Words for today from 23 March 2020
Monday 23 March In these difficult times, I am reminded of what some have called the code contained in the Bible. When one counts the chapters and verses, the verse in the absolute centre of the Bible is Psalm 118:8, placed there when the books of the Bible were first recorded and before the monks added in the chapters and verses. All 1188 verses would you believe. It reads, "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans". Given the numbers of people ignoring the instruction to maintain social distances of 2 metres, this verse is so relevant.
The real impact of Covid-19 is drawing ever closer to us day-by-day and while we still need to shop for food, we also need to limit the chance of either catching or passing on the virus. If we don't keep our distances and avoid needless trips outside, then we are placing our trust in the humans we come in contact with.
I pray you will take refuge in God as you keep yourself safe. There is work to be done by all of us - PRAY. Our church building may be closed but Christ's Church is open for business as usual. Let's all pray for our friends and neighbours as well as our families and please also remember those who can no longer complain at being stuck at home. May God keep them safe till we are all called home to join them in His good and perfect time. If I may quote Rabbie Burns in closing - But we hae meat and we can eat, Sae let the Lord be Thank it!
Tuesday 24 March I try to make time first thing every to morning to read and ponder a bible passage. I say try because being human means that all too often something distracts me and I end up playing catch up later that day or later in the week. Yesterday the reading was from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 The day of the Lord. In verse 5, it speaks of us being children of light which I find helpful in these dark times. Then in verse 10 it says “ He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Regardless of what happens I pray you can hold onto these verses. May they bring some light and life into your situation and help sustain you through these difficult times. May it please God that we can see forward to the day when we are all called to spend eternity with Jesus and our loved ones. Then in the light of that glorious day to come look to our situation and see that the best is yet to come. Finally the passage ends with these words in verse 11: 'Therefore encourage one another and build each other up'. Should it be that you are among those spending extra time at home perhaps you could take time to call someone. Yours may be the only person they speak to that day so lift their spirits up with a phone call. If you are one of the people still working to provide for our needs I thank you and pray you keep safe and perhaps allow God to speak through you to those you are serving. As for me, when I am in the shops I always try to read the shop assistant’s name badge so that I can say a personal thank you to them. Let us all resolve to do what we can to let our lights shine into these dark times. May God bless and keep you.
Wednesday 25 March How did you get on yesterday, the first day of our lockdown? What are your thoughts about the coming days and weeks? There are so many things that we can imagine and ponder where being afraid is the natural response. Yet the Lord tells his disciples repeatedly "do not be afraid". I came across an author some years ago called Max Lucado, a wonderful author, his books are inspirational and easy to read. He gave a talk on "Why should we fear!" available on Youtube. The talk is based on the account of Jesus sleeping in a boat during a storm from Matthew's gospel. Well worth a listen to, so find 12 minutes to sit and listen as Max and Christ minister to you https://youtu.be/6c1FVpVFb8c Keep safe and keep your friends, neighbours and of course loved ones closer still in the midst of your prayers.
Thursday 26 March A little encouragement can go a long way. We all know the saying but how about joining in on the doing? Thanks to my daughter Carol's encouragement, I am doing something to help the Dunbar Basics Bank. I plan to go a long way too. I am walking a marathon to raise money to help them help those less fortunate than I and some of you. Encouragement is coming in already and yesterday was the first day. Who might you encourage today? Father God, I pray with all my heart that you open the floodgates of heaven and pour out your blessings on all those who are offering encouragement to others whether by calling, texting, on social media, by doing shopping, collecting prescriptions, volunteering in all forms, by being essential workers and all those others whom I may not know but whom you most certainly do. I praise you for all those prayer warriors supporting us as we work through this new normal in our lives. By your grace we will triumph. I praise you for your grace and your mercy. Thank you for being you.
Friday 27 March As I look at my grass, just 100 laps in and already I can see where I have been walking. I know there are a couple of soggy bits so I am expecting it to start getting muddy today. The thought of trying to wade through mud isn't inspiring but then for some folks that might be how they view enforced house arrest - anything but inspiring! I would encourage everyone to think of others before themselves at this time. For some, never getting out is their norm and we will adapt. The biggest challenge facing everyone is supplies and socialising. So let's be inventive.
It was the Greek Philosopher Plato who said "Necessity is the mother of invention" and now is a time where there is a necessity. As we said to our children and grandchildren - put your thinking caps on! Here's a thought. Do you have a mobile phone with unlimited texts and minutes? Calling folks will be free, other than your time. Could you fill your day and fill the hearts of others?
Praise God for unlimited minutes.
Saturday 28 March A week in lockdown is just round the corner. Just last Sunday we were able to meet at church in small numbers for prayer but this week the church is closed.
You will have heard the saying, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going". Well this is where the church needs to get going. To get motivated. It is time for us to rise to the challenge and pray. Pray for each other, pray for the carers and medical staff, pray for the food producers and the staff on the tills in the shops. There are so many people at risk of infection so that we can keep safe. Then this morning in my Bible devotions there was this statement ‘The act of praying is the very highest energy of which the human mind is capable.’ How blessed are we that we can pray. Why not set aside time each day specifically for prayer and release that energy. May God bless you and keep you safe.
Monday 30 March As I lay in bed pondering our situation and it's impact on us all, a phrase came to mind. It is an old Scottish saying popularised by George Washington way back in 1793 - Many a mickle maks a muckle. Perhaps you have heard of it. The interesting thing is he misquoted it. As both mickle and muckle mean the same - lots. His saying was nonsense. What he meant was lots of little amounts, amount to a lot. Very much a truth and that was the meaning folks attributed to the saying.
But in my pondering, I realised George's version is so true in our situation. To God there is no small prayer. He is attentive and listens out for every one. Even as small as "God" or even "Abba" because he knows your heart he knows both the prayer and the heart felt sincerity of it. It is a mickle. Not a Little prayer but a mighty one. He hears the prayers of all of us and together they mak a muckle and what a muckle they make! My prayer is two fold: that you keep praying, whether for yourself, those you know personally or for folks you don't know, AND that God finds your prayer to be in agreement with his heart and is therefore able to say "Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes" KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
Tuesday 31 March There is a lot to be thankful for, which I see more clearly as I watch the sea. It's mood changes all the time and whilst it comes in and out, it is always there, always working away, pounding the beach, to make sand whilst elsewhere it is building up sand to make land, which ultimately becomes sandstone once again. It is moody and can be dangerous but it is never malicious. It has no intent to harm. I believe the same to be true for most of us - who isn't moody at times? Dangerous is perhaps too strong a word for you to consider and if you have never lashed out at anyone either verbally or physically I apologise, but I know I have, on both counts, mostly as a child, seldom as an adult, openly that is - but in my heart, well? Life choices can sometimes be destructive just as they can build up too. And yet when we look at the creator of the seas and the dry land, he killed the fig tree but he built up and restored all who came to him. What is your need at this time? I find great peace watching a quiet sea lap the sandy shore. Christ too offers peace and he laps quietly at the shores of your life. Spend time with him, watch him gently touch your life and grant you peace. May God bless you and keep you regardless of where you are on your life journey. May His son Jesus accompany you in all that is before you and my the Holy Spirit empower you to complete your journey with a calming peaceful and reassuring smile on your face.
Wednesday 1 April You will know the saying "it's a small world". I wonder how true that actually is? It is a big world, 24 thousand miles round the equator. The saying isn't meant to be taken literally. It can relate to how modern transport allows us to travel distances quickly, it can also mean wherever we go we can often bump into people we know. That happened to me on Monday morning. I went to put my car into the garage for a service and MOT. When I came out, I wanted to check something the mechanic said on the internet. As I stood there opposite the manse, the minister drove out and turned into the same garage. Chance, kismet, a small world, you pick how you might describe that. Me, I believe God makes divine appointments for us, most of which, I hasten to add, I miss completely, and I believe this was one such appointment. I would never turn up at the manse door in the midst of this covid-19 pandemic, but by waiting for a few moments, I had a divine appointment there on the footpath complying with all the rules. Perhaps we might ask God to help us make divine appointments when we go shopping or to get our exercise. Even a good morning can help lift the spirits a little bit, even at 2 metres. We may be isolated but we are not alone. God is both with us and at work in our lives. I praise you Father for your faithfulness.
Thursday 2 April My wife Joyce and I were looking at our devotional this morning, it was the story of the last supper. It occurred to us how easily we can react badly to a bad word, dirty look, lack of consideration, yes you get it, it's a big list of triggers. In the passage, Jesus tells everyone that he already know someone is going to betray him. He knows who it is too! Just as he knows when and how we will let ourselves down today and tomorrow too for that matter. HIS reaction is to share a meal with them! Not any meal but the singularly most important meal a Jew can celebrate. Wow!!!!!!!! Our Easter story then goes on to tell us he took even that sin to the grave as we will see as we draw near to Good Friday. For now - what is your worst? Did you literally have Jesus killed purely so you can exercise your free will? No, the bad choices we all make, Jesus chose to take. We didn't Kill Him! The sacrifice was his choice. JUDAS however did kill Christ and still had a seat at the banqueting table. It follows therefore, that you too can still take your place, as can I! You see at Christ's banqueting table "the banner over all of us in Love" pure love.
May the love of Christ and his peace put a smile on your face and a skip in your step.
Friday 3 April A man was out walking his dog along the beach when he came across hundreds of starfish washed up on the tide. As he looked at the sight with sadness, a young lad came up the beach and picked one up. As the man watched in disbelief, the lad went back down to the water’s edge and threw the starfish into the sea before returning to where the rest were. The man said dismissively that the lad was wasting his time. He couldn’t make any difference but the lad just picked up another starfish went back to the water’s edge and threw it into the sea. When he came back up the beach again to looked at the man and said, “I bet it made a difference to that one”. If we focus on what we can't do, or on the big picture, we can sometimes be overwhelmed. If however, we can learn to listen for the still small voice of our Lord, then together we too can make a difference. I can’t do anything to get rid of this pandemic on my own, but that shouldn’t stop US seeing that every close contact we avoid will make a difference. By God’s Grace, may you find contentment as you sit at home, knowing the difference you are making and may you also find yourself with a 2 metre space around you when you need to go out.
Saturday 4 April A man wanting to keep himself safe from the corona virus checked that all he needed was a face mask and gloves. He was told this was the case but to remember and keep 2 metres away from others too. Imagine his shock when he got to the shops and found everyone was also wearing clothes. I am indebted to a minister friend for the above piece of humour. Whilst this has a funny side, it also has a serious side too! People over thinking or under thinking the advice we are getting. A bit like the wee boy who said to his mum, “Can I have a shower or should I just wash my hands as normal?” Or the woman who thought she couldn’t wear make-up any more because we should avoid touching our faces. All these things are based on a truth but the truth has been taken out of context. Our Bibles contain the truth, God’s truth! BUT we need to remember not to take it’s contents out of context! Not being able to participate in bible study with other Christians is to risk getting a passage out of context. Please pray for God to intervene and end Covid-19 then we can get back to worshipping together, praying together and studying our Bibles together. God bless and keep safe.
