The Thought for the Week this week is written by Susie Sharkey

by Susie Jean Sharkey


“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭NLT‬

Theres a song we often sing in the church called “Wonderful Grace”. I love the line in the song that says “wonderful grace that gives me the time to change”...I often sing that and pray that as a thankful offering to God. It’s a quality of God that He bestows on us, that we seldom find out in the world. Slip up, make a mistake, take a wrong road and you have those who are ‘on our case, on our back’, hounding us, telling us we’re not changing fast enough.....not God. His grace is extended towards us and He gives us time, He gives us space to change into the likeness of His son. And that grace is extended to us every single moment of every day.....how humbling it is to think of that. God looks into our heart and He sees our frustrations, our frustrations at ourself, at the baby steps we take instead of leeps and bounds and He tells us “my grace is sufficient for you….” Oh, the kindness of God towards us. Grace is a gift that is given to us; cherish it with all your heart and thank Him for it.


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Jenny Revolta

by Susie Jean Sharkey


“Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.” Luke ch 7 v 44-45

Christians were the largest religious group in the world in 2015, according to one research organisation. It stated that nearly a third (31%) of Earth’s 7.3 billion people claimed to be Christian. 31% equals 2.3 billion people who professed to be christian (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/05). 

The sheer number of people could cause us to wonder if it really matters what we do, we are just one out of that 2.3 billion professing christians! Does He really see and know our every thought and action? And is it really significant to Him how we act and what we think? It seems so unlikely. It obviously matters greatly what the Abrahams and King Davids do, and the Billy Grahams and the David Wilkersons of our modern times. They have influenced their world for God. But what about the ordinary, everyday individual?

We know that He loves us and knows us altogether - the bible tells us that even the very hairs on our head are numbered - which, when you think of the sheer numbers of people alive today, is a phenomenal thought. But does it actually matter to Him what we do, moment by moment?

God spoke to me about this through a lovely poem by Amy Carmichael called Mary’s Kiss. The 2nd verse says:

“Rich is Thy harvest, O Thou Corn of Wheat:

A cloud of lovers gather round Thy feet.

What miracle of love that Thou shouldst miss

Low on Thy feet, one kiss.”

There are billions who love and worship Christ, some do what the world terms a ‘great work for God’, some who are completely unknown, and everyone who is in between. Yet God knows each and every one, and He misses our love if we do not bring it. He knows when one is missing and that matters to Him. He does not miss our ‘goodness’, our ministry, our works, our service, our effort. He misses our kiss. And a kiss is something that everyone of us can bring, it is the simplest yet most precious of things. What a miracle of love this is - the God of the whole universe sees us individually, amongst a cloud of 2.3 billion others, He knows what we do and think, and He misses our kiss of love if we do not bring it.




The Thought for the Week this Week is by Mandy Stinglehammer

by Susie Jean Sharkey


“Create in me a clean heart……….” psalm 51 v 10

I recently came across some books about Fred Lemon, who in 1950 had a miraculous conversion experience, where Christ appeared to him in his prison cell.  This is just a little of what Christ showed him:

“Clearly yet gently, Christ traced the whole of Fred’s criminal life up to the desperate present,  the drinking, the violence, the bad friends and the crime that had brought him at last to Dartmoor, on a charge of robbery with violence. He spoke of the good things too, of Fred’s small kindnesses and his efforts to reform. There was no harshness in the words, only love”

This encounter with Christ transformed his whole life.  He suddenly was given hope, hope that only Christ can give, that he actually could change, and could become a better person. He had his struggles at the beginning, as it wasn’t easy for him to extract himself from his former life, and his former habits. Yet at critical points on his journey, often when he was ready to give up, it was people in his church who stepped in to help and support, both materially and spiritually. He was eventually powerfully used by God to bring many souls to Christ, often from similar backgrounds of crime, addiction and violence.

As I read I was struck  by two things: 

Firstly, the wonder of God’s renewing, restoring, transforming power. We may not have been living in a criminal underworld as Fred had, but that same miraculous power is there to transform every one of us.

And  secondly, just how vital it is for us as individuals in the church to be ready to come alongside those just starting on the journey, to be aware of their needs and to help, encourage, and support them


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Maureen MacKenzie

by Susie Jean Sharkey


“When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted Himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that free from sin we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 1Peter3 (v23 )

Theme: A Suffering Heart.

