thoughts to share...

 

 

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1st July 2017

The Hand of Christ

The hand of Christ rests gently on my head,
Love’s blessings flow from God’s eternal heart
Into my veins.
The Spirit’s breath pulsates within my soul
And in the life that Christ has won for all
On Calvary’s hill
I step out gladly into God’s Creation,
There to praise the holy Name of God,
In triune-majesty forever reigning.
 
O God most high,
Most Holy Father, blessed Son,
and gracious Spirit, Three-in-One.
We bow before the eternal throne
and, in the strength of love received,
we give your love in blessing
to your world.


By Sam Doubtfire

 

Pentecost - Whit Sunday

Pentecost took place on the well-established Jewish festival of Firstfruits, which was observed at the beginning of the wheat harvest.  It was exactly 50 days after the Passover, the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.

A feast day to celebrate the country’s wheat harvest does not sound exactly world-changing, but that year, it became one of the most important days in world history.  For Pentecost was the day that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit - the day the Church was born.

Jesus had told His apostles that something big was going to happen, and that they were to wait for it in Jerusalem, instead of returning to Galilee.   Jesus had plans for his apostles – but He knew they could not do the work themselves – they would need His help.

And so the apostles and disciples waited in Jerusalem, praying together for several days. And then on that fateful morning there was suddenly the sound as of a mighty rushing wind.  Tongues of flame flickered on their heads, and they began to praise God in many tongues – to the astonishment of those who heard them. The curse of Babel (Genesis 11: 1- 9) was dramatically reversed that morning.    

That morning the Holy Spirit came to indwell the apostles and disciples of Jesus: and the Church was born.  The Christians were suddenly full of life and power, utterly different from their former fearful selves.  The change in them was permanent.

Peter gave the first ever sermon of the Christian Church that morning:  proclaiming Jesus was the Messiah.  His boldness in the face of possible death was in marked contrast to the man who had denied Jesus 50 days before.   And 3,000 people responded, were converted, and were baptised.  How’s that for fast church growth!

Of course Pentecost was not the first time the Holy Spirit had acted in this world.  All through the Old Testament there are accounts of how God’s Spirit guided people and strengthened them.  But now, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, he could INDWELL them.   From now on, every Christian could have the confidence that Jesus was with them constantly, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

 

Come, Holy Spirit of Jesus

(Rev 3:20 Acts 2:4)

At my invitation,
at the opening of my heart,
just as you promised, Lord, you come,
to ignite your flame of love and presence,
to leap through words of scripture 
and prayers and songs.

Into my life, Lord, you come,
bringing purpose, joy, peace
and the assurance
that this is just the beginning 
of forever and ever.

Holy Spirit of Jesus
come, fill me, comfort me, 
equip me, inspire me 
today.


By Daphne Kitching

 

Making Time to Pray...

I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I didn't have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task;
'Why doesn't God help me?' I wondered.
He answered, 'You didn't ask.'
I wanted to see joy and beauty
But the day toiled on grey and bleak
I wondered why God didn't show me
He said, 'But you didn't seek',
I tried to come into God's presence;
I used all my keys in the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
'My child, you didn't knock.'


I woke up early this morning,
And paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.

 

Author Unknown

                  

 

A Little Humour....

Enjoy!

A father was approached by his small son who told him proudly,

"I know what the Bible means!"
His father smiled and replied,

"What do you mean, you 'know' what the Bible means?
The son replied,

"I do know!"
"Okay," said his father. "What does the Bible mean?"
"That's easy, Daddy..." the young boy replied excitedly," It stands for 'Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.' 

========

There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old family Bible to her brother in another part of the country.


"Is there anything breakable in here?" asked the postal clerk.  

"Only the Ten Commandments," answered the lady.

 ========

Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the world.  There are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good morning, Lord," and there are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good Lord, it's morning."

 ========

A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn't find a space with a meter.  Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read:

"I have circled the block 10 times. If I don't park here, I'll miss my appointment.   Forgive us our trespasses."


When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note:

"I've circled this block for 10 years.  If I don't give you a ticket I'll lose my job.  Lead us not into temptation."

========

There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation:

"I have good news and bad news.  The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."

========

While driving in Pennsylvania , a family caught up to an Amish carriage.  The owner of the carriage obviously had a sense of humour, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign...