Monday 6 April Today, on the day after Palm Sunday, if we are following Jesus’s journey we will have seen him clear the tables in the Temple. In John’s account Jesus took the time to make a whip to use. Angry at the way people were profiteering from their Temple activities he acted and demonstrated his anger. Anger is OK as long as WE use IT appropriately. WE should be mindful that Anger never uses us. We should practice being calm in the face of the things that anger us. If we can master this art, and I am the first to admit to being a work in progress, then we should be able to listen and hear the opinions of others calmly, even if we disagree with them. In these , unprecedented times, to quote almost every politician, where we find ourselves in lockdown with family like fish in a bowl or perhaps in isolation when others can get out, stress can give way to anger. I pray you can find that Christ is with you always and that you can find his peace so as to gain a better understanding of where you find yourself. In closing, I pray you are able to keep safe and well this Easter.
Tuesday 7 April Easter, I think is a strange time for some. We each notionally follow the same Easter journey but we each begin at our own starting point and rightly so. But the big question is, 'Do we all end up at the same place?' I just listened to a song on YouTube called “You Say” which is available with the lyrics if that helps you take them in better. The song is by Lauren Daigle which you can find with this link: https://youtu.be/oZvKJl1kK8g As I reflect on what may have been on Jesus’s mind, I realise that for some people their opinion of themselves is a barrier, when it is what God's opinion is that matters. Hence, the title of the song "You Say". May you come to know the true extent of "God's love for you" this Easter.
Wednesday 8 April The observant ones amongst you will see that there is nothing in particular in the Easter Passages about what Christ did on the Wednesday. With so much crammed into just a week that might be a surprise but it may not. The Jewish Sabbath is the Saturday, that was why the body of Jesus had to be placed in the tomb before sundown on Friday evening, the start of the Sabbath. That was when Jesus had to work the hardest was it not. HE took on the sins of each person he loves, all of us, and took them to the grave! Ever wondered how he was able to rid himself of your sin? That must have been some battle! It would have been for mine! Only after he did rid himself could the Father in Heaven once more look on Him and raise him to life eternal. So on the Sabbath Jesus was working hard for you! It then makes sense that he took his Sabbath in advance to spend time in Prayer with his Father, resting in his pure unconditional love and preparing himself for what was to come. If you can't take a Sabbath on a Sunday please fit it into your week, even God did as it is recorded in the story of creation. If God needs a Sabbath so do we!
Thursday 9 April Today is Maundy Thursday, the day that our Queen traditionally gives money to selected people – Maundy Money. It is a tradition started by Charles II but it masks a deeper reason for the day. Maundy is from the Latin for Command. It is the same root as the word mandate! And that was the instruction of Jesus to his Disciples, an instruction, a mandate, a command extended down through the generations for each of us who call ourselves disciples of Christ. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, each time we eat the bread or drink the wine we comply with that command.
Friday 10 April Are you one of the many people who can't understand why killing anyone, especially the most caring gentle man to walk the face of this planet is "Good" ? You are not alone, but Friday is not good because Jesus died! It is good because we get to live and to live eternally. When Jesus chose not to offer a defence, he was choosing to rescue you from eternal damnation, the price of your sinful life! He chose you and he chose to pay for your sins. Done and dusted! You can't say no and take them back! All you can do, all we can do, all I can do, is say thank you to him and seek his help, which is freely offered, to change our sinful ways. Praise God that Jesus chose the cross for each of us. Praise God that we get a free restart and choose life, in all it's fullness. Thank you Jesus. The Romans were experts at Crucifixion. Once you were dead, you were dead and yet the Jewish authorities worried Jesus might come back to life again. His body might be stolen by the disciples so they wanted a guard put on the tomb. The soldiers that were put on guard, knew that they too could be killed if anything happened to the tomb or the body of Jesus.
Saturday 11 April For Jesus’ followers something unimaginable had happened, he was dead and gone. They were just gone! Their hopes dashed. What was the point of anything now, might justifiably have crossed their minds. How could they rebuild their lives now? Once again something unimaginable has happened! With Covid-19 we have a not too dissimilar social situation. For many of us our loved ones have died, whether or not because of Covid-19. The loved ones left behind are gone. Unable to go to the funeral except for a small few. For many self employed it is a case of “what now?” Many have lost everything, savings or businesses that have taken lifetimes to build – gone! What do we do now? Covid-19 has turned our lives upside down and inside out but thanks to the Bible we can see that we will survive! We will get through this! If we look to Christ and to tomorrow we will see a new day dawn but if we look to yesterday we will only see that the day came to an end. The former lets you see Jesus is alive and he has paid it all for us to be able to share eternity with those we love. I pray you are able to celebrate the SON rise this Easter. God bless
“For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son” Much more than words. If you can please listen to this song from youtube https://youtu.be/E7i6c54KEfc
Monday 13 April A friend once said to me he always checked the obituaries in the paper to make sure he hadn't died and missed it. I wonder how many of Jesus' followers woke up that first Monday morning and wondered if it was a dream? Jesus was to be the saviour of the Jewish people, he was then killed and he is alive again - it has to be a dream, but then they and we realise it isn't a dream. It is real! It can only be an indication of the power of God - that nothing is beyond his ability. Whatever you may be struggling with it isn't beyond God's ability to fix! He may not fix it "your way" and he may not fix it "now" but in his good time he will work, if we only place our trust in him and let him. He may fix your problem but it could easily be you that he fixes. Father God have your way in us, you know what difficulties we face and we place our trust in your solution. Help me to know what I need to do now. Amen
Tuesday 14 April For those of us who do not have a computer, or smart phone for that matter, the world of Google will be as alien as the concept of faith. Until we can start using, it we don't know the benefit nor the extent of the benefit that we might find. This will sound totally disjointed but here goes. When I was first given a taste of coffee at the age of about 8 years old. The taste was disgusting! My dad said try it with some sugar in it and sure enough it was much nicer. FAITH IN ACTION! My belief in my dad, was the catalyst allowing me to try again. So it is with matters of faith. When we see God in action, surely it should be the catalyst allowing us to have faith on the next occasion. That said, with God, on seeing him answer prayer again and again, we no longer rely on faith to ask the next time but rather belief. That is when the power comes into our prayers. Jesus said if we have faith as a mustard seed, we could call the mountains to be cast into the sea and they will be! Father open our eyes that we might change our faith into belief in you. Amen.
Wednesday 15 April I recently listened to a wise man of God warn us about the words we use and in particular the number of words. He was making a comparison between long winded speakers and those who say few words but what they say comes from a quiet contemplative space spent with God. In these times of isolation I pray we can all find more time to spend with God and develop our internal quiet space from which we can bring forth words of great wisdom and encouragement. I also pray I never hear anyone say to me "say amen Fred". God bless and keep safe.
Thursday 16 April While reflecting on the cross, as we do at this time of year, it occurred to me that, given that God sent his son to die for you because he loves you, you are without question, lovable! Next time you see your reflection please remind yourself of how lovable you are. That may be a challenge, but how about the person you are loosing the rag with? Let us remind ourselves that our Lord went to the cross for them too. So let's try to be respectful with ourselves and others.
Friday 17 April I wonder, have you recently looked at the face of a newborn baby? I mean really looked, beyond the wrinkles, beyond the superficial, to really see the child? If you have, I feel sure you will understand what I would describe as a sense of awe and wonderment, a sense that rises up from deep within us. I have been privileged to experience these feelings on 8 occasions with my own children and grandchildren. It was just as I experienced them again on Wednesday this week, that I became aware of what must be a glimpse of Heaven. Let me explain, God in Heaven has looked at you as a baby and experienced these same feelings. He looks at you now perhaps disappointed in some of our life choices but I have no doubt the same feelings still well up deep in his heart as he looks at you. You can decrease his disappointment by making better life choices but you can never decrease his love for you. The love he has had for you since the very beginning. Seek out a hug from God today.
Saturday 18 April How do you say you appreciate someone? The old adage was, say it with flowers or there was the Milk Tray advert. It becomes more difficult to show exactly how you feel over the phone, even with Facetime, or the other brands that are available, the view is often distorted or stuttered. The ones we love most are getting much of our time, and rightly so but please remember to tell the rest of your friends you are still thinking of them too. Sending a hug over the phone will put a smile on most peoples lips too. So smile, someone cares about you enough to type this for you to read. Here comes a hug too.
Monday 20 April Do you remember as a child the toot toot toot or the peep peep that told your mum that the butcher or grocer's van had arrived? Those were the days! Wait a minute, the only thing that has changed in all those years is now we have covid-19 and the butchers and supermarkets sending round vans with the things we need. Life has evolved since I was a child and will again. Exciting times ahead then as history goes round again. What do you remember of your childhood days?
Tuesday 21 April I don't know if you have porridge for your breakfast or not but that is what I am having. Porridge I find can keep me going for hours before I begin to feel hungry again. But I wondered how were the oats prepared for me - crushed between two rollers all but to the point of destruction. The grains only just discernible and yet for those of us who choose them most sustaining. Have you ever thought of Christ that way? Flogged till only just discernible as a human being, crushed under the weight of his cross too. And yet those of us who would have him he will sustain day by day until we meet him face to face. Enjoy a good breakfast.
Wednesday 22 April I came across this on social media and thought it is very apt. A WOMAN was flying from Melbourne to Brisbane. Unexpectedly, the plane was diverted to Sydney.
The flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft the plane would re-board in 50 minutes. Everybody got off the plane except one lady who was blind. A man had noticed her as he walked by and could tell the lady was blind because her Seeing Eye Dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of her throughout the entire flight. He could also tell she had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached her, and calling her by name, said, 'Kathy, we are in Sydney for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?' The blind lady replied, 'No thanks, but maybe Max would Like to stretch his legs.' Picture this: All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with a Seeing Eye dog! The pilot was even wearing sunglasses. People scattered. They not only tried to change planes, but they were trying to change airlines!
True story. Have a great day and remember. THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS AS THEY APPEAR. A DAY WITHOUT LAUGHTER IS A DAY WASTED!!! I pray you have a great day knowing the unseen God who sees it all, is on your case.
Thursday 23 April As a minister it is amazing how many people give me little calendars or books with a word for the day. I think they are lovely and very thoughtful as well as thought provoking. Sadly, there are so many I couldn’t read them all every day. I dipped into one this morning and 1 John 3:2 was quoted: - We know that when Christ comes, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. What a transformation, the one who sees us as we truly are, warts and all! He will not only forgive us when we say sorry he will also change us to be like him. Not just a fresh start but a Best start! Now surely that puts a smile in your face, Hallelujah.