 

Many of us suffer in different ways: weariness, illness, loneliness, through relationships or ageing. It is possible to be dragged down by negatives e.g. things we can no longer do, physical pain and worries. How do you respond to suffering in your life?There is a defence mechanism in us that wants to hide pain and push it down into the depths of our being. However, it is never dealt with when we do that and often re-emerges to cause trouble. 

There is another response, which initially we shy away from. Open yourself to Christ and let Him make his home in the part of you that is hurt. Christ suffered and died for us – he knows our difficulties.

Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”

 Jesus can work through our sufferings to bring peace, wholeness and blessings.

How can suffering help us to progress spiritually?

·         We have more time to reflect on our life, leading to conviction of sin and repentance.

·         We have more compassion for others who are suffering.

·         We are drawn closer to Jesus and depend on him.

·         There is nothing for SELF in suffering which leads to greater humility.

·         God can take away fear of suffering and death.

·         If we open our hurts to Christ he can make us whole.

 Let Christ open your suffering heart and expand the boundaries so that you may love Him and others more deeply. Christ will treasure the gift of your suffering heart and take loving care of you.

 


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Flo Buchan

by Susie Jean Sharkey


See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you.

Exodus 23:20 (NLT)

 

God spoke these words to the Israelites as they prepared to face the next stage of their journey to the Promised Land.In his Christmas radio broadcast to the nation in 1939 King George VI quoted the poem by Minnie Louise Haskins:

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” 

And he replied: 

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” 

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.

And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East

 

We are still fairly near the beginning of the year 2019. We don’t know what lies ahead. While the future is not as challenging as it was for the Israelites preparing to fight to claim the Promised Land as their own, or as dangerously unpredictable as it was in 1939, we are nevertheless at a time in our nation of unusual uncertainty. 

As well as this many people will be facing difficult, challenging and heartbreaking  circumstances in their personal lives. God knows the future and nothing is uncertain to him. He knows our lives from beginning to end. He knows our future, our country’s future and the world’s future. God gave his angel as a guide and protector for the Israelites and he gives us Jesus Christ as our companion and friend to guide and protect us through the year ahead whatever may happen politically or personally. God will lead us safely to the place he has prepared for us ... safely into a deeper place in him and ultimately safely to our eternal home.


The Thought for the Week this week is written by David Shuttleton

by Susie Jean Sharkey


“Wilt thou not quicken us again: That thy people may rejoice in thee?”–Psalms‬ ‭85:6‬ ‭Revised Version 1885

Recently, as I bowed before God to pray and seek His face early one morning, blanket wrapped around me as I knelt by my bed as I do, the word revival dropped into my head. I tried to concentrate on praying through, but the word came into the forefront of my mind again. I knew then that God was speaking. I was mindful of the fact our beliefs are rigidly based on scripture, being warned of God in the last verses of scripture not to add nor take away from His Word. I then thought around the fact that salvation, Jesus saying we ‘must be born again’, baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking and singing in tongues, sanctification, holiness, consecration, purity, all the many gifts of the spirit, healings and deliverance, are all mentioned throughout the scriptures. I knew revival was not in scripture yet it is such a core belief and drive in our fellowship, and indeed around the world with all real Christians. How could this be? I thought that perchance it was there at least once but that I had forgotten about it. But deep down I knew revival was not in the bible. To be absolutely sure I turned to the bible App and the ‘search’ option. I keyed in ‘revival’ and several verses popped up. Immediately I scanned the first and saw that revival was not there. I said to myself ‘I knew revival was not in the bible!’

My entire life is consumed with prayer for revival, in fact I feel it is the call of my life, yet it is not in scripture. I was no little confused and perplexed. I read the first verse out of interest and immediately I was hit with a bolt of lightening as the verse was a perfect description of revival! “Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts; Cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.”–Psalms‬ ‭80:19‬ ‭RV1885‬‬.

I then eagerly looked at the next one only to find it was another perfect description of revival but from another perspective altogether! “Wilt thou not quicken us again: That thy people may rejoice in thee?”–Psalms‬ ‭85:6‬ ‭RV1885‬‬. And so it was in all of the verses quoted. A huge range of definitions or descriptions of revival, as wide ranging as I could ever have imagined. A core teaching of the bible! 
One of the most beautiful was from Psalm.85:6-10, “Wilt thou not quicken us again: That thy people may rejoice in thee? Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, And grant us thy salvation. I will hear what God the LORD will speak: For he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: But let them not turn again to folly. Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; That glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” It was as if God was giving me an entire sermon in one moment. 

