”
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.
Posted on: 12th March 2018
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
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?