Shape Me

person making pot

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

 

We who have a calling,

A mission of which we’re sure,

May think that ensconced at home

Is more than we can endure

 

“What of my great mission?”

A world I’m supposed to change

To do it from behind closed doors

Feels unnaturally strange

 

But what is my purpose?

What am I meant to be?

Is serving God and others

More that just about me?

 

Lord use this time of seclusion

To mould me as you see fit

Let me think of the greater good

And help me in this time to do my bit

 

It’s not about grand gestures

Or the numbers that hear my voice

But those I can keep safe from home

To “love my neighbour” is my choice.

 

Heavenly Father, shape me to serve you.  Make me a vessel of encouragement, a servant through prayer.  Lord instill me wisdom, and humility.  Lord watch over and protect all your people. Amen.

Padre

 

“But now, LORD, you are our father. We are the clay, and you are our potter. All of us are the work of your hand (Isaiah 64:8).” [see Isaiah 29:16; Jeremiah 18:1-9; Romans 9:14-24 as well]

 

Above Giants

Jesus, Christ, God, Holy, Spirit, Bible, Gospel, David

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A shepherd boy to Elah went

To deliver supplies – he was sent

But in that valley – the thing he did see –

Was a giant that made men’s courage flee

The huge braggart – did taunt and fume

He mocked Israel and promised doom

But then God – he did deride

This was more than the boy could abide

So with a length of cord and five smooth stones

The shepherd crossed the valley “alone”

But alone he wasn’t – with God he did proceed

An aid that makes giants small indeed

A whir and a snap, a crack and a fall

The man from Gath in the sand did sprawl

A God in Israel, that day David did prove

The Philistine threat, the Lord did remove

When we face giants – be they doubts or fears

Remember God’s still here after all those years.

 

Padre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of Whom Shall I Be Afraid

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Psalm 27: 1—“ The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Just about a year ago I lost my Uncle Woodie, and my wife Dianne was dying of cancer.  I was (as I do) reading through her prayer journal today and noticed that at that time her notes were about prayer for my Cousin Darlene and her family in their bereavement.  She also noted that she looked for opportunities to witness to her hospice nurse.  On the latter front I know that she did indeed testify to her on her visit later that week.  She made clear her lack of fear of death, and her assurance of everlasting life.  Dianne completed her entry with the verse above.

We are in troubled times.  The world has a lot of unsettled things happening.  People are concerned over disease, isolation, and employment issues as things seem to come to a halt.  But the same is true today as it was a year ago,“ The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Padre

Building a Kingdom

Tablet, Living Room, Dog, Woman, Girl

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Jesus said upon the mount,

“Blessed are the poor”

But have you ever bothered –

To read but a few words more?

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit” –

Those without big egos –

Or “me first” undue pride

 

So in these uncertain times

Put others first instead

Think of what they need and keep yourself inside.

 

Padre

 

 

 

 

 

Atmosphere

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It has been an inspirational couple of weeks with powerful messages being presented to challenge and encourage us.

The first of these was presented by Brother Larry in which he drew upon 1 Corinthians 16:15.  The passage in the KJV reads, “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints).”  The translation was purposely chosen to bring the emphasis upon the word “addicted,” rather than “dedicated.”  It is the overwhelming degree that is captured by the word “addiction” that makes the passage so powerful.

While Isaac Airfreight did a sketch decades go about being a “Bible Junkie,” it pales to the message of our brother, Larry.  His was not a comedy which used satire to make an emphasis, but rather an “in your face” challenge to let God’s call to service be over-riding in our lives.   He noted that addicts “live” for their “fix” and we should do no less in our relation to God and His people.

This is a kind of transformation.  Pastor Vince picked up on this theme when he noted that we by our presence (one transformed by our conforming to the image of Christ, and His presence within us) should change the atmosphere of our surroundings.  He drew upon Habakkuk 2 to note that though the world seems dominated by evil, God has an appointed time in which righteousness will prevail.  We should not bemoan the woes of an evil world, but trust in God’s ultimate victory, and be “watchmen” for the day when it will come, holding firm (being transformed – addicted even) to righteousness ourselves.

In Joel 2 we see this advanced, that despite calamity – if we “rend your [our] heart, and not your [our] garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness (v.13);” then “it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered (vs 32).”  It isn’t a sad countenance and a sense of defeat, but a trust that changes ourselves and the surrounding atmosphere.

Matthew 5 says we are “a light in the world.”  Not that “our” light shines, but God’s light shines through us.  We as we “go into all the world” should be like a city on the hill, a watchmen upon the walls.  We are through our conforming to Christ within us atmosphere changers.  We addicts to holiness are instruments of change.

In Acts 2 we see a handful of Jesus’ follows lighting up the world, when they are filled by God’s Spirit.  They spoke tongues of many lands, and later healed the sick and gave hope to a dying world.   If so few can “turn the world upside down,” should not we – their spiritual descendants be as addicted, as conformed, and become a new breath of fresh air in our world.   Let’s change the atmosphere.

Padre

 

Am I Wrong?

Submarine Sandwich, Sub, Subway

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Am I wrong to be shocked?  Am I inappropriate in my discomfort?

I was treating myself to dinner at Subway, when a young man in his late teens or early twenties (replete with ball cap and hoodie) came in to share news with the “sandwich artist.”

It seems the man had just come from accompanying his girlfriend to the hospital to have a scan done of their baby.   Okay, this in itself is not the cause of my shock.  Unwed families have become normative in the 2020s in the UK (over 6 million couples according to  the Office for National Statistics).

No, it is the conversation that followed that was the source of my discomfort.  The couple did not want to know the biological sex of the baby.  On hearing this the Subway worker asked if they had picked a name yet.   The response was that if it is a girl they want to name her Billie.  “And if it’s a boy?” the sandwich maker asked.  The reply made without a hint of jest or intended humour was “Lucifer.”  This then led to the pair discussing the benefits of giving your child a “unique” name.

I return you to my opening questions.

 

Padre

No Need To Fear

Jesus, The Good Shepherd

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John 10: 11 states, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  In these words Jesus is speaking symbolically of His relationship with His church, and literally in a prophetic tone of what is shortly to come to pass.

Speaking of the sheep under Jesus’ stewardship, the shepherd-king David reveals five promises that the Good Shepherd makes to us.  These are found in Psalm 23.

The first of these promises is found in verse 1 and 2: “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.”  The Shepherd promises to provide for our needs.

The second promise is that we will be provided with rest and revival.  Verse three reads, “He restores my soul. . . .”  This leads directly into the third promise: He will guide us and lead the way.  Not only leading the way, but preparing the way.  “He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (v 3).”

The fourth promise builds on this even further, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,  I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  He will accompany us in the darkest of times and provide us with emotional comfort.

The fifth promise, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever,” is one of overcoming.  Enemies and evil have no power over us in the presence of our Shepherd.  He, as in verse one, provides for us – our table prepared.  But there is so much more at this point.  We are anointed, and blessed to the overflowing.  Best of all, when our journey through the valleys of danger and the shadow of death is complete, we will find an even better rest than in verse 2, because “we will dwell in His house forever.”

We His sheep need to follow.  We need to stay close to Him, and maintain our relationship.  John 10 continues, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father (vs 14-15).  We need to know our Shepherd, and heed his voice.  When we do, we need to have no fears.

Padre

Based on a sermon outline prepared for me by Dianne on 21 February 2018.