I knew then that revival was, in fact, in the bible after all.


The Thought for Week this week is written by Rhian Jewell

by Susie Jean Sharkey


“And let the peace that comes from Christ RULE in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 NLT

 I was interested to learn that the Greek word BRABEUO was used by Paul in this verse and translated as the English word RULE. Brabeuo means to arbitrate or act like a referee or umpire. Like an official who watches a sport in order to enforce the rules are adhered to and arbitrate on matters arising from play.  

As fallen humanity we are often ruled in our actions by our own ideology, fear, anxiety, wilfulness, desires, distrust...to name just a few. These motives can act like that referee,  directing the outcome, decision and direction of our hearts, minds and actions.  They can narrow our life down , restrict its quality and bring disharmony with others. Paul teaches that as those who are redeemed , we have access to a wonderful new referee in our lives. We can have the gift of God’s  peace. This peace within our hearts will show the way that is right for us to live our lives. It is given as an umpire or referee to help direct us in this life and keep us close to Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life.  How wonderful to be at peace in our hearts and with the ‘members of the body’ of Christ.  

As we walk with Him this week let us listen to the referee of His peace within us and endeavour to hold onto it every moment of every day. 


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Donna Atkinson

by Susie Jean Sharkey


“ Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes 5 v 18 (NLT)

This verse was part of my daily readings recently and it challenged me to stop and think ‘am I thankful in all circumstances?’ I am thankful in some circumstances but usually the ones that make me feel happy or that I see as blessings. But the verse doesn’t say to be thankful in the good circumstances or the pleasant circumstances, it says all circumstances! So what are all these circumstances? Here’s a few that I came up with and I’m sure you can think of some others to add to this list:

• our home circumstances;

• our relationships within our own families and with friends;

• our work life and the responsibilities and burdens that come with that;

• our spiritual life and how we and ourselves before God and in His church;

• our health, both physical and mental;

• our leisure time and hobbies;

• our financial circumstances.

These are all things that we find ourselves in day by day and week by week. Sometimes these are very good and pleasurable and it’s easy then to be happy and thankful. But what happens when our circumstances are not going well. When our job is getting too stressful or we have been hurt in a relationship. Maybe our health is not good or we are facing financial difficulties. How do we react then? We become grumpy, irritable, short tempered, impatient, unkind, depressed and so on. We certainly don’t feel thankful! We want our circumstances to change and then we will feel better or then we will be able to give more time to someone and be more patient. Then we will feel more relaxed, less stressed and then we can be thankful. But this verse challenges us to not behave like that and to be thankful in all circumstances, in other words all the time because our circumstances are in God’s hands. This is not easy and if we’re honest, it doesn’t come naturally to us. But God knows that already and He has provided a way for us to get the help needed so that we can be thankful.

Philippians 4 v 6 says “ Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard our hearts and minds.” (NLT) and in verse 19 “God will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” So when things are not going well we are to tell God about it. He wants us to speak to Him and be honest that we are finding things hard or lonely or whatever it is that is upsetting us. God has all the resources needed to help us in our daily lives, they are glorious resources and given freely to us through Christ. Our circumstances are not a surprise to Him. When we speak to Him and thank Him for all He has done for us then we will experience God’s peace! What a wonderful promise! We will experience peace and our hearts and minds will be guarded against all damaging thoughts. Surely then from that place of peace our hearts will be at rest and we can be thankful in all circumstances.


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Janice Henderson

by Susie Jean Sharkey


When the rains fell and the flood came, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation.  Matthew 7 v 24-27 (TPT)

I was blessed to have a week in the sun after the new year conference.  Late one evening out in the balcony looking up at the stars i was uplifted and suddenly aware that my life was standing on a solid foundation,  in Christian language we would say ' standing on the mountain of God ', the words alive within me were 'all other ground is sinking sand '

Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakeable foundation.  When the rains fell and the flood came, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation.  Matthew 7 v 24-27 (TPT)

How do we get to this place of unshakeable stability in our lives? the illustration of the wise man makes it very simple to understand but it takes daily practise of building on the ' Rock ' who is Christ our firm foundation.  The wise man has wisdom and this is his protection and safety, God loves us so much that he wants to keep us safe and secure in His unchangeable perfect love.