Friday 24 April
My thanks to Gloria and William Gaither for the words from “Because he lives”
God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my saviour lives
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives
This whole song is worth a listen. I pray it lifts your spirit as it has mine. www.youtube.com/watch?v=pArSYcng438
Saturday 25 April I saw a cartoon recently which I want to share with you, with the help of your imagination that is! Picture the inside of a church with a choir in the sanctuary and the minister at the lectern. The hard part is that the choir are represented by spanners with white gowns on and the minister is a socket wrench. The song they are singing is Amazing grace; - Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saves a “wrench” like me. I thought what a good illustration of many churches: - The minister is meant to turn every nut, regardless of size, whilst the choir are a part of the Lord’s toolkit. Which tool are you? I want to be the chisel the Lord uses to make something beautiful.
Monday 27 April Psalm 32:1 says: - Happy is the person whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned. Why is it then that we are encouraged to pray daily to our Father in Heaven “Forgive us our debts”? One of my daily readings has the answer! It says this: - ”If one of my children violate my standards or disobey a rule, I don’t disown them...... But I do expect them to be honest and apologise. Until they do, our relationship suffers. The same happens in our walk with God. Confession does not create relationship with God it simply nourishes it.” When we recite out “ABC’s” glibly, perhaps to see how fast we can get our tongue round the letters, we are in danger of missing the incredible reality of what we recite! Without letters we could not communicate the depth of despair, the tenderness of love or the heart lifting realisation of hope. Let us all look for the love and hope in the Lord’s Prayer as we recite it – not to see how fast we can say it but rather to nurture our relationship with our God.
Tuesday 28 April The other day I was heading along the cliff top path from the harbour towards Belhaven Bay and I couldn’t see a thing!The Bass Rock had gone, Fife had gone and there was no sign of Berwick Law. As I was going along the path, I was very aware of my relationship with God. I can’t see him, but I know he is always there, he loves me and all he wants in return is for me to love him.I was reminded again of this yesterday, when I read 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 8: ‘Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end results of your faith, the salvation of your souls’. Today, I am going to take time to thank my Heavenly Father for always being there, no matter what the circumstances. P.S. You will be pleased to know that the Bass Rock, Fife and Berwick Law are now back in their rightful place.
Wednesday 29 April There is a popular reading used at weddings from 1 Corinthians which speaks of Faith, Hope and Love.
The picture is from our telly and whilst it only speaks of Love it is so apt at this time.
LOVE always protects, that is why we are social distancing - to protect others.
Love always trusts - try to allow God to protect our loved ones after all they are His children.
Love always hopes - may your faith always give you Hope.
Love always perseveres - that is why we will do the same again tomorrow - to keep folks safe.
May you feel the Love of God as never before during this difficult time.
Thursday 30 April As I sit here looking at Whatsap and pictures of my grandchildren, I realise just how much I am missing them. I know I am not the only one. I know a father who only sees some of his children whilst the rest want nothing to do with him. He gets the blame for everything that is going wrong in their lives. But the coolest thing is he isn't phased by their attitude and he still loves them enough to move mountains for them. I hope you know him too, his name is Yahweh and he built a bridge to span the longest of chasms between himself and each of his children. The bridge is Jesus. Reach out and say hi, he is longing for your call.
Friday 1 May If you put a thin layer of sugar in a non stick pan on a low heat (nothing else but the sugar) it will slowly melt and start to go brown. Don't stir it and don't use too high a heat. Take it off the heat when it is the colour of golden syrup. Have a baking tray pre-buttered ready.Once the sugar has melted. Mix in half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and pour onto the baking tray to cool. It will puff up quite a lot so don't panic. The result is cinder toffee. When you add the bicarbonate of soda and it froths up like lava from a volcano, just think of what God saw as he made the world's volcanoes erupt for the first time. No wonder the Bible tells us, he looked and saw that it was good. I pray you too can look and see that it is good. God bless.
Saturday 2 May Psalm 24, not so well known as psalm 23, had me reflecting on this verse:- "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it". Would this not make us possessions? NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! Christ came to set the captives free and as we were captive to our sinful nature, it is we whom he set free! Live a free life, it cost you nothing. Live a life of real freedom, not tied down and held back by your past. I chose to give my life to my Lord, as it is the most precious thing I have. Since then He has looked after it better than I ever did. I pray you to can say this too. God bless you.
Monday 4 May In the poem Auguries of Innocence by William Blake, the first 4 lines read:
"To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour".
I believe the author wants us to dream about what that would be like. I find my mind can't quite dream that big and yet give me the Gospel of John chapter 1 verse 1 and I am away with reality suspended as I read these words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness". Just realising that this isn't poetry for poetry's sake but rather John's paraphrase of Genesis 1:1.
This is the beginning of God's love letter to me, and of course to you too. God saw the universe in his minds eye and made it all happen. He holds infinity in the palm of his hand and he holds you in the centre of his heart. Try and find some quiet time and begin reading John's Gospel again but this time as a page from his love letter to you.
Tuesday 5 May A fisherman goes out to sea in his boat. Much of the time things go well. Unfortunately from time to time he snags his nets and they become damaged or sometimes lost completely. Such are the risks of fishing. There are snags out there waiting to damage us too. Unrepentant sin being a common snagging point. I pray you have the courage to truly repent. When you do, Jesus removes the snagging point. He clears a way for us. May you always find clear sailing with no snagged nets.
Wednesday 6 May The novelist, Barbara Kingsolver wrote the following and I am indebted to a friend for the quote. "No matter what kind of night you're having, morning always wins."
Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs in Heaven I need say no more than ask you hang on in there, knowing that the dark night of our present circumstance will pass and that once more morning will win.
Thursday 7 May I came across this video whilst looking for a different song on YouTube. Immediately it started, I realised a simple truth I had to share. Your Acts of Random Kindness (Arks) are so powerful. Whether they are practical Arks or prayer Arks they light up heaven because you shine like Christ in this dark world. It is just like the artist in the video lights up her room. Please take time to watch the video and ponder whom and whose you are. https://youtu.be/inb8MMZ-QmA
Friday 8 May James 1:17 New International Version (NIV) "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows". When I read this, I think of many things one of which is food. So I thought, why not make Friday a day where the Word for the day is about food? For that reason here are some economical ideas for when you want something different but don't want to nip to the shops. 1. Easy ice cream - when you have double cream at its use-by-date it can he handy to have a tin of sweetened condensed milk in the larder. Whisk the cream to soft ribbon (the point when the whisk marks first when you stop whisking). Mix in the condensed milk and the flavouring of choice and freeze. If you can only get caramel condensed milk make caramel ice cream. 2 Fine sliced carrots, spring onions, ginger and garlic sweated off in a little oil and chilly to taste, makes the perfect sauce to go with home made Chinese. You finish it off with golden syrup and a little water and pour over your protein of choice be it beef, chicken, prawns, toffu etc. Enjoy, but beware the high sugar content of both of these if you have diabetes.
Saturday 9 May John 16:24 "Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full".
What a promise!
What a profound possibility!
What an opportunity!
What a leap of faith!
Even 1 in a 100 requests being answered would be awesome. Who is up for a few NOs? Have a great weekend.
Monday 11 May Where we live I can see the Radio Station on the top of the hill behind Innerwick, on a good day that is! But if there is low cloud, it can be completely obscured, which reminds me of the many days when I was up there, when I was working for BT, and it was Dunbar that was lost in the mist, as it appeared to our perspective from up there. When we are going through difficult times, life can appear to become a bit of a fog. If that is where you are please don’t lose heart. I pray you are able to reach out in prayer for God’s help and guidance until the fog lifts once more. You see, when we think God is hidden from us, it’s that perspective again. From God's point of view we are never hidden from him. When our perspective changes we will be able to see he is there once more. If you have ever experienced being out in a heavy fog it is amazing how loud or how close sounds can appear. It is the same when we can't see God, he hears us all the louder and clearer. God bless and may the Son shine on you when your sky’s are dark, foggy or cloudy.
Tuesday 12 May 2 Timothy is a warning to the people of Ephesus, of people gathering teachers who “say what their ears want to hear”. Paul’s intention was to warn the early Christians to stay faithful to the teaching of Christ. I find that this advice is still as relevant today! Having listened to Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnston on Sunday, I was annoyed that the media on Monday were more interested in getting sound bites to score points against the Prime Minister. A situation not helped by misquotes and spin from the reporters and presenters. I pray you keep safe, by following the advice of the government. Here in Scotland that means Stay at Home as it always has been! Unless it is for shopping, collecting medication, essential travel to work as a key worker, or for exercise. Streets will be busier as we are now allowed to exercise more often so keeping safe is more important now. I pray you can follow Paul’s advice to Timothy and the Christians in Ephesus - avoid false advice. Keep safe and God bless
Wednesday 13 May Appearances can be deceiving or so the expression goes. Blue skies yesterday belied the low temperatures in the morning. By late afternoon it looked exactly the same and yet it was a lot warmer. The tough times we find ourselves in can also be deceiving too. Many people have been shielded or in isolation for weeks, months now actually, but please know the love folks have for you hasn't diminished! I know from my own experience that folks are on my heart more now than they were before Covid - 19. Even if you have no friends or family, no carers or visitors, I hope you can take some hope from one of the Lords promises, one I hold very dear and very close to my heart. This reading states the promise even before Jesus was born. Deuteronomy 31:6 New International Version "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.". How cool is that, being able to speak to the Lord who is sitting next to you, listening intently even as you read this. Appearances can be deceiving - we will get through this. God bless.
Thursday 14 May "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see". Hebrews 11:1a. What an interesting verse to focus on today. I feel sure we each have many things that we hope for. But is the hope backed up with expectation of being realised? I pray your hopes are based on a strong expectation. Better still a strong anticipation. I "hope" - that we will soon be over this pandemic. My hope is built on God's ability to use bad things for the good of those who love him and my anticipation is, that I am assured of my place in Heaven by my Lord and there will be no pandemic there! I therefore have faith that in God's timing this too shall pass! I do not know what your "hopes" are, but I pray you can find a new faith that is confidence in what you hope for and assurance about what you do not see too. 1 Peter 5:7 encourages us to "Cast all your anxiety on him (God) because he cares for you".
