Monday


Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. – ‭‭John‬ ‭14:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

 

Troubled times show what is inside of us. It leaks out. We can’t help it. During this Corona virus we have witnessed all kinds of behaviour. Bulk buying in shops in order to stockpile. And toilet roles of all things. It’s laughable. One health worker of Filipino decent (born and educated in the UK) was going home after a shift at the hospital and a group of lads shouted at him to go home to China!

 

In a raging storm on the Sea of Galilee the disciples woke Jesus for fear that they might drown. To their way of thinking He didn’t act fast enough. Of course when He did they were blown away. It doesn’t take much for us all to resort to fear mode. And in that mode we rush, we rant, we scream, we blame, we judge and finally we scapegoat. After all someone must be blamed.

 

When we look at Jesus we see someone who never ran away from a crisis. Instead He showed what it was like to have faith in a good, good Heavenly Father. Read Jon 14.1 again. The antidote to a troubled heart is faith. Believing in the goodness of God. Jesus was about to be brutally beaten and crucified. Does a good God allow that? Yes, when it fulfils a deeper purpose, a redemptive purpose, a healing and restoring purpose.

 

Out of the heart the mouth speaks. If we center our hearts on faith in God then what we speak has real power to influence the world we inhabit. Jesus states the obvious. You believe in God. They were good Jews. They believed in God. But then He presents His disciples with a different challenge, ‘believe also in me’. That’s different. That’s local. That’s here and now. That’s immediate. That’s in your face!

 

As the church we believe in God. We know He’s King. We know He’s sovereign. We know He’s Lord. We get it. But maybe we need to be challenged the way Jesus disciples were. Do you believe in your spouse? Do you believe in your kids? Do you believe in your leaders? Do you believe that maybe they carry something? That your faith in them could release the potential in them. Wasn’t that what Jesus did when He said to Peter, “I give you the keys of the Kingdom……..”. Would we do that to someone we didn’t’ believe in?

 

When we believe in people we invest in people. We cheer them on as they use their gifts to serve a wider purpose. And each of us brings something to the table. We all have a part to play. So instead of being troubled during this troubling time let’s live by the faith we profess. Let’s centre our hearts on faith in a God who is good, on a Saviour who ever lives to make intercession for us, on a church that has been empowered to make a difference in a world filled with brokenness and pain. I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. And I believe in you – the church. Here to bring peace, help, service, kindness and words of encouragement to troubled souls. And who knows, maybe they to will start to believe.

 

– Peter Prothero

Wednesday


There’s no doubt that lockdown has brought massive disruption to what used to be everyday life. You may have had high hopes that these past few months would finally provide you with the time to complete that project, write that book, learn that instrument, or get those abs, and yet we’re weeks and months down the line and things still remain unfinished (or even unstarted!) Or if even more seriously your work, relationships, wellbeing, and even health have been shaken by this time, 2020 will certainly stand as a boulder in the living room of our lives for some time.

 

With these in mind, lockdown life has a tendency to feel like wasted time or even a season we can’t exit and forget about fast enough. Yet in 1 Corinthians 15:58, Paul exhorts us to ‘Be steadfast and immovable, always working wholeheartedly for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted.’ I have an encouragement and a question for you. My encouragement is: Scripture tells us that time and efforts that may seem to be wasted or useless in our human wisdom does not go unnoticed by God. My question is: What have you been doing with the Lord during lockdown?

 

In 2 Peter 1:5-8, Peter challenges us to ‘add to [our] faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ’. Whilst I’m so thankful for Zoom and Facebook and online services, I realise that I can’t just expect my destiny to be handed to me, or my journey with God to be walked for me. How have you trained and equipped yourself during lockdown for the next big move of God that is just around the corner? Let’s get specific: How is your prayer life going? Your Bible reading? Your connection with fellow believers and evangelism to non-believers? Even your mental wellbeing, diet, exercise, sleep, work, and rest? How are you ‘walking in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called’? – Ephesians 4:1.

 

If you do use lockdown life as a training ground instead of a season to be endured, 2020 will still stand as a boulder in your life, but not as an obstacle or stumbling block, Instead it will act as a solid foundation upon which you will build 2021 and beyond. There has been no wind in our sails, but that doesn’t mean a current in the water can’t cause us to drift if we’re unaware.

 

We are not responsible for the drift, but we are responsible for correcting our course when it happens. We are not responsible for our first reactionary thought, but we are responsible for our second thought and our first action in response.

 

What you are sowing during lockdown will be reaped as it eases. Your 2021 will be affected by the foundation you lay in 2020. Come on, even if you can’t see immediate overnight results, always work enthusiastically for the Lord, knowing that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted. That morning Bible study, that extra few minutes of prayer, that active participation in Sunday online worship, that caring text to a friend. None of it is wasted. 2020 is not a wasted year with everything on pause, but a chance to renew your walk and catch sight of your destiny again. Chisel the boulder of 2020 into a platform to launch you into destiny.

– Chris Huckle

Friday


Psalm 57

My heart is confident in you, O God;
    my heart is confident.
    No wonder I can sing your praises!
Wake up, my heart!
    Wake up, O lyre and harp!
    I will wake the dawn with my song.
I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
    I will sing your praises among the nations.
10 For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
    Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

 

David is someone who faced many difficult and seemingly hopeless situations in the bible. In Psalms we read about the pain and anguish he was experiencing in those times, yet we also read about his unwavering trust and hope in God. 

He wrote these words from Psalm 57 whilst fearing for his life and hiding in a cave, but he didn’t give in to fear because as he wrote, “my heart is confident”. He was confident in God, and his hope was in God’s unfailing love and faithfulness. 

David writes, “wake up my heart!” or in other versions he writes, “Awake my soul!”, It is like he was saying to himself “come on David! Wake up out of your fear and worry.“ Maybe in his dark cave he had become spiritually sleepy, allowing his situation to overwhelm him and steal his focus and this Psalm is him giving himself a bit of a wake up call to stop focusing on his problems and to focus on God! The fact was, that although David had experienced many difficult situations he had also experienced God’s ability to bring him through all those situations. He had seen God’s goodness and faithfulness and he therefore knew that he could put his hope in God. In fact earlier in Psalm 39:7 David writes “And so lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”

 

Maybe in this time of lockdown, where like David was stuck in his cave, we have all been stuck in our homes. You have also perhaps gotten stuck in your thoughts and feelings and have let your worries overwhelm you. Maybe you’ve lost focus on God and become spiritually sleepy. Maybe you need to stir up your sprit again and say to yourself “wake up!” Don’t forget who the one we put our hope in is, remember what he has done for you, read the word and allow him to bring a fresh revelation of his goodness, love and power. We do not need to fear!

 

I also encourage you to do what David did and praise God! Put on a praise song and allow your praise to get louder than your fears! It is such a powerful thing to sing out God’s praise and declare his goodness in the midst of a difficult situation. It shifts and changes the atmosphere around us. You will come away feeling refreshed and filled with hope!

 

David writes “I will awake the dawn with my song”

I try most mornings to make sure my first thoughts are those of praise and thanksgiving to God, often the words to the song “How great Thou art” are the first words I think of. Doing this helps awaken my spirit each morning and position my heart and thoughts to a place of trust and hope in God and I am then better prepared and ready to face another day with God by my side, whatever it may bring.

 

– Faith Matts