Paulines Daily Reflections
The apostle Paul wrote letter to the churches. In one of them he wrote, "sorry I can't visit you myself but I'm sending Tychicus and Onesimus and they'll tell you all the news". (Colossians 4:7-11)
I wonder, are we good at keeping in touch? That small notelet, card or text message with a few words like "just to say…..I'm thinking of you, I hope that you are feeling better," We often speak about love and fellowship and these small actions can mean so much to us when we are feeling alone. We've all been there. We have all needed a few encouraging words at some time. How can you show that you care for someone even though you can't physically be with them? Lord, help us to reach out in love the way you reach out to me.
"If my people love me, they will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14: 23).
Are you familiar with the song by Dionne Warwick " A house is not a home"? I love that verse that says " a room is still a room, even when there's nothing there but gloom, but a room is not a house, and a house is not a home, when the two of us are far apart, and one of us has a broken heart" It's a beautiful song about a couple missing each other. God loves us and He wants us to make His home with him but more than this He wants to be the one in whom we live and move and have our being. He wants to be our home and live under the same roof as Him.
I want to live in God's House how about you?
I will never stop being mum even though my three are all grown up.
As a parent I taught my children how to do things that they needed to learn like bathing, dressing, cleaning their teeth. I prepared them with skills they would need to get on life. You don't find many mums grooming their adult offspring; my kids would become the laughing stock of their friends.
As a parent I also had a duty to help them spiritually and talk to them about my faith, the Bible and the reason I pray.
My one regret is that although I did all of this, my family don't worship. They never talk to me about faith and I feel that I have let them down. It says in the Bible "impress these commandments on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up". (Deuteronomy 6:7)
Where did I go wrong. Surely I made God part of our everyday lives? My prayer is that they will return to God. God is patient and I know that He is waiting for them to return.
TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More! "The Lord will continually lead you, meeting your needs and building you up even though you find yourselves in a land scorched by the sun. You will be like a carefully watered garden, like a spring unfailingly bubbling up with Water". (Isaiah 58:11)
When I was a lot more able I used to love gardening. Nowadays I still dabble a bit but I leave all that digging and weeding to someone else. I am quite happy to buy the seeds or bedding plants but I am only part of the team. I didn’t cultivate the seeds or plants because someone else did that bit. All I did was go to the garden centre and buy what I needed. This reading from Isaiah reminds us that we can’t do much without guidance and leadership. We can achieve so much more if we work with God rather than against Him. God is able to work with any one of us if we are prepared to work with him.
Are you the sort of person who is always taking on more and more? Have you taken on jobs that you are struggling to fulfil? Do you find it hard to say no?
We are all familiar with that saying “ask a busy person and it will get done”
Phillipians 2: 25-30 “Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you..... I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill. And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died....... For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while doing what you couldn’t do from far away.”
I don’t think that we are meant to kill ourselves doing the work we have been given.! Epaphroditus learned the hard way. We all have our limitations and we need to know when to say “no” and not feel guilty. We must look after our health, our relationships and families and learn to prioritise. A couple of days ago I used the acronym TEAM - Together Everyone Achieves More; remember we can all do a bit but we are not supposed to do everything.
I preached about angels. I wasn't sure what the reaction would be like but thankfully it was well received. Today I am looking at another Psalm where angels are mentioned. It says in Psalm 104: 4 "he makes winds his messengers and flames of fire his servants.
I love this Psalm because it reminds us of God the Creator. When we skip through to Hebrews 1:7, Paul quotes this Psalm when he says "in speaking of angels God says he makes his angels winds and his servants flames of fire." Jump to verse 14 and Paul wrote "are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation".
The second part of the psalm concentrates on fire. Fire is mentioned many times in the Bible. It says in Exodus 13:21 that God was the pillar of fire guiding the Israelites on their journey.
For me, this Psalm is a reminder that God sends his angels to watch over us. God is in control.
Our tongues have enormous power both for good and evil. The apostle James put it this way: "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body...With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.(James 3:6-9).
Commit your tongue to God. Beyond that, commit your whole self-your inner being to Christ and ask him to cleanse you of anger and hate, and instead fill you with his love and patience.
Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger".
A widow offered two small coins. When He looked up He saw wealthy people putting their gifts into the treasury. He said "this poor widow has put in more than all the others for they have contributed out of their plenty, but she, despite her poverty has put in everything she had to live on." That story is found in Luke 21:1-4.
How do you give? Is yours an offering like hers or a donation? When I bless the offertory I always ask God to bless those who placed their contribution in the basket and those who will make theirs through their bank accounts. But I always ask God to accept the offering of ourselves. We can all offer those free gifts of love and time to others. Don't do it half-heartedly or grudgingly but like that widow offer your all.
After all it's the thought that counts.
I was led to the story of a man who really didn't want to do what God had told him to do. His name was Jonah. Because of his disobedience he ran away, was caught up in a storm and swallowed by a big fish. After three days inside the fish he prayed to God for forgiveness and the fish did one mighty vomit and spewed poor Jonah out. (2:10)
The amazing thing is that he wasn't just washed up on the beach but according to scriptures some 500 miles away!
I am sure that we have all had second thoughts about doing stuff that we would rather talk our way out of doing or running away like Jonah. I personally don't fancy living in a fish’ gut! But Jonah's story is one about obedience. What is going on in your life. Are you fighting against something? What are you reluctant to do?
If God is telling you to do something trust that He knows best. He loves us and has our best interests at heart.
"The Son does whatever the Father does".(John 5:19).
Fathers are great role models aren't they. I heard Paul Merton (actor/comedian) in an interview recently describing how he liked to copy his dad and often as a small boy, whenever he got the chance he would put on his dad's big shoes, jacket and hat and imitate his dad. This guy loved his dad so much that he wanted to be just like him.
Jesus took all his instructions from God. "I am in the Father and the Father is in me" (John 14: 11).
He worshipped, He learnt scriptures and He prayed.
He often liked to slip away to be alone to pray because that's when He felt closest to his father.
Jesus was deeply spiritual. How about you. How often do you spend time alone with your heavenly father?