Friday 15 May I plan to continue what has become a bit of a tradition, to have a food related 'Word for the day' on Fridays. I welcome your inspiring input so, if you have a story or a recipe and you would like to share, please e-mail me. My details are listed in the contacts section. My wife and I often enjoy a salmon steak with Couscous. Some find Couscous tasteless but it is an easy to prepare source of carbohydrate that is so easy to flavour well. For the salmon, we simply season it with salt and pepper, a small drizzle of lemon juice and pop it into the oven, wrapped in foil for 20 minutes at 200 c. You can adjust the cooking time to get it the way you like it. If you don’t oil the foil before cooking, the skin, if it was still on, will slide off when you dish up. For two portions you will need a tea cup of Couscous, a good teaspoon of vegetable stock powder, 2 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger, chopped olives, either black or green to taste chopped to about 5 mm in size, chopped raisins, as with the olives to approx. 5 mm, chopped dried apricots can be used if you wish, 2 good teaspoons of Cumin powder 1 tablespoon of either lemon or lime juice. You can also add fresh chopped coriander if you wish. Approximately 6 minutes before the salmon is ready, add 1 ½ teacups of boiling water, for two portions, to the couscous and all the other ingredients and stir it all thoroughly to mix the stock powder through. Let it soak up the water for about a minute and then add seasoning to taste stirring it through immediately and let it sit once more until the salmon is ready. The water will convert the hard wheat into the flavoursome meal it was always meant to be. Couscous reminds me of life: - it is made by crushing wheat just as life can have a crushing effect on us. However when we add the other ingredients it is transformed, just as our experience of life can be, when we add in the love of Christ, the fellowship we can find in church, the opportunity to serve others and the knowledge that Christ’s love is even bigger than we first thought. Then the water reminds me of the Holy Spirit converting us into the strong Christians we were always meant to be. Enjoy.
Saturday 16 May One of my many inspirational daily readings I have been looking at in 1 Corinthians tell us in Chapter 3 verse 9 that we are God’s workers, working together. The text with it points us to 2 Corinthians chapter 6 (NIV) 1. "As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation". The text then tries to help us see that we do not work for God but rather God wants us to work with him! Co -workers with God. Add to that the suggestion that this is the time of God’s favour, it is time to be bold and seek his help to fortify ourselves for the challenges of this pandemic. May God be gracious to you, pour out his blessings upon you and carry you into the new tomorrow he has planned for you.
Monday 18 May "Ideals are like the stars: we never reach them, but like the mariners of the sea, we chart our course by them". (Carl Schurz) Most of us live our lives charting our course via road signs, travelling by car as we so often do. But when I was learning to drive, my dad taught me not to look to closely in front of me otherwise I would be constantly twitching the steering wheel, left then right. He advised, I look farther away and sure enough, I compensated far more gently and stayed on course for a smoother journey. One still has to keep looking close enough to follow the bends in the road however. I pray your ideals are close enough, not to be unattainable lest they cause despair, or you become lost on your journey, but also far enough away to give a good sense of direction and a smooth journey ahead.
Tuesday 19 May Have you heard the saying, "I can resist all things except temptation"? Temptation in biblical terms usually relates to being drawn towards doing the wrong thing. Ephesians 6 suggests we "Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Just as we can all be tempted, we can all follow the advice in Ephesians 6. We just need to look up the verse and follow the instructions.
Wednesday 20 May Faith says that no matter what lies ahead in life, relax, God is already there waiting for you. We just need to move forward to meet him there.
Thursday 21 May As I type this on Monday morning the weather is a bit dull. If you are feeling a bit dull yourself, can I ask you to remember the words of God: "He said he would never leave you or forsake you" not just once either! A Google check shows he said it no less than 14 times. He must have wanted you to know he wants to spend the day with you! If you are stuck for something to say or do, just ask him to tell you some love stories. May your heart shine as the Son! God bless.
Friday 22 May Have you ever had the last of the Cornflakes start to go soft on you? I take them and pop then into a food processor and turn them into crumbs. I can't call them bread crumbs given that they are Corn flakes but you know what I mean. I then cut chicken into small strips and coat them in egg and then my Cornflake crumb. If you like a bit of spice, mix a sachet of Mexican Fajeta spice in with the crumb first. Cook at 200c for about 15 minutes. It depends on the size of your chicken strips! Serve with skinny chips and Mackydees is open in your own home. Now for the cool part. God can take the leftovers of our lives and rework them. He adds in a bit of spice and blessing to make something so cool. Why not treat yourself, let him loose in the kitchen of your life. God bless and enjoy the chicken. If you don't eat chicken or meet in general, try veggie sticks instead. Coat the veggies in an egg and a little flour to help it stick then the crumb.
Saturday 23 May I received a motivational picture from my sister today and thought I might share the words with you: -
Accept what is, let go of what was, have faith for what will be. What wonderful words for this time. We can't change lock-down, so acceptance is essential for our mental and physical health. The past has already shaped our lives, for good or bad. Why would we choose to carry it as a mill stone? Faith, so important all the time but more so at present. This too will pass! Meantime we can pray it passes faster. Keep safe.
Monday 25 May A boy was enjoying a trip to the coffee shop with his dad and when it was time to pay the bill the boy asked his dad to explain why he was giving the waitress 15% when he only gives God 10%. If God is seeing you fed and housed during this pandemic, can I ask if God is getting a tip from you for his service? That, after all is how he provides for our local charities. He gives us that little bit extra to give away. Can you out-give God?
Tuesday 26 May At this time when folks can't attend the funerals of friends and loved ones, I would like to turn your mind to one of the more popular funeral hymns. ABIDE WITH ME. Three words, three powerful words. Together, they form a sort of prayer sung by so many often without knowing the implications. To abide means to live with, to dwell, to be with. There is an implied 'if not explicit' closeness here. Effectively these three words invite Jesus to be close to whoever the ME is. Why not begin your day with these three words. Not a big ask on us. Yet at the same time a huge request. Jesus has already said he will never leave us but that isn't the same as asking him to stay. Abide with me......please.
Wednesday 27 May As my granddaughter often said, as she 'went shopping' by going out one sitting room door and returning by the other - "I'm back". I am grateful for the picture and pray you know these statements to be real and personal. God sent his son for you out of a deep deep love for you.
Thursday 28 May As this lock down begins to ease and we hope it is a permanent easing, I pray you are not having to continue shielding. If you are finding things particularly difficult at the moment, perhaps the words of this video will offer some comfort, as will the final words that appear on the screen. https://youtu.be/59bhuWvW7bk 'You are important and you matter, Your feelings matter, Your voice matters, Your story matters, Your life matters, ALWAYS'
Friday 29 May Today I have another recipe for you. It is a good one for working on your angst and it is a good one for children to give a hand with as there is no cooking other than boiling a potato.
- 1 potato boiled, no salt in the water. Once cold peel and then mash.
- Slowly add icing sugar mixing it in as you go until the mixture becomes a liquid.
- Add 500 gms of desiccated coconut
- As the coconut will soak up loads of liquid, add half a cup of water and allow to stand for an hour.
- If the coconut is still firm, add a little more water and allow it to soak again.
- Add more icing sugar until it is firm enough to roll out and cut.
- Space the pieces out on non-stick baking paper.
- Allow to stand for a couple of hours until the top starts to dry out and firm up.
- Turn over and allow that side to dry out too
- Coat in chocolate (optional).
Saturday 30 May Many of us at the Parish church use UCB 'Word for Today' to help us read parts of the Bible, each day. Yesterday's verse was from the Book of James chapter 1 verse 2.
"When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy". NLT. The notes that go with this verse suggest that when we face difficulties we go through three phrases - disappointment - what we had planned can no longer happen, we can no longer meet people we had arranged to see; discouragement - we begin to realise that things will change and life will not be the same ; despair - we feel powerless and can't see an end in sight.We think there is only one good outcome - the one we want! Instead we need to trust our Heavenly Father. He knows the bigger picture and if we trust him our faith will grow. Amazingly these notes were written by Bob Gass who died in 2019. His vision was to help people understand the Bible better. He had no idea that on the 29 May 2020, the world would be in the midst of a major health crisis. Have you read the Bible? Why not start today? If you would like to find out more about UCB go to www.ucb.co.uk/wordforyou
Monday 1 June This modern poster, shown above, merely reflects the words below. Both are based on the 23rd Psalm which was written 1000 BC or 3000 years ago. I pray you are blessed by it.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever
Tuesday 2 June COFFEE ! CHRIST OFFERS FORGIVENESS FOR EVERYONE EVERYWHERE. Do you have time for a COFFEE break? Can you afford not to?
Wednesday 3 June When I think of the idea of natural selection I can't conceive that what you can see in this video is random chance. When you watch it give a thought to the possibility that the Bible is telling the truth and that God knows you more intimately than the video can do justice. He LOVES you too!
Thursday 4 June 'Always end the day with a positive thought, no matter how hard things were, tomorrow's an opportunity to make things better.' What better thought than the love God has for you! I pray you find the opportunity to spend quality time with him.
Friday 5 June There is something about a BBQ that brings happy memories to mind. Food sizzling on the hot coals, friends gathered round enjoying the company. Probably high on the wish list of a lot of folks at this time and yet it would have been the normal way of cooking food for Jesus on his travels. One of my favourite BBQ foods is home-made burgers. I like to take lean mince, finely chopped onion, a good amount of very finely chopped parsley, home-made multigrain bread breadcrumbs and mix them all together. The combination of a quality mince, the added flavours of the bread crumbs and parsley give a very tasty burger that absorbs the full flavour of the meat. Perhaps if you choose to try them, you might think of Jesus sleeping under the stars having had supper cooked on the open fire just like yourself.
Saturday 6 June This is a wonderful and enlightened quotation to mull over: - Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr. Love God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength. Love yourself and your neighbour the same and we will be on the right path.
Monday 8 June I pray your situation isn't too hard for you and offer the following reading in the hope it may encourage you. The God of All Comfort - 'Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God'. 2 Corinthians chapter 1 verses 3 - 4
Tuesday 9 June My Word for the day today might come as a surprise to some. Do you remember Auf Wiedersehen Pet, on television? OZ, played by Jimmy Nail, sings this song which I pray brings you both comfort and encouragement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1Nhm-AZdug&list=PLS-2wPW8XuZPvLUUmZPPGc8zrXEj_gv10&index=3&t=0s
Wednesday 10 June Following on from our recent service on the subject of many parts to the one body, I thought I would share this. It was William James who said, “We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” In other words we are deeply connected to each other. In Romans 12:26 St Paul wrote “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” These deeper connections mentioned above are especially relevant now that lock down is easing. Please remember those who are still unable to start meeting up. A simple call or a letter can bridge the gap between us.
Thursday 11 June 'No matter what bad was meant to harm you, Gods good arms have you'. I hope you like these words and that you find it to be a truth in your life. As it has been in mine.
Friday 12 June I can't really claim this to be a recipe but it is about food. I heard a story about a Chinese emperor who loved games. He held a competition to find a new game and the winning entry was the game of chess. The game so impressed the emperor he offered any prize the man asked for. You can imagine his surprise when he was asked for just one grain on rice on the first square and two on the second. Each subsequent square doubled the square before it. Can you work out the total number of grains? Even if you can, you can't fathom the depth or breadth of God's love unless you allow him to show you.
