I was recently asked why have I started to post reflections every day. Most of the reflections are bits that I have highlighted in my own Bibles and it's good to read through again and ponder what was it that the scripture was saying to me.
One of my favourite bits is from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Most of you know it. "Love is patient and kind....when you get a moment read it and then ask yourself "Do you bring out the good in people or the bad?" Do you help them to discover their potential or crush their confidence?"
When others condemned, Jesus offered forgiveness, when people saw bad, Jesus saw good. When they saw the worst he saw the best. We don't have to pretend that people are better than they actually are and ignore their faults but we are called to see the positive as well as the negative. When we do that, maybe we can begin to understand what it means to love and why love is so special.
Lord Jesus, help me to see the special, precious things that are so valuable in people and teach me how to love as you love me. Amen."
Think carefully about how you listen (Luke 8:18)
My brother in law has lost his hearing. He lives in a silent world. He can see, he can watch tv with subtitles but he can't hear. He has had tests to see whether a cochlea implant will help but sadly he is too sick to have surgery at the moment. In this day and age we have so many modern devices to help those who can't hear. We have discreet hearing aids, digital ones and our church has a loop system for the hearing impaired.
Hearing though is not the same as listening. How many of you have played "Chinese whispers" and what comes out at the end is absolutely nothing like what the original message was.
No wonder Jesus said to think carefully about how you listen. Those with ears to listen let them hear. When we hear God's message are we truly listening? Psalm 85:8 says "I will listen to what the Lord God has to say"
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.(Daniel 12:3)
Graham Kendrick wrote a song "shine Jesus shine". It's quite old nowadays by modern standards but it's one I like to sing and one of my organist friends hates to play!
The last verse is "as we gaze on your kingly brightness, so our faces display your likeness. Ever changing from glory to glory, mirrored here may our lives tell your story, shine on me...."
God told Daniel that if they led others into righteousness, they would shine like stars forever.
How much are you shining? Are you shining brightly enough so that Christ will see you and make sure that you shine brightly like a star in the sky for all eternity.
"come somewhere quiet", he told them, "and spend time with me by yourselves, finding rest" Mark 6:31.
When did you last truly pause and ponder? Do you make time for quiet reflection as often as you should? Is there time and space in your life for God?
Lord, breathe quietness into my innermost being.
Have a peaceful day.
"You will know how to live in the family of God"(1 Timothy 3:15)
Do you have a close family? or are they spread all over the place and you only hear from them at Christmas when you get a card.
When we study the Bible we learn about God's plan for us. He wants us to be sons and daughters in his family. The Bible gives us verses of joy, courage, satisfaction, forgiveness, togetherness and love. All these things are essential for a happy family life. Introduce someone to God and let them become part of the family.
"be sure that no-one pays back wrong for wrong, but try always to do what is good for each other and for all people"(1Thessalonans 5:15)
Relationships aren't always perfect whether they are friendships, relationships or marriages. I am still waiting to see that perfect person because no human is perfect. So how are you going to make it work? Develop peace, love, tolerance and harmony.
Transform difficult situations into something beautiful.
One of my favourite psalms is 139. If you don't know it I suggest that you find some quiet time to read it. Verse 16 "your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be"
God knows everything about us. He knows where we are and what we are doing and thinking and even what we are going to say but still loves us. What does it say in verse 6 "such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain".
Thank God that he welcomes us as we are with all our faults but He doesn't want us to stay like that.