"Energy efficient vehicle: Runs on oats and grass.  Caution: Do not step in exhaust."

======

A Sunday School teacher began her lesson with a question,

"Boys and girls, what do we know about God?"
A hand shot up in the air.

"He is an artist!" said the kindergarten boy.


"Really? How do you know?" the teacher asked.


"You know - Our Father, who does art in Heaven..."

========

A minister waited in line to have his car filled with fuel just before a long holiday weekend.  The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him.  Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.


"Reverend," said the young man, "I'm so sorry about the delay.  It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."


The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean.  It's the same in my business."

========

People want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the centre of attention.

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                                                            The Heart of Things                                                                      

I had trained as an apprentice engineer in the maintenance of textile machinery and so when something went wrong with any of the functions, we set about repairing the fault and getting the machine back into production.

Now I see machinery on television which appears much more complicated and also uses the latest technology, most of which I would not understand. Such machinery operates at speeds which probably makes matters more difficult when anything goes wrong. I realise when talking to people involved, that diagnostic equipment which shows faults has also improved, so in fact problems are solved with haste. This results in goods and services not being delayed for too long.

It is the same with our cars. With all the added equipment, you need a computer to fix the faults and that has to be tuned for the error causing the problem to be fixed.

I often wonder when doing repair work, and now when I see the equipment operating, if the designers would have done things differently if they were the ones who would have to fix any problems that occurred later.

My thoughts, drifting around such things, often bring me back to our human frames and body make up, and I realise there must have been a designer of this complicated piece of mechanism we call us.

In Genesis Ch 1 to 3  we are told the designer was God. He looked at creation as it was developing and thought that a human person could live there and develop life and nature to make a beautiful planet. A great idea! -Adam and Eve became God’s representatives to start on the great task of making a world where people could live and enjoy the beauty of all that nature could produce for their needs of life to be met. Sadly, things didn’t go well along the way, and faults have occurred.

God persevered and in the end sent his son Jesus to try and sort things out. Unfortunately those who should have supported him became jealous of his popularity and we know the result was a Cross on Calvary. But God had other plans. This was the start of a new era to empower the friends Jesus had trained to take over the task of telling the people of the good news: Jesus was still alive and contactable to put things back into working order.

This is at the Heart of Things, the Gospel, the good news that God, though sometimes it does not seem like it, is still there to put things right when they go wrong.

 

Whisper a prayer in the morning,

Whisper a prayer at noon,

Whisper a prayer in the evening,

To keep your heart in tune.

 

For God answers prayer in the morning,

God answers prayer at noon,

God answers prayer in the evening,

To keep your heart in tune.

Now for the maths. I believe the human heart beats somewhere about 60 times a minute when functioning properly. How old are you?

So 60 X 60 beats per hour 360; 360 X 24 beats per day 8640; 8640 X 365 beats per year 3153600. How old are you? 3153600 X? Quite a total! My calculator had not enough numbers.  

I reckon for me there was a designer to make it all possible don't you? I call him God my guardian and heavenly father.

With thanks also to the many repairers in the NHS.

 

Yours,

Ron.

  

A thought for the year ahead...

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, "Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!"

And he replied, "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way."    Minnie Louise Haskins 1908

 

 

Why the Shepherds?

Isn't it strange that princes and kings,

And clowns that caper in sawdust rings,

That ordinary folk like you and me,

Are builders of eternity?

R Lee Sharpe

We were watching a recording of the "Big Sing" and as we enjoyed the carols, I wondered if they would sing "While shepherds watched their flocks by night" (they didn't). I could not remember singing the carol at any service I had been to this year and wondered why that was the case.

This started a train of thought about why the Angels visited the shepherds up on the hillside above Bethlehem when there were plenty of people in the little town. A fair question!

Let’s set the scene: shepherds getting together, having led their flocks through the day to find places to let them graze on the sparse grasses available; sheep hopefully settled for the night in their flocks; shepherds eating their evening food, drinking probably water from the oasis and chatting about their day’s travels and what they had seen. There would no doubt be some comments about how crowded the little town was because of the census requirements, whereas where they now were, all was quiet except for the murmur of the wind in the hills.

