Posted on: 10th February 2020
“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”
How can we produce good fruit?
How much fruit do you eat? The 5-a-day campaign came from the advice given by the World Health Organisation, that eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables each day reduces risks. That seems like really good advice with potentially life altering benefits. But like we considered last week, good advice only becomes wisdom when it is put into practice. Challenge yourself this week to record your fruit intake. I talked to a student this week who was experiencing a cherry for the first time. Maybe this could be your chance to try something new. ‘Morinda citrifolia’ is the fruit they tried on ‘I’m a celebrity’. It translates as ‘Vomit fruit’…sound nice?
When we consider the words of Jesus, we have to remember that he spoke into a specific time and culture as well as sharing eternal truths. Those hearing his words would have a strong idea of the ‘bad fruit’ that was evident in the religious orders. Jesus openly challenged the religious teachers and used such terms to make clear his opposition to them.
A few weeks ago, we considered Jesus’s instruction of ‘Do not judge’. This week, take time to reflect on your own words, actions and thoughts. Are you bearing good fruit? If there is someone you trust, ask them what they think. If there are areas that you feel are producing bad fruit, take time to confess them to God and ask him to work with you, so that you can produce good fruit in that area.
Posted on: 23rd September 2019
“Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man.”
Where do you go to find wisdom? We have been considering the vision statement for St Wilfrid’s and we will continue to do this in our assemblies and devotionals this half term. We started with considering that acknowledging God and accepting he has a direction for our lives is a great starting place. How can we be sure the direction we follow is from God? There seem to be so many voices out there pulling us in so many different directions.
Luke chapter 2 is a fascinating, brief insight, into the development of Jesus. Very little is recorded of his life from the age of twelve to thirty. But we do read that Jesus’ parents followed the customs and went to Jerusalem every year. I wonder what the response would be now to his parents supervision of him. We read that, “After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.” It goes on to say that, three days later (!!!) they found him sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
Jesus knew that if he got around the right people, he listened and asked questions, he would grow in wisdom. The same applies to us. The challenge this week is to consider, who are you spending your time with? Are you listening to the right voices? Are you asking questions to deepen your understanding?
Posted on: 24th September 2018
“And [Joseph’s] master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favour in his eyes and served him.”
Do you have a favourite Bible story? Is there a character that you admire the most? Are there mistakes a character has made that you feel like screaming at them or taking them one side to have a quiet talk about how they could have gone about it differently?
Joseph’s life can be viewed from a number of perspectives. We have the end of the story so are able to reassure ourselves that everything he went through would eventually be worth it. If you do not know the story, please spend some time reading the following few chapters in Genesis.
But imagine now taking a young lad, with a bright coat, and describing the trial he would face. Imagine telling him he will start in a pit, then a slave line, then in prison for a good part of 20 years. Considering these events, do they support the verse that was used to describe Joseph? Is this the favour he would have hoped for?
Contrast another Bible character. In Luke 2:52 we hear of a young boy, aged twelve, developing in four different areas. The writer of the gospel mentions growth in wisdom, stature, favour with God and favour with others. Little is known of this character’s life until the age of thirty. At this point we begin to see the effects of this favour. Again, our perspective allows us to see that ‘all’s well that ends well’, but this favour with others led Jesus to the cross.
In the lives of both these characters, favour does not go hand-in-hand with ease and comfort.
As we consider respect, whether it is earned or deserved, let us consider how we can show favour to others. The promise in God’s word is that his favour is with you today. What does that mean to you? What would it look like if you were favoured by God? I hope you take time to consider this, even if you find yourself at the moment in situations outside of your control. Consider the promise in 1 John 3:1:
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”
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: 26th Feb 2018
“Be very careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”
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.