Posted on: 16th March 2020
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
What should you do when you are not worrying?
Do things happen for a reason; even the bad things? Is there a definitive answer to that question? This is said to be, “The worst public health crisis of a generation”. “Many will lose loved ones because of the virus.” Can anything good come from this season that we face?
Three months ago, we discussed the themes for the assemblies and devotionals for this half term. For some, this week’s title would be coincidental. For others, it will be a perfectly timed reminder of the perspective that we are called to have when we face situations out of our control.
In John 13, Jesus tells his disciples about the death he is going to face. John 14:1-4 details Jesus’ response to their anxiety:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Whatever situation you face today or over this season, I challenge you to take charge of your hearts response. Don’t let your heart be troubled.
But how can we control our hearts response? Jesus asks his disciples to trust him through it all. Jesus has already healed the sick, calmed the storm, brought dead to life. They had seen his greatness and now they were being encouraged to believe.
Take time this week to remember all the good things God has done for you. Ask yourself how you can “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness”, and believe that no matter what you face, your father in heaven has an eternal future prepared for you already.
Posted on: 27th January 2020
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
How can we take time to personally reflect?
In 2001 we had ‘Pop Idol’, 2004 we had ‘X-Factor’ and 2007 saw the beginning of ‘BGT’. What do these shows have at their heart? Judges. I don’t know which stage of the shows you like the most. For some it is the early auditions in which members of the public have their dreams shattered. Others prefer the final stages where the rough diamonds have been polished, ready for a shot at Christmas number 1. But we cannot hide the fact that part of the entertainment is hearing the judgements of the ‘experts’ on the panel.
Contrast this to the words of Jesus in Matthew 7. Jesus gives a stark warning as to the consequences of judging others. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” I do not want to stand in judgement over those celebrities on the panel, so I challenge myself to consider this week how I would like others to judge me, and reflect this in my judgement of others.
Each summer, my children and I go on WEC camp (check out the website, it’s awesome). They spend the week in tents and are part of a team of young people, often from across the world. As part of the ‘team’ element, tent inspections take place every day. Tents are marked very harshly to the highest standards and a winner is announced. My children love this as it is a competition. I decided that when we returned from camp, we would do random bedroom inspections, giving out points to the same high standard. This was fine, until my children decided that all bedrooms should be part of the competition. As you can imagine, the scores for the parent’s room were not the highest!
Jesus came to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth. He taught about the kingdom and challenged the current thinking and attitudes of the day. Jesus’ words do that to us too. Take time this week to reflect on when you have judged someone else. Ask yourself, “Would I like that same judgement on me?”
Jesus was also full of grace and truth. His words were truth, but they were delivered by grace. This week, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you as you consider the challenge, ‘Do not judge’.
Posted on: 7th October 2019
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”
Whenever I watch a programme that I have recorded on a Sunday evening, my first few minutes of watching is the tail end of a previous show. I see a person with a family heirloom, listening to a professional describing the period of history their item is from. I can see past their fake interest. Just like me, all they want to know is, “What’s it worth?”
During this week we are considering the value we place on others. In 1 John 3:1, we read that God has called us his children. Children and heirs. That is valuable. This implies that we are richly blessed. In Ephesians 1, Paul writes to the church, telling them that they have already received, “Every spiritual blessing through Christ Jesus.” We too are heirs of those spiritual blessings as God’s children.
Jesus tells a story in Matthew 13:44. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
My challenge for us all this week is to consider that there is treasure in everyone we meet. When we spend time talking to others we realise this treasure and are able to help others find their worth. But this process takes time and may cost us. Are you prepared to pay the price to help someone else know what they are worth?
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.