Do not forsake wisdom, love her and she will guard you.  Proverbs 4 v 6  

Overawed to find the transformation in my own life from brokenness to absolute security in Christ I knew how this had happened, it wasn't overnight but the final piece of the process just quietly fell into place. Particularly over the last couple of years, life had brought a circumstance where I was continually disappointed at first this suffering was very painful and I could only take it to the Lord, each time I cried to the Lord and laid it at His feet the pain lessened, recently I was enabled to hand it over to the Lord again then suddenly the revelation came not only was I standing on the Mount of God, but face to face with God! GLORY!!! 

We are those who build, with a weapon in one hand and building materials in the other.  

Nehemiah 4 v 17.

Everything we lay at the feet of Christ, our troubles, infirmities of body and soul, even our joys, He transforms from' Dust' or 'Adam' until layer upon layer the foundation of our ' house' is solid and will stand for time and eternity.

For just as all people die because of their union with Adam, in the same way all will be raised to life because of their union with Christ.  1 Corinthians 15:22 (GNT)

Finally, when the rains and winds come, others will see that our lives are standing on Christ and will come to take refuge because we love the world through Christ, the highest point of vision.  Amen





The Thought for the Week this week is written by Elaine McKenzie-Smith

by Susie Jean Sharkey


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end, They are new every morning. Lam3:22

The prophet Jeremiah speaks these words from a dark and troubled place. The people of Judah refuse to heed his warnings to repent, and soon the land would fall to Babylon. He says he will never forget this awful time, but he dares to hope when he remembers the faithful, steadfast love of the Lord.

We can pass through difficult times. The loss of a loved one, poor health or financial problems. We can feel burdened for our families and friends. We may feel disappointed with ourselves or others. God does not ask us to forget these difficult times or pretend that we don’t hurt, but He calls gently to us to lift up our heads. To dare to hope, to remember His love never fails and His mercy is endless and new every morning.

As we come into spring and the season of hope and new birth, let us lift our eyes to our Saviour. Let us walk into His light in the confident assurance that He loves us and will never leave us. That He is able to take the burden from us and set us free to worship Him


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Paul Sharkey

by Susie Jean Sharkey


1 Peter 5:8 NIV “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. “

Spiritual Warfare for Young People 

          Let's be honest, when we think of Spiritual Warfare, we think of someone who's been a Christian for many years, far on in the things of God. They are definitely not young, they are probably a bit tedious and boring, certainly not fun and probably someone we can't relate to very well. We imagine them locked in an unattractive room, with nothing but their bible before them, on their knees for hours at a time, praying away to God about serious issues and fighting against “evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12). It's a million miles away from our lives and, frankly, we can never imagine ourselves doing that sort of thing. Not ever.

                    But, day-to-day Spiritual Warfare is very different from that for most of us. Yes, there will always be those prayer warriors who can pursue the things of God in these spiritual dimensions and we are very, very grateful for them, but God knows where each of us is in the Christian walk and also knows what we're capable of in our youth and in our personalities. So, where is the Spiritual Warfare for young people?

The devil will at this very moment be fighting for two areas of your life:

 !.    Your time

2   Your attention (what you're thinking of) 

          It's as simple as that. If you spend every free moment staring at your phone, the devil has won. He has your time and kept your attention miles away from the things of God (It's in the quiet moments, like travelling, or just before sleeping, or maybe walking between classes, that our minds are free and we can fire a quick prayer heavenward or, the Holy Spirit can draw near to us and perhaps speak to us). If our time and attention are taken up with the latest posts on social media, we've missed those precious moments when God might interact with us or, quite simply, a chance conversation may start up with the person next to us that might lead to them coming to know Jesus.

 Spiritual Warfare Beginners Course in brief: fight for your time and, your attention!

 

 


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Alison Speirs

by Susie Jean Sharkey


In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3 v 28

At the beginning of the year it is timely for us to consider again how we relate to one another, both to people who think and act as we do, but also to those who take a different perspective on life.
In our societies there is a tendency to, what I will call, “Tribalism”, that is a tendency to see ourselves as identifying with a group of people whom we see as like ourself. It can be a family group, a racial group, a religious group or a political party. The tendency is to see ourselves male or female, black or white, rich or poor.  When times became difficult or challenging in society, such as the crisis over exiting the European Union, the tendency to “Tribalism “ becomes stronger as we feel the need to look for an enemy to blame for the insecurity of our current experiences.  Thus it is the fault of the Tories or the European Parliament or the banks.
We should reflect that Christ, while He was here on earth, did not allow for the tendency to group or categorise but instead He dealt with everyone as individuals with their own particular combination of good bad bad and to everyone His message was the same,


“You must be born again, you must see the errors of your past, make restitution and follow me.”