Suddenly all was to change. The sky lit up like they had never seen it before. There were singing voices with a big announcement about some baby that had just arrived and was born in a backyard stable at the inn. When things had calmed a little, they tried to come to terms with all that had been said to them, as though they were meant to do something about it. No doubt someone will have said, "We must go and see what all this is about."

They selected who should go and investigate, and who should stay and keep guard in case it was all some rustlers’ hoax to get them away so they could plunder their flocks.

Off a group went and when they got down the hill, they found all sorts of family reunions and get-togethers. They searched and asked until they came to the stable in the Inn’s backyard. As they entered, they found it to be as the Angel voices had proclaimed, "a baby in the cattle's manger."

Humbly, I reckon, they knelt and looked in awe and wonder at this little fellow sleeping in the cattle's feeding trough. They worshiped him and I figure they brought their gift, one of their lambs possibly born on that same day. "Amazing Wow!" (Remember our Christingle Service?)

What a story they had to tell their mates when they got to the hills: We have seen the baby that the Heavenly Choirs sang about – it’s really true! We felt he was someone very special!

It could all have ended there - they could have kept their secret.

In the Middle East in 1952/3 I saw nomadic shepherds with their flocks. They always walked in front when on the move, and you could hear them quietly urging their flocks to follow and keep up.

Our Shepherds were nomadic at the time of the birth of Jesus as they travelled about the areas finding grazing for their flocks. I reckon wherever they went they told their story of their night’s experience on the hills near Bethlehem because they knew in their hearts there was something very special about this baby. So the spread of the gospel, the good news, began.

Did you find time to stop among all your Christmas activities to think about that baby in the manger? Did you find him like the shepherds and think here is someone special? I hope you did and will, like the shepherds, mention him to others.

I pray you will - there has perhaps never been a more important time when the "Old, Old Story" needs telling.

With every blessing for the New Year.          

Ron        

 

Christmas Thoughts

Christmas is coming and the shops and T.V. adverts all remind us this fact, like it or not. No doubt you are making plans of how you will spend Christmas, most likely with family and or friends?

Advent 1 Nazareth

What about the family involved in the first Christmas?

It's the story of a young couple in love who were making their arrangements for their forthcoming wedding. Mary, the young lady involved, was thinking of her wedding dress, about the home she and her young man Joseph were hoping to have ready for when they got back from their honeymoon. At the same time, Joseph was busy fitting jobs in and getting nice pieces of furniture ready for moving to their new home together - great! Then suddenly all went awry. Mary had a visitor who told her that she was being specially selected to be the mother of a very special baby and before or shortly after their planned wedding, the baby boy - a Son - would be born. How could she break the news to Joseph? She had not been unfaithful but although she felt he loved her dearly, would he believe her story?

God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform and accomplish. He had a word with Joseph saying that he could go ahead with the marriage arrangements and that the baby Mary was to bare, by being born in this way, was His chosen way to communicate with the world.

We cannot imagine how the two of them braved the first face to face encounter to break the news they had to each other, but they did and their wedding plans went ahead.

No sooner had they got started back on making their arrangements than another change to their planning had to be made. Some official guy decided he needed to count how many people he had under his authority so he  ordered a census to be taken. It had to be a head count of where everybody was and where they were from - there were no web sites in those days 2016 years ago! So, it was pack a bag and go to the place of your birth register and be head counted. For Joseph and Mary this meant a long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. 

Ladies, think of Mary very late in her pregnancy, expecting her baby any time and realising how important it was that the baby would be okay. But  no matter. Authority said the journey had to made - no taxi, no National Express coach service, no British rail equivalent or small plane flight - just a donkey ride to Bethlehem. The place itself was full to the rafters with those, who like our young couple from Nazareth, had had to come to the place of their line of origin. They searched for somewhere as quick as possible. They must have been getting very desperate and very tired when they were offered that stable and the manger.

And so Jesus was Born in a Manger and I am sure it made his mother cry.

The special Shepherds, keepers of the flocks for offerings in the Temple, were in for a disturbed night too, settling down to sleep or doing their turn on watch chatting about their day around crowded Bethlehem. When suddenly the whole sky was ablaze with light and they could hear singing like they had never heard before. They all realised they were being asked to go and see this baby, who the voices said had been born. How they decided who went, we are not told, but some of them did go and found that baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. 