Saturday 13 June When you read these words what do you think? 'I don't care if you're black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich or poor. If you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Simple as that.' If you are challenged by anything in the picture above please try to remember that God's love is unconditional. It is what we do, think and say that he may disapprove of.
Monday 15 June The power to be extraordinary Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who helped Jews escape the Nazis during World War 2. She told a story which illustrates the power to be extraordinary. She was very concerned as a child, that she would never be strong enough to die for Christ. Her father used an illustration to help her see that, just because she was not brave enough now, did not mean she would lack the necessary courage if she ever found herself needing it. He reminded her that he did not give her the ticket money for a train journey weeks in advance but just before she boarded the train. He explained that, similarly, God gives us the strength we need to cope with troubles at the time we need it and not before. Live your life secure in the knowledge that you can do all things Christ asks you, because it is he who gives you strength as you need it.
Tuesday 16 June In the book of Romans at chapter 3 verses 23-24 it says, 'For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus'. NOTHING IS FREE I can almost hear you say. But did your parents not give you everything you needed without charge when you were young? So much more God gives you through his son Jesus and like your physical father your Heavenly Father too makes no charge. Will you fully accept this free gift?
Wednesday 17 June Psalm 17 verse 8 says: - Don't get angry. Don't be upset; it only leads to trouble'. This verse echoes part of what I said on Sunday of how, with the full armour of God and in particular with our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, we might enjoy a peace that passes all understanding. Even in difficult and trying times, having an inner peace can make things less emotive. Peace be with you today and always.
Thursday 18 June 'The most wonderful places to be in the world are in someone's thoughts, someone's prayers and in someone's heart'. Do you truly know anyone who has you in their thoughts, their prayers and their heart? Perhaps if you realise how lucky you are, you might let someone know they are in yours - share the love and God's blessing.
Friday 19 June I recently took a funeral and the following words from Psalm 121 caught my attention. “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.” I remember making tablet a long time ago, something many in the congregation here at Dunbar Parish Church have tasted recently. Well on that fateful occasion I didn’t pay attention as I should. I was distracted by something, I cant’ recall what it was now, and then I realised the tablet was boiling higher in the pot than it should. Even off the heat, it kept boiling higher and higher. Usually stirring it a bit faster would do the trick but that failed too. I had no option but to pour it into the tray before it poured over the top of the pot. Even in the tray it continued to rise like a loaf of bread, proving on the side before going into the oven. It rose to the top of the tray where it began to stop rising. It continued rising like the bread would, in the centre, until it was more than twice the height of the tin. I have never seen the likes with tablet, cinder toffee yes but never tablet. Once cooled, I discovered it was rock hard, tablet textured and tasting but it had a frothy inside, now rock hard too. Being distracted, it had over cooked! It was an accident of my own making! Have you ever had an accident? I have had many and that is why I believe we need to have the Lord watch over us, as in the Psalm. May you find 'He who never slumbers nor sleeps' always watching over you.
Saturday 20 June https://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/the-christ-bell/ “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you; And be gracious to you; The Lord turn his face towards you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6: 24-26
Monday 22 June I was sitting listening to some Christian music recently in preparation for a service later in the week. This song particularly caught my heart. I hope you enjoy it too. God bless. https://youtu.be/XNgsO53alTs
Tuesday 23 June A friend once suggested we look for good in everyone. I have since realised Jesus died for him or her. How could we dare not to.
Wednesday 24 June When Death comes knocking I have often heard the proverb “there is nothing so sure as death and taxes” Yet when I think of it there are so many people and companies who don’t pay taxes. So there is a flaw in the proverb even before we look at death. So could we honestly say there is nothing so sure as death? Around the world there are very few people who truly believe that when someone passes away they are simply Gone and no more. Most people without any form of faith at all can still be seen visiting a grave side or the place where the person they have lost died. The only rational, or perhaps for some irrational, explanation is that we are hard wired to know that death is not the end. Then when we read the Bible it has a lot to say about the Life that awaits us after death. “If I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and take you to be where I am” Jesus circa AD30 to AD35 Without doubt that means we too can be reunited with the person we have lost. The loss, hard though it is, it is just a temporary thing. Just as the sun will rise in the morning we will smile when we see our loved on once again. God bless.
Thursday 25 June I was going passed a building site yesterday looking at the new homes that are being built. Each house has a solid foundation on which the house is going to be built. It reminded me of a story Jesus told about two builders. One built his house on sand and the other built the house on rock. Needless to say, the house built on sand didn't last long! Thankfully our homes are built on a much more solid foundation. But what about our lives? Over recent weeks, we have been following lots of different rules. Keep 2 metres away from each other, stay at home, don't travel beyond 5 miles. These rules have helped to save lives today but we need something more permanent for the rest of our lives. Are the rules and standards you are setting for yourself, building a solid foundation for your life or is it a bit like the house being build on sand? Is it all going to come crashing down one day? In the Bible, God shows us how to live our lives so that we are building a solid foundation and not a shaky one! Why not spend a few minutes reading the story of the wise and foolish man in Matthew chapter 7 verses 24 - 26?
Friday 26 June As it's Friday, we are following Fred's Friday's Food tradition in our words for today. In my opinion, picking and eating your own home-grown strawberries, potatoes, peas or lettuce is amazing. The flavour of a home-grown carrot doesn't compare with one bought from the large supermarkets. It may be an odd shape and probably covered in earth but once cleaned it tastes like a 'real' carrot. If you have never tasted locally-produced fruit and vegetables, try it. Don't take my word for it. In the Book of Psalms chapter 34 verse 8 it says, 'Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him'. New International Version If you have never taken the opportunity to 'taste' what God is like, why not try it? He is already waiting for you to ask Him. Don't rely on the experiences of others to form your opinion. 'Find out for yourself how good the Lord is. Happy are those who find safety with Him'. Good News Translation
Saturday 27 June 'Take courage; there is nothing that you need face alone, no fear that is stronger than the presence of Christ, and no threat that has the power to dislodge Christ from the centre of your heart unless you let it. May God give you fresh faith and courage today'. Duncan, M Niteblessings, Lion Hudson IP Limited, 2018
Monday 29 June A word for anyone feeling a bit anxious about their situation at the moment:- If you are in Christ, living faithfully in the truth of that, you can be at peace about everything the devil may use to stir up the fires of anxiety. Jesus is Lord.
Tuesday 30 June No matter what we have done, it is never too late to repent and seek God's mercy.
Wednesday 1 July Matthew 6:10 part of the Lord’s prayer says, 'May your Kingdom come and what you want be done, here on earth as it is in Heaven'.I pray your heart reaches out to God for His will to be done and may you find His prefect plan unfold in your lives!
Thursday 2 July If you like a puzzle check out what God has for you and work out why.
How is it that centuries after the Bible was written, when Monks copied the Bible by hand they added chapters and verses. Was it by accident they included some amazing statistical puzzles?
Check them out: There are 1189 chapters in the Bible. The very centre chapter of the Bible is the 595th chapter. This is Psalm 117 which also happens to be the shortest of Psalms or chapters in the Bible. When it comes to verses, there are 31,174 verses in the Bible. So, being an even number, the 15,587th and 15,588th verses are the central verses. They are verse 8 and 9 in Psalm 118. The notation for verse 9 in Psalm 118 is Psalms 118:9, which is the total number of chapters in the Bible, 1189. Psalm 117 1. O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him all ye people. 2. For his merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord. Psalm 118 8. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. 9. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
Friday 3 July Do you love a coffee with a flavoured syrup in it? For me it is vanilla, how about you? Equally high on my list of options for food are cream scones or strawberries and cream and I have a tip to improve the cream. Add a splash of vanilla syrup to the cream as you whisk it. Then you will see it lifts your desserts up a level. The same can be said of the Holy Spirit! The difference is that it isn’t your desserts that are lifted but everything you do in the name of the Lord! So why not ask him into your life afresh?
Saturday 4 July Jesus said “suffer little children to come unto me”. For so many folks who are either shielding or who live far away from their little loved ones, what will it be like to see and hug their loved ones again? Will it live up to expectations? What will it be like to join God’s children in church again? Will it be all sweetness and light or do we need to heed the words of Jesus here too? Ask God to prepare our hearts for when we get to have these special reunions.
Monday 6 July I bought a bag of compost for the garden a few days ago. The problem was that, I had bought a bag that was bigger than the one I would normally get. When I tried to move it, I discovered that it was a really awkward shape, making it hard to lift and it was heavy. With no one to help, I just had to get on with it. It was really hard. I could have hurt myself but I got there in the end. Having someone to help would have made the task much easier. Life is a bit like my bag of compost. It can be hard, challenging and tiring. You may be physically or emotionally hurt. It can feel as there are no easy answers. You would love someone to help. In the Bible, Jesus promises to take on those heavy tasks of life. He says, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’. Matthew 11 verses 28 – 30 Why not put your life's challenges into God's hands today? He promises to help. These Words for Today were written by a church member.
Tuesday 7 July 'Before we think to ask, He gives. Before we call, He hears. Before our feet began to walk, He planned for us the years. His love knows all, and understands our needs, our hopes, our fears'. Anon These Words for Today were given by a church member.
Wednesday 8 July Listening to the news at the moment is hard. We hear of job losses, businesses going bankrupt and the challenges of kick-starting the country’s economy. You may be worried about your own circumstances or perhaps the future of a member of your family. You might be at school hoping to sit exams next year or planning to go to college or university and not sure if they are going to happen. Perhaps you are concerned about your job and whether or not it is secure. How will you manage if you lose your job? As an older person, you may think your life no longer has meaning or a purpose. In the book of Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11 it says, ‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.
God is watching over each and everyone of us. Be assured that he has plans for you to give you hope and a future no matter what your age or circumstances.
Thursday 9 July What an amazing morning. The sun is shining, there are a few clouds in the sky but everything is still, which is most unusual for Sunny Dunny as we are usually gently nudged along by the wind or battling against it. The wild flowers create a wonderful mass of colour along the sides of our paths and we can see the hills clearly in the distance. The wild raspberries and brambles are slowly ripening and the birds are making a singing their hearts out. We are so privileged to live in this world that our Father has created. Why not spend a few moments today listening and looking at the world around you and then thank God for his amazing world.
Friday 10 July As it is Friday our Word for Today must be about food! Have you ever wondered at the number of programmes there are about food, on television.
There are baking and cooking competitions, how to lose weight, explaining the food process, making meals for others and how food can help improve our health. The list goes on. The sad part is that although we have this mass of information we still live in a country where food-related illnesses are on the increase. We watch and listen, but do we learn? What is your faith 'diet' like today? Do you have a balance of taking time to read your Bible, praying and learning more about your Heavenly Father or do you know what you should be doing but find all sorts of excuses not to do it? I know I do. God is waiting for you to start your new 'faith diet' today. Don't put it off until tomorrow. He would love to have a blether with you.
