Thoughts 23rd – 29th July

Thursday 23rd

Esther Ch 5 verses 1- 2    On the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her and held out the gold sceptre to her. So Esther approached and touched the end of the sceptre.

Doesn’t this just show how God prepares us to encounter Him?

We cannot meet God as we are, but just as Esther puts on royal robes, if we have the appropriate apparel, we are not embarrassed before Him and are able to open ourselves up to His Word.

Heavenly Father, help us to pray earnestly in thought, word and deed so that we become like your son Jesus Christ. Grant us an awareness of your presence, Oh Lord, as we open up our hearts and minds to you; and let us stand in the presence of the King of Heaven.

Glory to you in the highest!



Friday 24th

Matthew Ch 5 verse 13    You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost it’s flavour? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

If seasoning has no flavour, it has no use.  We’re the same as salt, if we do not affect the area we live in we have no value to God.  Salt is a natural bleach; it’s used to clean vegetables and purify them to make them safe to eat.  Salt also has a positive flavour which brings out the best flavours in food.  Salt was used in ancient middle eastern lands by a gift of salt when agreements were sealed.  This showed strength, permanence truthfulness of the agreed contract.  Salt is also a preservative.  Meat was preserved in salt, to stop decay.  We are to act as salt to stop decay in society, if we’re not doing that then something is seriously wrong.

If salt loses its salty flavour you can’t make it salty again, you throw it away because it’s of no use in cooking or cleaning vegetables from the garden.  As Christians have we lost our saltiness in society, are we ineffectual to people around us?  Do we bring flavour to our surroundings by being there?  Are we stopping decay from happening around us?

Lord, I ask that you make us flavoursome like salt that we have an effect on people around us.



Saturday 25th

Genesis Ch 24 verse 40    But he said to me, ‘The Lord before whom I walk, will send his angel with you and make your way successful’

This was Abraham’s servant retelling his mission to look for a wife for Abraham’s son Isaac.

Sometimes, when you go on a walk with someone you know well you can get caught up in conversation, and how you get somewhere becomes secondary to the enjoyment of being with that person and the conversation you are having. Or you can have a walk with someone and not say a word to each other but you can enjoy the presence and company of each other.

The Bible often talks about our relationship with God as a walk with Him.

When I go for a walk with Mark I know I will not get lost! He has an excellent sense of direction and is also good at plotting routes etc. I trust him.

Our journey or walk with God may be straightforward or it may be complicated and full of incident (and we may question God and ask Why?) but we know that God is for us and present with us every step of the way.

Let’s support each other as we all do our best to walk with our God.

Father thank you for presence with us on our walk with you.



Sunday 26th

Genesis Ch 2 verse 3     Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

For Sociology students, the Protestant work ethic is seen as the engine that made western capitalism successful, hard work, self-denial, and the threat of damnation for the lazy were a potent force.

Even today we are encouraged to work hard, save, build up a nest egg, buy a house, and join the successful, or is it the rat race? I understand that some people, particularly in the USA do not even take all their holidays, thinking it will affect their career prospects.

Yet we see that God worked and God rested, in fact, he blessed the day of rest and made it holy.  I firmly believe that the movement to a 24-hour 7 day a week society is detrimental to us as humans.  We need to rest, to spend time doing what we want, to just be with others, and allow our minds and bodies to recharge.  Not to be ruled by the whims of those who pay us, but to be ruled by the rhythm of God who created us, we work, we do our best honouring those who are our employers.  But then we put work aside, turn off the phone, computer etc, and allow the rhythm of rest to take over, and honour God in our rest as well as in our work.

Dear Lord Jesus, I pray that the challenges of life would include the spaces for rest.  That our rest would not just be a release from work, but it would be a blessing as we engage with the rhythm of heaven.



Monday 27th

Luke Ch 5 verses 37 – 39    “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins.  For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins.  But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. The old is just fine, they say.”

The wineskins mentioned in Luke were made out of goat skins which were sewn together to form watertight bags.  Because new wine expands as it ages, it had to be put into new wineskins.  A used skin would be no good as it would not be pliable enough, causing the new wine to burst out and spill everywhere.

Like old wineskins, the Pharisees had become too rigid to accept Jesus.  Jesus was like the new wine, he couldn’t be contained or controlled by their traditions or rules.  Are our church programmes and ministries too structured and rigid to allow the Holy Spirit movement to restructure new approaches, new ideas and new methods?  Have we become satisfied with the old wine and refuse to change and as it says here, but no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine?   The old is just fine.

We must be careful that our hearts like the Pharisees don’t become rigid so that we aren’t pliable to expand and accept new ways of thinking or doing things when the Holy Spirit moves and leads us into new ways of doing things.

Dear Lord Jesus help us to be pliable to accept the new wine that you want to give us, and if we’re not, change us so that we are ready.



Tuesday 28th

Job Ch 1 verse 21    Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

I always admire Job in his ability to praise God. He recognised that we came into this world with nothing, everything we have belongs to God. 

Even though Job underwent much suffering he still continued to praise God.

I must admit that praising God when life is difficult is very hard to do. Sometimes you have to grit your teeth to do it. Sometimes it seems impossible.

Somehow though praising God in the hard times is strangely releasing. We may never understand the hard times but we know that God loves us and will bring us through somehow.

Father God for all those who are finding it hard to see any good in life I pray for an extra portion of your strength and grace.



Wednesday 29th

Matthew Ch 7 verses 3 – 5    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

How easy it is to spot opportunities to “help” another person, especially if we have a hidden agenda? In such cases, such an opportunity might enable us to feel better about ourselves. However, if we truly want to help, we need to remember that none of us is 100% healthy and that offering advice without being asked for it usually makes the other person feel worse.

It is very easy to be insensitive to the pain of others and hurt them if we do not realise the pain that we also carry. You wouldn’t want an eye surgeon to operate on you if he couldn’t see clearly, would you?

Lord help us to consider our own imperfections so that, rather than trying to big ourselves up, we do what we claim to do and connect to others with compassion. Empower us with knowledge of your forgiveness to be aware of our frailties so that we can truly be “with” others.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.