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Day 37 - Issue 26

Luke 14:17-18 NLT When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, “Come, the banquet is ready.” But they all began making excuses. One said, “I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.” One of the problems for all of us, since we all have a tendency to procrastinate, is ordering our priorities. The problem is that the most pressing or potentially rewarding priorities usually win. What’s the point of attending a banquet when I can be making a...


Day 36 - Issue 26

Habakkuk 2:3 NLT ‘This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.’ Procrastination, generally understood as failing to make a decision, comes from the Latin, meaning “for tomorrow” (pro crastinus). I have a tendency to do this as I always want to ensure that things make sense to me. Where they don’t, I crave time to think things through to a place where I...


Day 35 - Issue 26

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ My Myers-Briggs personality type, INTP, tells me that I live the largest amount of my life within my own headspace. Making sense of the world around me, and indeed making sense of what other people say or do, is primarily through my mental filters. The challenge is engaging with others in both making sense of them and being understood and...


Day 34 - Issue 26

Psalm 139:13-14 NLT ‘You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.’ I struggle with this statement of the psalmist the older I get. I’m not sure I thought twice about it as a confident youngster. Yet, as I’ve encountered life’s knocks, and my adaptability skills have been challenged and honed through each challenge, I don’t feel the level of...


Day 33 - Issue 26

1 Samuel 16:7 NLT ‘The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ It’s often said that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. This saying avoids all discussion about beauty, consigning it to individual taste. This might be useful in discussing the aesthetics of art or architecture, where we can hold an intelligent conversation around differences in perception. However, there are no overarching criteria for...


Day 32 - Issue 26

Matthew 6:28-29 NLT ‘Why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.’ There is much to be learned from learning to look properly. It suggests a measure of consideration, so invites the imagination to become engaged with the eyes. From spring onwards, I rise early as normal and make my way, with a mug of steaming green tea, to sit in the...


Day 31 - Issue 26

Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT ‘God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.’ One of the charms of St Cuthbert’s Oratory is the garden. Largely laid to lawn, Jayne and I are creating different themed areas. The far end is becoming a wild area. Success with veg in pots has encouraged us to establish raised beds and our own mini orchard. As for colours, Jayne is...


Day 30 - Issue 26

2 Corinthians 1:12 NLT ‘We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.’ In all honesty I am not always sure what I can say with a totally clear conscience. I’ve made significant decisions throughout my life, the consequences of which I am now left to explore at...


Day 29 - Issue 26

Matthew 6:31 NLT So don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’’ The original meaning of “worry” in English was “to seize by the throat and tear”, a phrase that remains in the sense of a dog “worrying” sheep. The very physicality of that description expresses the gripping anxiety that takes hold of me when I worry about something I lack, some threat or future event. There is a strong physical, as well as emotional, reaction which can...


Day 28 - Issue 26

Galatians 2:20 NLT ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ Conforming to God’s will for my life often creates friction within me. I know what I want to do and largely it’s not sinful. It’s more a question of priorities, but my instinctive priorities may not be my heavenly Father’s. God is not insistent, I am left with freedom to do as I choose – which has been God’s way from...


Day 27 - Issue 26

Galatians 2:20 NLT ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ Conforming to God’s will for my life often creates friction within me. I know what I want to do and largely it’s not sinful. It’s more a question of priorities, but my instinctive priorities may not be my heavenly Father’s. God is not insistent, I am left with freedom to do as I choose – which has been God’s way from...


Day 26 - Issue 26

Isaiah 26:3 NLT ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!’ Simplicity means singular or made up of a single part. This is our faith made up of one single commitment to love God and neighbour. In an increasingly complex world, it appears as though simplicity has been buried beneath a mountain of responsibility. I can think of friends, a couple who have rent to pay to secure a roof above their heads, both in employment to make ends meet....


Day 25 - Issue 26

Luke 12:20 NLT But God said to him, “You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’’ In the Western world there is an overemphasis on celebrity and wealth, making it easy to feel as if one lives in the shadows cast by everyone else’s success. Learning gratitude in what appear to be poor circumstances can prove difficult. Many business books and blogs frame success by the ability to build a successful business before concentrating on ‘giving back’ in...


Day 24 - Issue 26

2 Corinthians 10:5 NLT ‘We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.’ I recently enjoyed Professor Steve Peters’ book, [itals]The Chimp Paradox[end itals] (Vermilion). The author identifies three ways our brains can work. Firstly there’s you, what Peter’s calls the “Human”, a conscious thinking, analysing being that works with facts and truth and then makes deductions using logical thinking....


Day 23 - Issue 26

Luke 1:46-47 NLT Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” It must have been so frightening to be greeted by an angel and then told you are pregnant. Yet, Mary appears to take this in her stride. Engaged to be married, she has the challenge of informing her fiancé she is carrying somebody else’s baby. She has the unenviable task of saying it is God’s Son. Scripture does not record that conversation, but of all the explanations that must...


Day 22 - Issue 26

Matthew 11:28 NLT Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Gratitude is an attitude. So often I have treated it as a feeling. If I feel bad I act miserable, and can find little reason to express gratitude. This was Israel’s problem just hours after crossing the Red Sea. Life felt different, because it was different. They didn’t feel comfortable and so presented their complaint to Moses and through him to God, their...


Day 21 - Issue 26

1 Chronicles 16:34 NLT ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.’ When I started broadcasting with Premier Christian Radio, I was told to smile as I greeted my listeners. Sceptical, I obeyed, and found it warmed and softened my greeting. Smiling is good for us. Experiments show that a smile, even a forced one, slows our heart rate and reduces stress. Smiling triggers the mirror neurons in others and most often provokes a smile in response. In fact,...


Day 20 - Issue 26

Psalm 88:8 NLT ‘You have driven my friends away by making me repulsive to them. I am in a trap with no way of escape.’ The most devastating realisation any of us can encounter is a situation we are unable to resolve. The impact sucks the air from our lungs and we feel traumatised. How often have we managed to devise a way out of various scrapes? But when there is no way out, we are stuck. Coming to terms with such a stark reality demands much of us. We lose perspective and our peace...


Day 19 - Issue 26

Psalm 88:6 NLT ‘You have thrown me into the lowest pit, into the darkest depths.’ As a child I enjoyed riding my bike out into the countryside and then going for a long woodland walk. The problem was when I lost my bearings and then my way so that I became lost. I eventually made it back to my bike on each occasion, yet often only after a number of hours of complete lostness. The nature of lostness is aloneness. All decisions are mine to make, and I make them based upon a measure of...


Day 18 - Issue 26

Psalm 88:5 NLT ‘They have left me among the dead, and I lie like a corpse in a grave.’ After Katey died I felt forlorn, abandoned and alone. I’d been grieving one way or another throughout the 18 years she wrestled with MS. Yet, once she left this world, I began a new journey with grief. No longer could I sit alongside her, hold her hand, or gently stroke her cheek. The reality was hard to accept, harder still to embrace. In a similar way, I both lost sight of God and grieved the loss...