This is the only tribe to which we belong the tribe of all believers, be they black or white, male or female Jew or Gentile.


Let’s resolve again this year to treat every person as an individual and look for what unites us and not for that which divides.


The Thought for the Week this week is by Rosalind Creighton

by Susie Jean Sharkey


No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; Joshua 1 v 5

I inherited one of my dad’s many Bibles when he passed away earlier this year. In it,  I found notes he had made on Joshua 1:5-11 and 3:4-6. I was just about to pray for God’s guidance on an important matter, and Dad’s notes could not have been more apt. Dad seemed to have written the notes to share on a Sunday morning at the start of a new year. I don’t think he would have minded me sharing them with you.

Joshua 1:5-11 says: No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”


In Joshua 3:4, the Children of Israel are told: “you have not passed this way before.” The promises given to Joshua are ones we can take into the start of the year ahead - the unknown. Joshua was called by God but God didn't call him without enabling him. Three times God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous because he was not going in his own strength but in the strength of the Lord: in verses 5 & 6, God promises victory; in verse 7 & 8, He promises to be our guide and in verse 9 He promises He will never leave His people. 

Take these words of the Lord with you into 2019 - where you have not passed before - knowing God’s promises never fail. 


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Andy Creighton

by Susie Jean Sharkey


The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned...

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:2,6

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12

If you’ve walked down Buchanan Street in Glasgow recently you can’t fail to be struck by the lights outside Frasers. It’s the scale and the power of the lights, contrasted with the surrounding darkness that causes us to stop and stare. It’s for good reason that those living in the northern hemisphere have, for countless generations, had festivals focussed on light at a time when sunlight is so limited.

Darkness in the Bible represents death, evil and hopelessness. As we are so conscious of the physical darkness at this time of year it’s also good to remind ourselves of the spiritual darkness that we experience within our own hearts and in our surrounding culture.

Timothy Keller, in his book Hidden Christmas, speaks of sunlight bringing three things: life, truth and beauty. We need the light of the sun for life as without it nothing would grow. We need the light of God’s son to bring us out of the darkness of sin and back into a right relationship with our Heavenly Father. Then we have life in all its fullness. We need light to show us where we are going.  Jesus, the light of the world, shows us the right path if we walk with him, sometimes following, sometimes beside, and sometimes being carried. We need light to reveal beauty. A sunset or a glorious summer day bring great joy. But that joy is fleeting and should point us to our true source of joy - our Lord Jesus Christ.

The shepherds, ordinary, lowly, unremarkable men, saw the glorious light of God shining all around them but were led to the source of the light, lying in a manger. Our only true response should be, like them, to bow in adoration and worship.


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Mandy Stinglehammer

by Susie Jean Sharkey


“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others….” Matthew 20 v 28

I love the fact that Christ turns our preconceived notions upside down!

It started with people expecting Him to become an earthly king, but he said I ‘come to serve, not to be served’. He is more powerful than any earthly king, but came to earth in a stable. His disciples thought they would reign with him, but he said the first shall be last.

They thought children were not important enough for him to bother with, but he said ‘Let the children come to me.  Unless you become like them you won’t enter the kingdom of God’.

Nobody would talk to the ostracised woman at the well, but he did. People thought the woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death, but He stopped them and told her, ‘Go and sin no more’.

They thought it was over when he was crucified, but he rose from the dead. Everyone thought his disciples were finished, but 2,000 years later...........

Hallelujah, the story continues to this very day


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Graham McKenzie-Smith

by Susie Jean Sharkey


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5


News headlines have always been full of scare mongering and misery but we’re certainly living in times of particular global worries. The uncertainty of Brexit, superpowers flexing their military muscles, mass migration, terrorism, global warming…the list goes on and it’s too easy to fall into the trap of fearing the future for ourselves, our children and the whole planet.

As Christians, we have our eternal hope in Jesus but this doesn’t mean we don’t have worries for our immediate livelihoods and lifestyles. We can praise His name in our meetings but then worry about rising costs or rising oceans. Another trap is to try and read the times and how it may fit into God’s plans, raising the question of being in the end times - Can we expect the rapture soon or shall we continue paying into our pensions?

