Thought for the day

FRIDAY APRIL 3RD

During our ‘Thoughts for the Day’ over the last two weeks, we've talked about lots of different things.  We've talked about Christian love and how it is realised in caring and loving those around us.  We've talked about the hope that we have in Jesus Christ and the inner peace that he brings us.  We’ve also talked about what church is and about how this current crisis is bringing community together.  And we've also talked about freeing our minds to take us away from the negative thoughts that might surround us.  And Lastly we've talked about prayer and how we should be persistent in talking to God, sharing our deepest thoughts and seeking his will. 

Of course, the news that we hear each day is concentrating on the coronavirus and we are still in that phase where those contracting the disease, and those dying from it, are still increasing in this country.  This can make us feel despondent.  However, there are also lots of positives.  All the workers in the health service are doing an incredible job, many other essential workers are ensuring our services are maintained, friends and neighbours are helping those around them, Church is finding new ways of reaching people, the country is pulling together to overcome this virus, and many people are being reminded that it is God who we need in our lives. 

Paul in his letter to the Philippians said,  Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’.

Look for those good things that are still around us.  Be lifted up by the inherent good in people.  Seek to help others as you’re able.  And grow ever closer to the one who will get us through this difficult time, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

THURSDAY APRIL 2ND

God is a wonderful and faithful God.  He loves us and ever wants to be close to us.  He loves us to talk to him as a way of showing our love for him.  Jesus gave us the parable of the unjust judge as a way of showing that we must be persistent in prayer.  The judge didn't want to grant the widow justice, and only did so when she continually pestered him.  Jesus said, ‘Listen to what the judge says, will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry out day and night?  Will he delay long in helping them?  He will quickly grant justice to them.’ 

God loves us to pray to him and to grow close to him.  In our prayers we should honour God, give thanks for all he does for us, tell him how we feel (our anxieties and worries), share what’s on our hearts, ask for what we need, and also seek his will for us, and how we can help him in growing his Kingdom here on earth. 

Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians , says, ‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you’.  That should be our aim, we should be persistent and faithful in prayer.  God wants it.  God deserves it.  God knows it is good for us.

WEDNESDAY APRIL 1ST


I think we have lost a sense of community over the years. Thinking back to the days of the mills and mines, there was a great sense of togetherness, a giving of support and care to others during those hard and difficult times. People helped each other and took an interest in how things were for each other. In many respects we've lost much of that; people often work away from home and we seldom perhaps see our neighbours .
During this coronavirus, it has been wonderful to see that sense of community returning. People checking up on their neighbours, people doing shopping for the elderly or vulnerable, individuals phoning those on their own to check they are okay and to give them a little bit of company. It would be lovely to see this grow, develop and flourish, not only during this time of isolation, but long into the future.
You cannot force people to become a community. It is only by their love for others that community is formed. So let's try to continually grow community in this place by loving those around us, particularly those who are isolated, vulnerable, lonely and in need. That's the sort of community that Jesus taught we should be.

 

TUESDAY MARCH 31ST


God has created us and made us extremely well. He allows us to have minds which we can use in all sorts of different ways. He gave us wonderful imaginations, so that In our minds eye we can be anywhere we want. That wonderful Normandy veteran, Harry Billinge, said, ‘My mind is free, I can be anywhere.’
That means, particularly during this time of isolation, we can go in our imaginations wherever we like. Maybe to a favourite place, or to a special time, or escape somewhere to raise your spirits. This can be a good way of helping us when we're feeling down or alone. Experience all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes.

We can also use this to climb into some of our well-loved Bible stories and this can help us at times like these. Just imagine being in the boat with Jesus and his disciples when the storm arose on Lake Galilee. Just imagine all the feelings of the wind comma the rain, the salt and the rocking of the boat. And just picture how the scene unfolds and Jesus comes the storm. And as we picture all this in hour minds, we can ask God to come power mines. We can receive from Christ in the same way the disciples received from Christ. We can look in all and wonder at the one who has power over everything. And through that we can gain strength, peace and hope.

