Jesus is Forgiveness


Jesus is Forgiveness

Posted on: 4th March 2019

“Bear with each other, forgive each other, as the Lord has forgiven you.”
Colossians 3:13

During this half term we are considering how we can ‘Love like Jesus’. From reading the gospels, I think it is really clear what Jesus was about. Jesus was love. Sometimes this love was an obvious demonstration. In Matthew 4:23, after Jesus had returned from his testing in the wilderness and called the first disciples, he went throughout Galilee and preached, proclaimed good news and healed all who were sick. And people followed him.

This week we are considering how Jesus is forgiveness. The ultimate display of this is his sacrifice on the cross, for the forgiveness of all. In Colossians 3:13 it says we are to “bear with each other, forgive each other, as the Lord has forgiven you.”

It is a sacrifice to forgive. Forgiveness requires us offering something to someone who has wronged us, that they don’t deserve. So why does Jesus call us to forgive? We find the answer in Matthew 6:14.

In his book ‘Everybody always’, Bob Goff describes a person who he meets who is, “pure evil.” Bob gets the opportunity to meet with this man after his arrest for all the vile things he had done. During this encounter, the prisoner asked Bob to forgive him. Bob describes this as one of the hardest decisions he had ever made. This man had hurt someone Bob loved. If you are looking for an inspirational and motivational book to read, I cannot recommend this book highly enough, along with Bob Goff’s first book, ‘Love does’.

This week starts the period of lent. What are you going to sacrifice over the next 40 days? What is the reason behind your sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice was for the forgiveness of sins.

My prayer is that lent is a season of reflection, sacrifice and forgiveness in your life.

Jesus is Love


Devotional Rwanda

Posted on: 25th Feb 2019

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10

I asked a student today, “What will the temperature in Rwanda be next week?” They knew the forecast and answered in detail. I asked them about Tanzania, but they didn’t know. I already knew about Rwanda, but only for the week to come. Why? Love.

I love that a group from Oswaldtwistle, including member of St Wilfrid’s, are going to Rwanda this week to visit projects with Compassion and meet Jeanette, Olivier, Romeo, Guadence and Joseph. I love it so much that I am interested in the details of the journey, the weather and the things they will be doing. My challenge to you is to ask them about how the trip went. Interest shows love.

When you read the gospels, you will see story after story of Jesus showing love. One of my favourite stories can be found in Luke 19. Zacchaeus was not a liked man. He was a tax collector. He was a Jew who worked for Rome. His only comfort was his wealth. There is a sense that he had come to the realisation that wealth was not enough to save him from himself. An encounter with Jesus, however, that brought salvation.

For Zacchaeus, an encounter with Jesus brought salvation. Jesus changed his life. It cost Zacchaeus financially, but he found salvation.

My prayer is that you experience the love of God in your life as you consider Jesus. I pray that the sacrificial love of God that cost Jesus his life, brings salvation to you today.

Love to Serve


Love to serve

Posted on: 28th Jan 2019

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

When my wife and I got married seventeen years ago, Grandad spoke at the ceremony. As a retired Baptist minister, he had officiated at countless numbers of weddings but it was special that he spoke at ours. One of the readings we had was ‘that old chestnut’ from 1 Corinthians 13. I would love to remember everything he said at our wedding, but unfortunately, the part that I remember most vividly was that he had left the tag on his new tie and would be able to return it after the event (which I know he did not do).

1 Corinthians 13 is a poetic piece of scripture that describes what love is. It is often used as an inspiration to newlyweds as to how they can build a strong marriage:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Last week we looked at ‘Love to Challenge’. Maybe there is no greater challenge than being able to replace the word ‘love’ in that passage, with your name. What would my relationships be like if I was patient and kind? What would it look like if you were not easily angered, were not self-seeking or kept no record of wrongs? What would your community be like if those around you always protected, trusted, hoped for the best and persevered to achieve their best?

It was a privilege to know Grandad, Tasker Rhydwyn Lewis, who went to be with his Lord just a few weeks before his 94th birthday. Part of the tribute paid by his friends and family who celebrated his life commented that he had lived this challenge to all he met. From the family grieving over a loss to the joy of newlyweds. Grandad was love. To love is to serve. As a relay runner runs their leg of the race, there comes a time to pass on the baton.

My prayer this week is that service becomes a part of your race that you come to love.

Love to Challenge


St Wilfrid's C of E Academy - Devotional Blog 2019 - Challenge

Posted on: 21st Jan 2019

but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:3

If you could achieve a world record, what would it be? Do you know what Felix Baumgartner did? Or what David Goggins did 4030 times in 24 hours? Compare this to the achievement of Roger Bannister on May 6th, 1954. All of these challenges required great self-belief and determination. They all faced the challenge of something that hadn’t been done before.

What about you? Will you be the person that the history books will be mentioning? Do you love a challenge enough? Your challenge may not become a world record but I hope you are able to find something this year that causes you to grow to overcome it. For me it is the rubix cube. I have managed to solve the 3×3 grid, the mirror cube and the 2×2. My latest challenge is the wonky cube. I am inspired by those who never thought they could run, only to read stories of them having completed 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, then full marathons. For those who think they won’t be able to do anything like that, maybe 2019 is your year to face a challenge.

The apostle Paul sets a list of achievements that would challenge anyone; from the abilities to communicate and interpret all languages, to the ability to understand all mysteries, or be able to overcome all adversities with faith. However, something is above them all. Love.