We cannot understand God’s methods. His plan is beyond our lowly thoughts. Our responsibility is to trust in Him wholly, not partly and not in a vague abstract manner. He will protect and provide for each of his faithful no matter the circumstances that surround. God knows today’s news as He knew yesterday’s and knows tomorrow’s, and He knows your place in it. Trust in the Lord. He is faithful.


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Susie Sharkey

by Susie Jean Sharkey


Luke 1 v 46 ‘Oh how my soul praises the Lord……’

Yesterday we saw the beginning of Advent and for the next 24 days I am following a bible plan that takes us through the Christmas story. This morning during my quiet time I read from Luke chapter 1 where Mary speaks, what has become known as ”the Magnificat” where she worships and praises God while visiting her cousin after the visitation of an angel to tell her she is going to have a baby. I must confess, my own little quiet time was not enough to take in the magnificence of the Magnificat. Each verse could be a study and a meditation on it’s own for the next twenty four days, and let’s not forget, these words were spoken from the heart of a teenager. Verses such as ‘His mighty arm has done tremendous things’ and ‘He has filled the hungry with good things….’

Why not use the Magnificat over this advent season to draw closer to God and experience the awe and the wonder that a simple teenage girl long ago felt when she encountered the divine.

Read Luke 1 verses 46 to 55 ponder, meditate and be filled with awe.


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Paul Sharkey

by Susie Jean Sharkey


“Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons”

(Luke 8:2)

 

            We'd prefer to hide our sin. We're perhaps ashamed of it and nervous of the consequences of speaking it out and telling it to a Church Pastor, or a friend.

We push the memories and the guilt of past sin deep down within our being and hide it away as best we can. We even hide it away from ourselves and try to forget about it and never let it enter our conscious mind. But, we do ourselves harm, if we do this. 

            God's way is confession, forgiveness and cleansing. Sometimes we simply have to confess our sins privately to God, but other times we need to speak them out. Why? I don't know, but the bible acknowledges this in James 5:16 “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed” (ESV). There seems to be a breaking of the sin's power over you by speaking it out – for the next part of the verse says, “that you may be healed.” Healing of the spirit and being, and, who knows? Maybe the body too as a result of that. 

            Don't try to go through life carrying bitter, guilty memories that are still causing harm inside. You won't be happy; you can't be happy until these things are dealt with. Bring these dark demons out into the Light of Christ Himself and feel the deep cleansing and forgiveness that only Jesus brings – purchased for you on the Cross at Calvary. Don't delay. Move on this.


The Thought for the Week this week is written by Mandy Stinglehammer

by Susie Jean Sharkey


Ephesians 2:8,9 NLT

God saved you by His grace....you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

We can never deserve the grace of God, no matter how we try!

It doesn’t matter how often we pray or read our bibles, or go to church, we will never do enough to earn the forgiveness of God. How could we, when it required such a price? It was Christ who won our forgiveness for us. We will never be worthy of this, even if we are good right up to the day we die. It will never have been sufficient for a holy God.

What liberation when we fully realise this. We can stop worrying about whether we are good enough, but relax in the love and forgiveness of God, and serve Him with a grateful, rejoicing heart.

And what evidence of His grace that he chooses human channels to move through. The effectiveness of the blood of Christ is so miraculous that it can make an imperfect channel clean enough to bear the anointing of God!




The Thought for the Week this week is written by Alison Speirs

by Susie Jean Sharkey


 “Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.”Mark‬ ‭11:22‬ ‭NLT‬‬


Faith


I’ve been reading an excellent book which was loaned to me by Vicki Russell, it is called, “The Real Faith for Healing”.  It is an updated version of a book on faith by Charles S. Price who was an old time Pentecostal minister, deeply used in healing during the first half of the twentieth century in America.
In it he addresses the vexed question of why some people are healed and others are not.  In his consideration of this question he draws a distinction between belief and faith which I found very useful.  His view is that for healing to flow we need the gift of faith to be in operation and that in seeking healing we err if we pursue the healing and not the Healer.  He writes at some length about receiving the faith for healing as a gift from God and gives many examples both from the lives of those who were healed and those who were not.
I found his thoughts and reasoning very convincing and without a doubt he was a man deeply used to minister healing to hundreds of desperately sick souls.  He gives many instances of remarkable touches of God in the book.
At the end of it I came away with a sense of rest that the healing Christ is the same Christ as the one who offers us salvation and who gives us His love.  The one thing that is required of us is that we sincerely seek His face and listen for His voice as His presence is, at the end of the day, all we need and He alone has the divine perfection which places healing within the structure of our lives as He chooses.