Saturday 11 July Why not use the words of the famous hymn 'How Great Thou Art' as a focus for your time of praise today? These Words for Today were given by a church member.
Monday 13 July Keep praying for your family. God hears you.
Tuesday 14 July 'Give me eyes that see the full reality, Father – not just the surface facts, but all that can be accomplished with your power, love and presence. Help me believe that with you nothing is impossible. Help me to choose always to do things with you. Amen.’
Wednesday 15 July 'Perhaps you do not understand that God is kind to you so you will change your hearts and lives'. Romans chapter 2 verse 4 No one is happier than the one who has sincerely repented of wrong. Repentance is the decision to turn from selfish desires and seek God. It is a genuine, sincere regret that creates sorrow and moves us to admit wrong and desire to do better. It's an inward conviction that expresses itself in outward actions. You look at the love of God and you can't believe he's loved you like he has, and this realisation motivates you to change your life. May God enable you to be the best you can be.
Thursday 16 July Moses encounters God in the form of a burning bush and was terrified. We can be too casual about our intimate access to the Holy of Holies. Consider the glory and majesty of God with awe and wonder. You can find the whole story in Acts chapter 7 verses 20 - 38. Acts chapter 7 verse 33 reads,
Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground'. When was the last time you tool off our shoes, even metaphorically, to speak to God?
Friday 17 July Do you enjoy getting a hug from a family member or friend? It is strange not being able to give someone a hug when you meet them for the first time in ages or perhaps when saying goodbye. There is something warm and comforting about receiving and giving a hug to someone special. I have a postcard that I was given many years ago. It shows a picture of two young children giving each other a hug and the words on it says, 'Consider yourself hugged'. This morning, although we cannot hug each other, consider yourself hugged in the name of Jesus'. 'I always thank God for you'. 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 4
Saturday 18 July Walking along the shore at Belhaven Bay is often a challenge. The wind can be blowing straight into your face making it walking really difficult, especially if you are going along the soft sand. Going the opposite way can mean the wind is pushing you along and if you have long hair you often can't see where you are going as it is in your eyes. But, when you reach a sheltered spot everything is so much easier and there is a sense of calm. Life is full of windy days when you struggle to move forward or feel as if you are being blown along and out of control. Having a relationship with Jesus can be your place to go where you will feel protected and have a sense of calm. A blessing for you today:
'May the road rise with you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, And the rains fall soft upon your fields, And until we meet again May God keep you in the hollow of his hand'.
Irish blessing source unknown This Word for Today was written by a church member.
Monday 20 July I am indebted to Facebook for this image. It reminded me, obviously of travelling with God on all our journeys. It also spoke to me of both diversity and uniformity. Both essential to get a good perspective on what we do. Let us all remember to celebrate our differences as we seek to find common ground.
Tuesday 21 July In the book of Proverbs chapter 17 and verse 19 it tells us: - 'Love prospers when a fault is forgiven. But dwelling on it separates close friends'. Who should you forgive today?
Wednesday 22 July As I sit and contemplate what God has done for me I am blown away. I pray you feel closer and more blessed by God as you listen to this music video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebFji3n0cCA
Thursday 23 July What with Covid-19, church closed and how having to move house, there are enough pressures, difficulties and trials to satisfy most folks. BUT, and as the parishioners here at Dunbar Parish Church hear me say from time to time, it is a big BUT, God is bigger still and we are leaning, no, standing on His promises. HIS Grace is sufficient for our needs and He will see us through. We see His hand in all this and we know he holds us close. May you find the same truth whatever your circumstances.
Friday 24 July If you like vanilla then perhaps you might like to know how to make a little vanilla go a long way. If you place vanilla pods in a sealable jar with caster sugar, the flavour infuses the sugar and gives your coffee a hint of vanilla flavour. Better still the pods stay just as flavoursome and ready to use in other recipes. A bit like having your cake and eating it. The same is true with the power of the Holy Spirit. If you invite the Holy Spirit into your heart you can be infused by the power of Heaven, and all the Power of Heaven is still available to bless others too.
Why not ask the Holy Spirit into your life today? God bless
Saturday 25 July 'Have you ever felt, ‘I have messed up so much. I’m absolutely useless. God will not want anything to do with me now!’? (Maybe that is where you are right now!) Did God agree with you? A rather profound question that was the lead into my bible devotions this morning. I hope you know with all your heart that he didn't. For those who may wish to try a new devotional this is from S.U. Word for the Day and the link below will take you there.
Monday 27 July Each and every person has a mountain to climb. For some they are well experienced at the climb they face, having faced it successfully day after day. Whilst for others it is a new impossibility placed before them. Do you recognise your mountain? Whoever your God is, tell them about it. If it is a hard climb, ask for help. If it is easy, thank them for the view. I pray your God is the same as mine, keen to help us climb the mountains he places before us and keen to have us stop and consider the view. Then turn round and follow him down again.
Tuesday 28 July Have you ever got to the top of the stairs and wondered why you were there in the first place? Or perhaps you have gone to a cupboard to fetch something only to discover that you can't remember what you were going for. Apparently research shows that normal, healthy people can have up to 30 lapses of 'What did I come upstairs for?' type every week. We are just too busy and have too much on our minds. Perhaps its a sign that we need a few moments (or longer) each day just to be still and enjoy God's presence. There is a beautiful song that we often sing in church. It's third verse says, 'Be still for the power of the Lord is moving in this place He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister His grace No work too hard for him, in faith receive from Him, Be still for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.' Why not use the words as a focus for your 'be still' time today?
Wednesday 29 July There is a wonderful story in the Bible about a young woman called Rhoda. There was a knock on the door and she went to answer it. But before she opened it, she recognised Peter's voice. He had just been released from prison. She was so excited to tell everyone who was at the door, that she left him standing in the street and forgot to open the door. I suspect we can all see a bit of Rhoda in ourselves. We do things in such a hurry that we can make silly mistakes. We can laugh at them but equally they can be hurtful, particularly if we say something without thinking. Lord, I pray that we take time to think before we act and speak today. You'll find out how Peter arrived at the house in the first place and what happened after Rhoda left him standing on the doorstep, if you go to the Book of Acts chapter 12 verses 12 - 14.
Friday 31 July Have you learned any new technology skills over the last few months? Perhaps you are taking part in virtual meetings with friends or learning how to use the internet more efficiently. My experience of technology over the last 48 hours has been frustrating, to say the least. I received a new router for my Wifi to make my connections faster. All went well until I tried to connect my wireless printer. I am still trying! Yesterday I posted a new Word for Today on the website only to discover this morning that it had not published! I am so sorry if you were looking forward to reading a new text. Thankfully, communicating and connecting with God is so much easier. We don't need to worry about passwords, security keys or wires. All we need to do is, think what we want to say or say it out loud and He hears. So simple. 'Never give up praying. And when you pray, keep alert and be thankful'. Colossians chapter 4 verse 2
Saturday 1 August It's hard to believe that we are now at the first day of the eighth month of the year. When we celebrated the arrival of 2020 none of us could have imagined what would happen over the coming months. There have been many blessings, but its been hard, in different ways, for each one of us and it will continue to be tough in the weeks ahead. Sometimes, we need that extra bit of courage to see us through. Malcolm Duncan, a preacher from Northern Ireland, has written a book of meditations. Here is the prayer for the first day of August. 'May God's intervention in the world, remind us that He is never far from his people; may His nearness give us courage'. Duncan, M ((2018) Nite Blessings. Lion Hudson Limited Oxford These Words for Today come from a church member.
Monday 3 August Matthew offers a good starting point. The next step is to be able to do unto others as they would have you do, as long as it is how God would wish it to be. 'Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.' Matthew 7 verse 12
Tuesday 4 August 'Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want'. Psalm 37 verse 4 When we submit to God's plans, we can trust our desires. Our assignment is found at the intersection of God's plan and our pleasures. We have been made to serve God in this unique way. Therefore the longings of our hearts are critical parts of our communication with God. It is these desires that God uses to turn our life because God is too gracious to ask us to do something we hate.
Wednesday 5 August Someone once said, 'happiness is a choice'. Given that it is possible to be unhappy and have everything, I am inclined to agree. It follows therefore the opposite is also true.
That is where the grace of God comes in! Even when things are difficult, we can still, by God's grace, be empowered to be able to choose happiness.
Thursday 6 August In the eye of the storm the disciples "went to him and woke him saying, 'Lord save us! We will drown! Jesus answered, 'Why are you afraid?" Matthew chapter 8 verses 25 - 26. Then we read in Matthew 14 verse 33 'Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, 'Truly you are the son of God'. The disciples were willing to follow but they didn't worship until after this incident! Why is it that we only worship Jesus when we are the ones who are in trouble and need saving?
Friday 7 August Popcorn is the new us! A strange statement but it is a good analogy. When we add some energy to the corn it becomes much more in size and of greater appeal too. Add your flavouring of choice whether salt or sweet, perhaps even toffee and we just can't get enough. So too, if we so choose, apply some power from the Holy Spirit and we become much more in appeal and ability. And as God wills, we can each become uniquely and perfectly fit for his purpose.
Saturday 8 August 'God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken rain to give clouds, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength'. If I may add to Vance Havner's quotation, broken people to build a Kingdom. He is recruiting now and we all qualify.
Monday 10 August 'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid'. John chapter 14 verse 27
Tuesday 11 August I saw a cartoon recently depicting a tribal elder with face painted and in a long grass skirt. He could possibly originate from a south sea island. He was speaking about walking over a bed of hot coals. He said, "We don't do that anymore, we use Lego". How true, stepping on Lego is awful, walking over a bed of them in unimaginable. Life can be like that at times, I wonder what we could make with the Lego's in our lives, with a little time and help? The builder of all things promises to be with us until the end of days! Why not ask for help today?
Wednesday 12 August My daily reading for the 10th was from Isaiah 54 : 13 which says the following: - "All your children will be taught by the Lord, and they will have much peace." It goes on to suggest we should “never underestimate the power that comes when a parent pleads with God on behalf of a child. Who knows how many prayers are being answered right now because of the prayers of parents from 10 or 20 years ago”. If your prayers have still to be fulfilled then continue to struggle with God for your children.
Thursday 13 August After incredibly heavy rain last night, I was thinking of washing things clean. Sand from washing my drive yesterday has all been washed away by the rain and yet even the rain has dust in it. Laundry detergent I found out years ago, had what the industry called fillers in them. Some unscrupulous companies used ground up fish scales or pumice (ground up volcanic rock). Not sure of the practice today, but I do know the only thing that can wash our lives clean, is the blood Jesus shed on the cross. Time to do the laundry of our souls? May Jesus cleanse you, bless you and keep you.