 

MONDAY MARCH 30TH


We are so used to worshipping in church, we are so used to seeing churches around us. I wonder if we ever take the time to consider what church is? We often think of the church as a building, which in some respects is true. However, the original meaning of church was the people, it was the gathering together of Christians. It was the people who worshipped God were most important rather than a building.
In the early church, after Jesus had ascended to be with his father in heaven, the people met together in their homes. This was partly because they didn't have church buildings and partly because the early Christians were often persecuted so they needed to meet in secret. It was only when the groups of people became so large, their homes weren’t big enough, and persecutions eased that they constructed buildings in which to meet.
Through the centuries, there have been three elements which comprise being a Christian church: 1) worshipping and glorifying God and expressing our love for all he’s done, 2) Building up and caring for God’s people by loving , caring and teaching, 3) reaching out to share our faith and the good news of Jesus Christ, including showing compassion , mercy and love to all around.
So, in these difficult times when we are isolated, as a church we still need to find ways of worshipping, building up, and sharing our faith. Social media and the internet has been a blessing to allow us to maintain contact and share our spiritual journey.

 

FRIDAY MARCH 27TH


Peace is a sense of calmness and confidence. Many people find it difficult to get that sense in their lives. Often, it’s hard when we have so much going on around us. There can be all sorts of things that impact our wellbeing, such as issues with health, money, family and work. We all lead such busy lives, and of course coronavirus appears as a threat all around us. We need a sense of peace in our lives.
Someone once said, ‘Sometimes God calms the storm, sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child’. That's the sense of Christian peace that is so important in our lives. It's an internal peace that comes from the soul. We get this sense of deep inner peace by being at peace with God, at peace with others, and at peace with ourselves. It's about knowing that we are living in the right way, knowing that God loves us and is with us, that he will be with us whatever happens.
Jesus knew the importance of this and often took himself away to be quiet to spend time with God. And that is how we find this too. It's good to find space in our busy lives when we can be quiet, when we can slow down, recognise God’s presence with us, know his love for us, and just be in his loving presence. With practice, having a time of peace each and every day, we find peace is with us all the time, even when the storm is raging about us.
May you find that peace each day.

 

THURSDAY MARCH 26TH


Rainbows have been appearing in the windows of people’s houses during this coronavirus isolation. Rainbows are a symbol of hope, a herald of better weather after a rainstorm. It was the schools, knowing closure was coming, who decided to ask their children to paint or draw a rainbow and put it in their windows. Whenever we see a rainbow, we always feel better, the bright colours and the lovely arc in the sky somehow make a smile.
It was after the flood, in the days of Noah, that God put a rainbow in the sky. He did it as a visual sign that he would never again flood the earth and destroy humanity. That's why it’s a symbol of hope.
There is hope now as we see hardly any new cases in China and Italy starting to reduce, there is hope as we know scientists are working on a treatment and vaccine, there is hope because we know the current situation will end, there is hope because communities are looking after each other, there is hope because of the people in our wonderful NHS and there is hope because God is always with us.
So today's message is one of hope and light even in dark times. Let’s brighten others’ outlook and look positively at the good things that are happening, like candles banishing the darkness. Let's see the hope that there certainly is around us.

 

WEDNESDAY MARCH 25TH


This Thought for the Day will give us time to pause at the start of the day, time to prepare for the coming day, and try to put what’s happening into some sort of perspective. It’s a time to come together to have a few moments of reflection and also to know that, even though we are all in our homes, there is still a sense that we are united and together.
Whilst I am very aware many people are finding it extremely difficult, also, I can't help feeling uplifted by the selfless, generous, courageous and inspiring work being done by so many. People have looked at where they can help others and are doing so. The list of people caring and supporting is extensive. Let us all continue to say a big thank you to everyone of them at every opportunity; and to show our heartfelt gratitude for all the good that is certainly being done here in Atherton.
From a Christian perspective, it all comes under that little word, love. Love is the real key to Christianity. In a few weeks’ time, at Easter, we’ll once again remember Jesus dying on the cross for us. His sacrifice was for us all. Jesus said he would never leave us. And I believe he's still with us to give us strength to withstand all this virus may throw at us. May each one of you know God’s strength, and may he sustain you through the coming weeks and months.
Have a good day, be positive, be safe, follow the guidelines and love each other.

 


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