In all our challenges and achievements this next year, let us remember that without love, they are worthless. The promise is that love is the greatest motivation and reward we can receive. I pray that you will love to be challenge yourself this year, but I also challenge you, above all, to love.

Love to Pray


St Wilfrid's C of E Academy - Devotional Blog 2019 - Pray

Posted on: 9th January 2019

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
Ephesians 3:16

What would you do if praying made a difference?

We have been meeting weekly in the Chapel to pray, every Tuesday. During this time, we have prayed for the school, for events, for those connected to the school, that there would be a sense of the presence of God in everything we do. Some of our prayers have been for loved ones who are sick. Many of these prayers have been answered. We continue to pray for people and situations that bring discomfort and pain and you are always welcome to come along.

Paul prayed. When you read the letters, he wrote to the churches that were growing after the death and resurrection of Jesus. In Ephesians 3, Paul is writing to the group of believers in Ephesus. Paul had visited this city on his travels and lots of people had believed in Jesus and were choosing to live differently. The difference made by the message of Jesus had caused some to riot and oppose Paul and his companions. The message of Jesus had been accepted by some but was opposed to the way of life of others.

Jesus prayed. Throughout the gospels, Jesus went to be alone with God to pray. He taught his disciples how to pray. In Matthew 18, Jesus promises that when we gather in his name, he will be with us. He also promised that whatever we agree on in his name, will be given. What an amazing promise.

What would you do if praying made a difference? Prayer and meditation is a strong part of all major faiths. It is an opportunity to deepen our beliefs and faith. It can strengthen our inner beings and can make differences in our lives. Whatever your resolutions for the New Year, consider prayer. What if this was the year that you began to ‘Love to Pray’.

Love


St Wilfrid's C of E Devotional - Love

Posted on: 30th April 2018

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
1 John 3:1

The Bible tells us that God is love. So, when we’re in God’s presence, we’re in the presence of love. His love for us is unchanging, never failing, unconditional. We’re told that God lavishes His love on us. ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!’ (1 John 3:1). And His love shapes who we are, and how we act. It helps us to love others, just as we’re called to do. ‘Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love’ (1 John 4:8).

In 1 Corinthians 13, we’re called to ‘love extravagantly’, and that can seem like a big challenge. Some people seem to be hard to love at all, let alone extravagantly. We can feel like we don’t want to go above and beyond in our love for others. We don’t want to make sacrifices and put others first. We struggle to forgive, and we struggle to be patient. We lack grace and gentleness in our relationships. But we’re called to love everyone. And when we experience and begin to understand God’s incredible, unchanging love for us, we can’t help but share that love with others.

When we think about it, God’s love is extravagant. It doesn’t change, no matter what we do. It’s always there. But it goes beyond that. God’s shown us the ultimate act of extravagant love.

This week consider, how do you demonstrate love? Have you ever been impacted by God’s love? What did/does it feel like?

This is Real Love


Blog-this-is-real-love

Posted on: 31st March 2017

“For God so loved the World that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
(John 3:16)

Over the past term we have looked at the accounts and stories of the Old Testament, we have seen different characteristics of God and noticed how the Israelites and the surrounding people responded to certain circumstances and situations depending on their faith. However, we have seen through all the accounts these two themes:

  1. The Israelites faithfulness
  2. God love

Maybe we should take a pause there and just reflect on these two themes, firstly the faithfulness of the Israelites. The Israelites were called somethings in their time and yes, they had their downfalls but one thing remained throughout their story, their faithfulness. No matter the human leader, their priests, their situation, they always returned to looking to God. It wasn’t like it was just one group of people over 100 years either, we are talking about generation after generation seeking God in all they do.

The bible in 1 John 4 v 19 says: We love because God first loved usThe Israelites faithfulness was purely from a place of response to God’s love for them, from the miracles they had seen happen with their predecessors. Even Adam and Eve knew God’s love surrounded them; they were made in love, perfect love, they were made in God’s image (Genesis 1 v 27).

The bible tells us that God is Love (1 John 4 v 8). So, if we are made in image, surely we are also made in love? The bible also tells us thatperfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4 v 18). It tells us that we are more than conquers through Him who loves us (Romans 8 v 37). But most of all, the bible continuously directs us back to one point, that love has won.

God’s love won over death and still has the victory.

This year on Thursday April 12th we will remember the night that Jesus had supper, what we now call communion with his friends, and then he went out to the Garden of Gethsemane with his friends to pray. There, he was betrayed by one of his friends who handed him over to the officials, he was carried away. On the Friday morning, what we now know as Good Friday, Jesus was held in front of romans who handed him over to the Jews. The Romans found no ground to convict him of any crime or even punish him but the Jews jeered that his was claiming to be God and to crucify him. That is what the officials did; they freed a criminal and let Jesus go to the cross. On that day, Jesus was crucified, posed between two criminals, but that’s not where the story ends. See as Jesus breathed his last breath, there was a cry from heaven, the sky turned black and the curtain in the temple was torn (this is where they separated God into a small area in the temple). Some say the ground shook; some say it was a mighty storm, whatever it was the story was not over yet. Next week in our Easter service we will be both morning the dead of Jesus on the cross but celebrating the fact that through God’s love He defeated death. Now that is real love!

God is Love, and His love is very different from human love. God’s love is unconditional, and it’s not based on feelings or emotions. He doesn’t love us because we’re lovable or because we make Him feel good; He loves us because He is love. He created us to have a loving relationship with Him, and He sacrificed His own Son (who also willingly died for us) to restore that relationship.

For God so loved the World that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3 v 16).