Friday 14 August A couple of onions sliced in a good sized pot with a stock cube and left to simmer for a couple of hours and don't let them boil dry, is the magic ingredient that adds the very essence to make BBQ food taste spot on. Did you know it is a Biblical truth......... By taking any humble person and add the very essence of Heaven, contained in the Holy Spirit, you can make any life spot on. If you want to try it, just quiet your mind and heart, then say this prayer with all your heart. Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me. Thank you for paying for my sin. I invite you into my life. Be my Lord and Saviour. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and enable me to be the best person you have always known I can be. Amen. Let us know if you said this prayer as we would like to bless you in your new walk with Christ.
Saturday 15 August An expectant father, who had been exploring his faith but couldn't understand what he was reading, received a call to say his wife was in labour. Having planned a home birth he headed home to be with his wife. It was a terrible evening and he was later home than anticipated. He ran into the house, kissed his wife and went to look at the new born child. As he did so, his heart filled with so much love, it felt as if it was going to burst. As the man looked into the crib he said these words, 'Father God, thank you for the gift of our son and for helping me to understand how you could love me when I didn't know you. I give you my life and ask Lord Jesus for your forgiveness. Come into my life and help me to love our son as you love me'. 'We love, because he first loved us' - 1 John 4:19
Monday 17 August Today, most of our young people will be starting their first full week back at school. They have been away from friends, teachers and other school staff for months. But what a welcome they are getting. This sign is pinned onto the fencing of our our local primary school. In the Bible, Jesus tells a story about a father welcoming his son back to the family. The son left his home for a better life, or so he thought. It didn't turn out that way but when his only option was to go back home, his father ran to meet him and welcomed him back. Through this story, Jesus reminds us that no matter how far away we go from God, he will always welcome us back. Perhaps today will be the day that you need to return to God and receive the most amazing 'Welcome back'. If you would like to read the full story you will find it in Luke 15 verses 11 - 32. This Word for Today was written by a member of the Parish Church.
Tuesday 18 August doG si ni lortnoc A puzzle for you this morning. Can you work out what the message says? Most of our primary one children will be starting to learn to read at school. For some it will be easy but for others it will be challenging. Accepting Jesus into our lives is amazing but God doesn't say that it will always be easy. Life is full of challenges. God however, does promise us that he will be with us, no matter what life throws at us. He will encourage us and help us achieve the goals he has set for us. We are encouraged to pray to God to help us through challenging times but we are often guilty of praying and not expecting anything to happen. William Carey once said, 'Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God'. Today, please pray for our young people and school staff who are facing the challenges of a new school term and bring before God the challenges that you are facing today. This Word for Today was written by a member of the Parish Church.
Wednesday 19 August Have you noticed the advertisement for different types of soap powder that encourages us to 'Keep away from children.' I am sure they really mean to keep the soap powder away from young children but because of the way our language can be interpreted, it can mean something completely different. Jesus was very clear when he spoke about children. On one occasion he told the disciples, 'Let the children come to me.' Matthew 19 verse 14. On another occasion, he said that 'unless we change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven'. Matthew 18 verse 3 (NIV). We need to be trusting, keen to learn, enthusiastic, loving, caring ......... Are you ready to become like a child again to a loving and caring Heavenly Father? This Word for Today was written by a member of the Parish Church.
Thursday 20 August Never forget, that in the eyes of God, 'I'm special because God has loved me, For He gave the best thing that He had to save me. His own Son Jesus, crucified to take the blame For all the bad things I have done. Thank You Jesus, thank You Lord For loving us so much we know we don't deserve anything. Help us feel Your love right now, To know deep in our hearts
That we're Your special friend'. A beautiful children's (and adult's) song by Graham Kendrick.
Friday 21 August Do you have fond memories of school? I can't honestly say that I loved school but I do remember some activities with fondness. I enjoy singing and for me one hour of respite from the challenges of maths was our weekly hymn-singing sessions on a Wednesday. To this day, I can still sing some old hymns word perfect (provided they haven't been changed by the younger generation of song writers). Little did I realise though, how much I would come to value you knowing those hymns as a adult. This Psalm (a modern version!) is just one of many that I come back to when I need that extra reassurance on my Christian journey. Psalm 121 A Pilgrim Song (The Message) This Word for Today was written by a member of the Parish Church.
Saturday 22 August This week, our children and young people have been welcomed back to school after a long away. It will have been an exciting and challenging week for everyone involved, but it is so important to encourage their learning and their nurture God given gifts and talents. Two amazing gifts are used in this video clip. youtu.be/uj0341W5ot4 The singer was 11 years old. A wonderful voice and the talents of her uncle who wrote this song. May it be our prayer today. This Word for Today was written by a member of the Parish Church.
Monday 24 August 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 9 God’s greatness is often not seen because we are looking else where, (but not always I hasten to add). It has always been my weakness that I ask for help and receive it. I believe that is the message here. When we feel weak we should turn to God and ask for help, accepting he is doing so and then looking to see that help. Then we see his Greatness. Even if it is just in the ability to endure where we are at that time. I would rather endure with God that crumble without him. God bless.
Tuesday 25 August How to be like the eagles. The only bird that dares to peck an eagle is the raven. He sits on his back and bites his neck. However, the eagle does not respond, nor fights with the raven; it does not spend time or energy on the raven. It just opens it's wings and begins to rise higher in the heavens. The higher the flight, the harder it is for the raven to breathe and then the raven falls due to lack of oxygen. Stop wasting time with the ravens. Just take them to your heights and they will fade away. The enemy will sit behind your back and bite your neck... ′′But those who wait for the Lord will have new strength; they will lift wings like eagles..." (Isaiah 40:31) GOD BLESS YOU.
Wednesday 26 August John chapter 5 verse 24 tells us: -'I tell you the truth, whoever hears what I say and believes in the One who sent me has eternal life'. I read recently that when we recognise God as Creator, we will admire him; when we discover his strength, we will lean on him; but only when we are saved by him, will we worship him. It is no wonder that before all of that, we keep God at a distance. For many people they face the storms of life alone and only when in desperation and all hope is gone do they realise they are not alone. Their only option left, which has been there all along, is God. I pray you can shorten the journey and reach out to Him today. God bless.
Thursday 27 August Recently we have had some interesting weather. Take the lightning the other week. Air and clouds rubbing against themselves, creating static electricity to build up and then it discharges in a bolt of lightning. Based on the display recently there must have been a huge amount of static. Well, that had me thinking of the tension that can build between people. The thought was probably prompted by a segment of morning television that mentioned the tension between people and how it can display itself. I wonder if we may all benefit from a lightning rod of sorts. When there are storms at sea, ships can rely on their anchors to hold them. Perhaps we need what Robin Mark refers to in his hymn, 'We have an anchor that keeps our soul'. For a lightning rod, why not metaphorically, or literally, scream to God at the top of your voice? God wants to get all your angst as well as all your worship and praise. With feet on the ground and our screams reaching heaven we can discharge our tension. Why not find a secluded spot and try it? I think it will either bring smiles or tears, neither of which are bad things in themselves. May you find a lightning rod that calms your soul.
Friday 28 August Did you know that Baklava – which is very popular in Greece, is supposed to be made with 33 dough layers, referring to the years of Christ's life? This delicious tasty treat sells by the thousand in many parts of the world but I wonder how many people think of the one it represents and the layers of love and kindness that he laid out for the ones eating the Baklava?
Saturday 29 August My favourite daily reading cardex is by Max Lucado. That said I don’t read it every day but do browse the pages from where it was, up to the present day about 5 or 6 times a month. When I flicked over from Tuesday I thought I would share yesterday’s offering with you. Walking with the Saviour. 'You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you'. Colossians chapter 3 verse 10 Max then offers this thought: - 'I wonder if Jesus doesn’t muster up a slight smile as he sees his lost sheep come straggling into the fold – the beaten, broken, dirty sheep who stands at the door looking up at the Shepherd asking, “Can I come in? I don’t deserve it, but....? The Shepherd looks down at the sheep and says, “Come in, this is your home.' Salvation is the process that ‘s done..... That no one can take away from you. Sanctification is the life long process of growing in Christ.
Monday 31 August 'The hardest part of being a parent is watching a child going through something really tough and not being able to fix it for them'. SO TRUE! PLEASE LET ME IN! Your Heavenly Father
Tuesday 1 September Hosea chapter 2 verse 19 says the following, 'I will make you my promised bride forever. I will be good and fair; I will show you my love and mercy'. How are we to unpack that? Max Lucado would say that the Bible has a simple story. God made man. Man rejects God. God won’t give up until he wins him back. God will whisper. He will shout... He will take away our burdens, he’ll even take away our blessings. If there were a thousand steps between us and him, he will take all but one. He will leave that final one for us. The choice is ours.
Wednesday 2 September Psalm 51 verse 10 simply says, 'Create in me a clean heart, Gog and make my spirit right again'. Instantly, my heart goes back to a Christian conference years ago where I learned a song based on this psalm. What songs do that to you? Or if we dig deeper into our subconscious, why do you think the song has had such a strong impression on you? Our God will use the simple things in our life to have the most profound impact on us, if we let him. I pray you do.
Thursday 3 September If I said there was a full size Jaguar car in the picture you would look and quickly dismiss it as nonsense and look no further.There is however a leopard in the picture and because of camouflage is very well hidden. Looking for God at work in the world can be like that. You need to accept it is an option to be able to see what he is doing. Not because God is camouflaged but rather he often works through ordinary people. Where will you see God at work today?
Friday 4 September There are so many beautiful flowers around. What is your favourite? How would you feel if they were all to disappear forever? God make his planet and said it was good. What will he say if the simple honey bee were no more. It is happening slowly for now. Bee numbers are dropping so slowly we may not realise that it is happening. The thing is this. As you know bees pollinate flowers. Food flowers as well as pretty garden ones. It is reckoned that 30% of our food depends on bees. Next time you eat, think of the bees and pray for them or pray God will supply manna once more, we may need it! If they die so might we! God save your planet from the humble bee to the human race. May your will be done.
Saturday 5 September As churches begin working towards reopening, can I ask that we all take onboard the words in the picture? Please turn up your prayer thermostat, asking that as we get the buildings ready once more, that the warmth of the presence of God is tangible as folks return to church. There is something wonderful in arriving home to a warm house when it is cold outside. You have had six months out of your church home in the spiritually cold world. Lets all turn up the prayer thermostat.
Monday 7 September 'A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns'. Matthew chapter 24 verses 45 - 47
Tuesday 8 September Once again I would like to quote to you the words of Max Lucado referring to Ephesians chapter 1 verse 7 which reads: - 'In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins'. Jesus spoke of freedom... the type of freedom that comes not through power but through submission.... God wants to emancipate his people; he wants to set them free.... He wants them governed not by law but by love. We have been liberated from our own guilt and our legalism. We have the freedom to pray and the freedom to love the God of our heart. And we have been forgiven by the only one who could condemn us. We are free! What ever holds you back, from being all you can be. These words can set you free and set you on the path to be just that – all you can be. God bless you.