In another place out East, star gazers were looking up tracking the stars and no doubt logging the stars movements and positioning the new star they had been expecting. Wow, what a thrill for them! They must go where it guided them and with camels loaded, they set off to solve the mystery. Being human they got the first bit wrong, but where else would you look for a king than in a palace? Yet they were not giving up. They too found the special baby the star was all about.

So, what  of us?

 

Advent 2016 Pudsey

The best laid plans as they say...We are caught up in the general pre Xmas shopping spree even if we are not making a purchase. We plan out Xmas activities with family and friends and some fly off for new adventures to warmer climes. The list is pretty endless of the plans folk make.

It was as I sat day-dreaming and these thoughts were drifting around in my mind, I wondered what would I do if God stepped in and changed all of my plans?

Could I cope as Mary and Joseph did? Would I miss a night's sleep to go in search of some Baby which I did not even know about before? Would I pack my travelling gear and telescope, get the car out, fill it up with fuel and set off on what may be a wild chase?

My thoughts drifted on and I realised once again that the old, old story is for ever new and this story could happen again in 2016. The Baby Jesus said he will come again but no one - only God - has control of when, and where, and how it will take effect and in what place.

Why did Advent 1 happen when it did?

In 1952 while in Egypt's desert doing National Service, our Padre Rev Breakspear (A Methodist ) suggested to us that God chose then because He used the Roman Roads they had built for the spread of the Gospel. The good news of Jesus would journey to our own land in the U.K.  

We have truly international communication, the World Wide Web and mobile phones we cannot escape from unless we switch them off. The list of getting to people grows. God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. We know not how or when he will act and change all those well laid plans we make.

Things are going to be very shook up in the next few years. Donald Trump will be taking over in America, we have just heard the news of the death of Fidel Castro and his brother taking over in Cuba and in our own country we are on the Brexit journey. Not to mention the problems of the Middle East and other areas of conflict.

Could God use our plans and ways of communication to enact a second coming into our world affairs? Even Jesus did not know, so we can only rely on his words to his disciples that he would come again and receive us into his plans.     

May I suggest  we all start to replace the X and put Jesus in his rightful place in Christmas. If we do we can be assured that whatever happens, it is because God Loves us he will make it all come right.

Have a "Blessed Christmas" and keep in touch with the baby, he is great.     

Ron Walker

 

 

 

Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd = that's a Relationship!

I shall not want = that's Supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures = that's Rest!

He leadeth me beside the still waters = that's Refreshment!

He resoreth my soul = that's Healing!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness = that's Guidance!

For His name sake = that's purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = that's Testing!

I will fear no evil = that's Protection!

For thou art with me = that's Faithfulness!

Thy rod and thy staff comfort me = that's Discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies = that's Hope!

Thou anointest my head with oil = that's Consecration!

My cup runneth over = that's Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life = that's Blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord = that's Security!

Forever = that's Eternity!

Now face it, the Lord is crazy about you. 

 

And now for a challenge...

Can You Find the 16 Books of the Bible in this text?

I once made a remark about the hidden books of the BIBLE. It was a lulu kept people looking so hard for the facts and for others it was a revelation. Some were in a jam, especially since the name of the books were not capitalized, but the truth finally struck home to numbers of readers. To others, it was a real job. We want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. YES THERE WILL BE SOME REALLY EASY ONES TO SPOT, others may require judges to help them. I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of them, and there will be loud lamentations when it is found. A little lady says she brews cups of tea, so she can concentrate better. See how well you can compete. Relax now for there are really sixteen names of books of the Bible in this story.

(One preacher found 15 books in 20 minutes, but it took him 3 weeks to find the sixteenth one.)

 

A little humour...

God's Plan for Aging 

Most seniors never get enough exercise. In his wisdom, God decreed that seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things, thus doing more walking. And God looked down and saw that it was good. 

Then God saw there was another need. In His wisdom He made senior lose coordination so they would drop things requiring them to bend, reach and stretch. And God looked down and saw that it was good. 

Then God considered the function of the bladders and decided seniors would have additional calls of nature requiring more trips to the bathroom, thus providing more exercise. God looked down and saw that it was good.

So if you find as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember it's God's will. It is all in your best interest, even though you mutter under your breath.