Wednesday 9 September Matthew chapter 6 verse 21 says that, 'Your heart will be where your treasure is'. How is that manifested in your life? For those who find themselves living a simple life, whether enforced or by choice, their treasure is more likely to be a real freedom from whatever is forcing the simple life on them. For others who may have all their hearts may desire, they are often trapped in trying to maintain what they already have or striving for more of the same. The treasure here is not necessarily financial wealth or even something tangible. Only you will know what your treasure is. Only you can choose to seek a lasting treasure. After all, Earthly treasure can be quite fleeting in nature. Money can disappear in an instant if stocks and shares fall in value. The only real everlasting thing of value is salvation. That treasure was paid for in blood by Jesus to offer you eternal life in all it’s glory. Now there is a treasure worth having, that no one and that nothing can ever diminish or take away.
Thursday 10 September 'When it comes to coronavirus, we're not all int the same boat. We are, instead, in the same storm. But in this storm some are in yachts, some are in rowing boats, whilst others are hanging-on to driftwood!'. Rick Warren What ever the storm is in your life please think on this. When Jesus was sleeping and a storm threatened to sink the boat, Jesus told the storm to be still and it was. He will never be swamped by any storm and will hold on to you tighter than you could hold onto anything, even if your life depended on it. I pray you can hold onto him.
Friday 11 September I was just thinking of bread making or more accurately the thought was put in my head by my wife asking me if I could make some small loaves. Today that is such a simple task. A packet of bread mix and some warm water, a bit of kneading and there you have it. It wasn’t always that simple. A piece of bread yeast would be gently slaked with a bit of sugar and slowly would become a liquid. This was added to warm milk to ferment and reproduce before being added to the dry ingredients. It may be easier today, but I wonder if some of the magic has been lost? One microbe nourished within the dough, encouraged through the kneading process produces millions of the same microbe. Each multiplying and producing CO2 into the bargain that makes the bread rise. This bread making principle can be applied to human society too. One Christian soul in the proper company can result in many Christian souls. If they are given the proper nourishment and encouragement they can multiply into tens of thousands and transform a society. Whilst our society sees a reduction in the numbers of Christians, places like Korea and China flourish. That is why the numbers of Christians increases every year. IF you will allow God to encourage and nourish you, He can change the society around you. One microbe can do it and you are better than a microbe.
Saturday 12 September I heard a sound bite on the Landward Programme recently that because of Covid-19 more people have taken up fishing. The change of pace in our lives, because of the pandemic isn’t all bad, not for everyone that is. Going fishing is a way to get away from the stresses of life. Getting into the fresh air and getting a bit of exercise into the bargain. That said for the fishermen in the Bible, fishing was poorly paid, smelly hard work. And it was dangerous too. Jesus called them saying, 'Come with me and I will make you fishers of men'. A welcome change for them I would have thought. What is it in your life that Christ might call you away from, that would make your life all the better? As you ponder that, please remember that he isn’t actually calling you away from something but rather to something else. If you find yourself convinced he is calling you, may you find it to be good for your health too.
Monday 14 September What a weekend! It felt as though the wind was trying to get rid of its frustrations and anger in two days of constant blowing. The trees were bending and creaking, leaves were flying everywhere, branches and twigs that were attached are now lying on the ground. The wind always brings change. Its as if it is nature's way of have a good clear out. In the same way, God brings about change in people's lives. He 'cleans out' the sin that is in our lives and gives us a chance to start fresh. We just have to ask and believe. '... Ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind'. John chapter 1 verse 6 These Words for Today are written by a member of the congregation.
Tuesday 15 September One night I dreamed a dream. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord. After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints. This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. "Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me." He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you." Author unknown These Words for Today are given by a member of the congregation.
Wednesday 16 September Have you ever set yourself a physical challenge like climbing a Munro or running a marathon? They tell us (although I have never worked out who 'they are' ) that it is good for our physical and mental well being. A second question. Have you ever set yourself a spiritual challenge? In the Book of Ezra, it tells us that 'Ezra devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel'. Ezra chapter 7 verse 10 Ezra had three challenges: to set his heart to study God's word, to live by God's word and to tell others what God is saying. As a Christian, are you following Ezra's example and setting yourself the same spiritual challenge? These Words for Today are written by a member of the congregation.
Thursday 17 September On my way home from town yesterday, I reached the point in the path where it gets much narrower. I was aware of a group of pre-school children heading towards me, so I stopped to allow them to pass. I was just about to move on, when the child at the very back turned and said 'thank you'. No one else in the group had spoken. I must admit I was so amazed at this very young child's response, I almost forgot to say 'thank you' back! It's so easy to accept what we have and forget to acknowledge it. There is a story in the Bible of a ten people who were healed by Jesus but only one of them said 'thank you'. Luke chapter 17 verses 11 - 19 Today, take time to thank those who help you and take time to thank God for his amazing world and what he has given us. Finally I would like to thank you for reading Words for Today. I pray that you will find them a blessing each day. These Words for Today are written by a member of the congregation.
Friday 18 September Jesus, be the centre, be my source, be my light Jesus. Jesus, be the centre, be my hope, be my song Jesus
Be the fire in my heart, be the wind in these sails, be the reason that I live Jesus, Jesus Vineyard music These Words for Today are given by a member of the congregation.
Saturday 19 September Fourteen years ago today a very special person in my life died. He was an elderly gentleman who had been keeping good health, so his sudden death was a shock to us all. I have many fond memories that I look back on and I am still very aware of the influence he had on the way I live my life today. People often say that you get over grief but I don't think that is true. You learn to accept it and live with it. Thankfully, he had a strong faith and I am assured that one day I will see him again. Today, you may be feeling the hurt and sadness of having lost someone special or perhaps you are anxious about what the lies in store for you over the coming days and weeks. I pray that: 'you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your heart quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus'. Philippians chapter 4 verse 7 The Living Bible These Words for Today are given by a member of the congregation.
Monday 21 September It is definitely harvest time in our area. There are tractors pulling trailers loaded high with potatoes. We meet huge pieces of farm machinery coming towards us on our narrow road. Lorries are piled high with bales of hay and not forgetting our fishermen who continue to bring in their harvest of fish each day. It is a busy time for anyone gathering in food for us and it is often a race against the weather and the shortening days. Its not possible to have our usual harvest thanksgiving service in church but it is still possible to thank our Heavenly Father for the food that He provides us with each day. In our world today, many people struggle with eating too much and others struggle because there is just not enough food for themselves or their family. This week, why not set yourself a challenge? Thank God for providing the food you eat, every time you eat something, donate something to your local food bank and if you are healthy, have a time of fasting. 'All good things around us are sent from heaven above. Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love'. From a poem written by Matthius Claudius These Words for Today are given by a member of the congregation.
Tuesday 22 September 'To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven'. It's official. Today is the first day of Autumn. It's that time of year when the leaves on the trees begin to change colours. The paths become a carpet of pine needles, cones and leaves of different shapes, sizes and colours. The light during the day is getting less and the morning dew clings to the grass for that bit longer. There can be a real 'nip in the air' first thing in the morning and early into the evening. It's an amazing time of year. But it is also reassuring to know that with the changing seasons, we know that God is in control. There is so much uncertainty at the moment. There is fear, worry and anxiety, BUT we can trust God's promise to answer us when we call out to Him. He will be with us. Today, if you are feeling afraid, anxious or uncertain why not read Psalm 91 and be reassured that God is with you and will protect you. www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2091&version=NLT
Wednesday 23 September 'How deep the Father's love for us, How vast beyond all measure. That He should give His only Son, To make a wretch His treasure Songwriter: Stuart Townend
Thursday 24 September 'I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns'. Philippians chapter 1 verse 6 'God's work in us can't be stopped! Whether we're enjoying life or feeling low. God is at work. Whether we're looking forward to today or wishing it would go away, God is going to use everything we go through to shaping us'. Our Daily Bread Ministries 2017
Friday 25 September A few years ago, went on a walking holiday in Austria. It rained every day, and although it didn't stop us getting out, the views were not as good as they might have been. On the last day, our guide told us we were going up to the top of the mountain, regardless of the weather. It was very wet, misty and we could hardly see in front of our noses. For the first time in seven days, the sun came out and the mist began to lift. The views were absolutely stunning. Our week had been spent in dark, driech days and all of a sudden everything was a rich green and we could see for miles. Sometimes in life, we can feel as if we are walking in a thick mist. Everything appears to be, and perhaps is, really hard. We can't see a way forward. But just as the sun came out and lifted the mist, God can take away doubts, fears and worries and give us a sense of hope. We may not be able to see God but we are never on our own. He will be with you today, no matter what challenges you face. 'Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see'. Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1 These Words for Today are given by a member of the congregation.
Saturday 26 September Have you ever sent an email or a text to the wrong person? It is so easy to do and can cause confusion, hurt or perhaps laughter. It's so easy to say something that can be misunderstood and all you want to do is swallow those words or even wind the clock back a few seconds so that you never said them in the first place. In the Book of Psalms chapter 141 verse 3, David said, "Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips". What a great prayer to say at the start of a new day. These Words for Today are given by a member of the congregation.
Monday 28 September I am back with Max Lucado today again, this time he has chosen Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 10 to share with us: - 'God has planted eternity in the hearts of men'. Before I go any further ladies, the Bible was written for a male dominated society but we need to apply the text for today’s society. Therefore, we need to read it as God has planted eternity in the hearts of His children. Max comments that it doesn’t take a wise person to know that people long for more than earth. We have our moments. The new-born on the breast, the bride on the arm, the sunshine on the back and much more. God is flirting with us. Those moments are appetizers for the dish that is to come. "No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him!" (1 Corinthians 2:9) What a breath-taking verse! Heaven is beyond our imagination. At our most creative moment, at our deepest thought, at our highest level, we still cannot fathom eternity.
Tuesday 29 September Psalm chapter 25 verse 6 reads, "Remember, Oh Lord, Your tender mercies and your lovingkindness, for they are from of old". How many times have we, or someone we know, needed the safety of a true father, of anyone in whom we can fully place our trust? You know what I mean, we shout dad and the hand is there. But much more than just there, there and able to do whatever is needed, to fix the reason we shouted in the first place. From the beginning of time, those days of old, the loving kindness of our father in Heaven , our Abba or daddy has always been and will always be there.
Wednesday 30 September As you reflect on Denzel Washington's words, close your eyes and imagine the love Christ has for you. ''Why do we close our eyes when we pray, cry, kiss or dream? Because the most beautiful things in life are not seen but felt by the heart".