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

by Susie Sharkey

“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21 ESV)

The angel who appeared to Joseph in a dream stated very plainly what Jesus' mission on earth was – to save people from their sins.

'Sin' isn't a word we hear a lot these days, but it's very interesting to trace it's history. It didn't start in the Garden of Eden with Eve being tempted to eat the fruit of the tree as she had been forbidden to do, but the bible gives us glimpses into a time in heaven, before Eden. Maybe hundreds or thousands of years before Eden – if time existed there at all: Ezekiel 28:15 tells us of an event when Lucifer, who was a powerful angel, one of the closest to God, had chosen to usurp God's position - to be 'as God' - – and God speaks to him, saying, “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousnesswas found in you.”  (New Heart English Bible). Unrighteousness is another word for sin.

Lucifer, who was later known as Satan, had rebelled against God. Sin, quite simply, is rebellion against God. Sin is the currency of Hell. When we sin, we are not doing something insignificant, we are doing Satan's will and not God's.  We are rebelling against God. The problem is, though, that no matter how sorry we are that we have sinned, we are unable to put it right. That's why we need a Saviour to put it right - to cancel out sin, which He did on the Cross at Calvary.

No wonder the angels that filled the sky at the birth of Jesus declared, “We bring you good news! A Saviour is born who is Christ the Lord!”

Thanks be to God! There is a Saviour we can run to and confess our sins – and be forgiven from them. 

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

by Susie Sharkey

John 1:16 & 17 “Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  

How can we receive grace in place of grace? First of all, let’s think about what the first grace is that we have received: it is the word of God that Moses heard from God and passed on to the Children of Israel as God’s laws. But how is the law an act of grace? Well, why do we try to teach our children right from wrong? To protect them; to help them make good decisions; to teach them to consider others’ needs as well as their own; to teach them that sometimes obedience without understanding the reasons why is often because we know better than them what is best for them. And that is why God gave us the law- not to spoil our fun, but to put in place limits that would make society work.  Surely, that was an act of grace- the gift of instructions for how to live a happy life.

And yet, we can not keep all of God’s laws, just like our children cannot keep all our rules. 

God, in His immeasurable kindness, decided we needed a new grace in place of the grace already received- and so the Word of God became a baby, who would grow up to make a new and living way into God’s presence by taking all the punishment for all thebroken laws onto His shoulders and dying the death we deserved. His resurrection, by the power of the Holy Spirit, sealed this new covenant that we can enter into with God.  And that same power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, is graciously available to us today to help us life the life of joy, peace and hope that we are unable to do under the law alone.  

That is the grace and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that will never lose its power!

The Thought for the Week this week is written by Eric Wylie

by Susie Sharkey

John 8:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT) .....and Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Go and sin no more. That was the problem.

Many years ago, when I first became a Christian. I heard the good news. I realised that Jesus would give me a new beginning, a fresh page but, I knew one thing for sure: That fresh clean empty page would soon be a terrible mess again, very quickly. I knew that I would ruin it and then I would be right back where I started. Fresh starts are all very good but, surely it's what you do with it that counts.

My fear increased when I realised that the sacrifice was once for all. Jesus had forgiven all of my past sins but, who or what could do anything about my future ones?

But then in this story about the woman taken in adultery, I noticed a secret that changed everything. The Pharisees were right, by the law she should be stoned to death. but Jesus replied to them saying "Let the one who has never sinned cast the first stone." That 'one' was Jesus Himself. The only one who had a right and a duty to kill her was Jesus. But he didn't. Instead He set her free. 

How could He do this, for her sins were not yet atoned for by sacrifice? 
Because He was on his way, even then, to do it. The fact that it was in the future made no difference to Him. He was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. In fact, because He had committed to that sacrifice so long beforehand, all of our sins were future sins to Him. Now the verse which says " Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins."(Hebrews 7 v 27) is a verse of hope and not of fear because, "all sins," means every sin, past , present, and future. We need only repent.



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

by Susie Sharkey

“You will see clearly” (Matt. 7:5 NIV)


We are told to “First remove the plank from your own eye and you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matt 7:5 NIV).

When a life begins, under God, to deal with sin in themselves, many wonderful changes begin to take place. One of those changes is in an understanding of life and a ‘seeing’ that wasn’t there before. It’s as if the sinner is lifted from dark pit of sin and their eyes are opened for the first time ever. Life begins to make sense. Their function and purpose in life becomes clear and, the greatest joy of all, is that God becomes near to them and the Cross of Jesus makes sense for the first time ever: “Of course, the Cross is the place of forgiveness and freedom from sin! I see it now!”

The more that sin is put to the Cross and eyes are lifted heavenward things become clearer and clearer. Specifically, as a humbled life finds more and more of the revelation of Jesus Christ within themselves, it’s as if a light comes on and the spiritual landscape becomes more real than the natural one. A discernment, without effort, becomes a daily feature of life. In humility, a redeemed sinner has entered into a useful and God-anointed new life to graciously and beautifully walk through this world carrying with them the loveliness of Jesus to every life who will turn to look and listen.

God equips us for the journey most wonderfully. And, in removing the plank from our own eye (sin, which was blinding us), we begin to see clearly.


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

by Susie Sharkey

Pride and Humility

Pride comes with being human, it’s as simple as that. We all have it, it’s like having an illness that permeates every part of the human race. To varying degrees, of course. Some people give it more ground than others and some deal with it sharply, even from their youngest years. But, it’s there causing trouble and is a danger to all of us and must be constantly watched, lest it gets a grip of us whether younger or older and frighteningly, whatever stage of the Christian walk we are at.

Pride is first found in Lucifer, the archangel, who claimed a throne higher than God’s in Isaiah chapter 14. Lucifer, also known as Satan and the devil was the channel through whom sin came to mankind. Pride came with The Fall of Man. It’s part of the human package.

Pride comes in many guises and says, “I am better than you!”, “I know better than you!”, “I’m more important than you!”

With pride comes a hardness and an impervious outer shell which becomes indifferent to the plight and needs of humanity and pursues a life of self-centreedness and self-appointed greatness.

Humility is the opposite of pride. Humility says, “You first!”, “What can I do to help you?”, “I genuinely care!”, “You first!”

With humility comes a graciousness and compassion that cannot exist alongside pride. Kindness grows and becomes a way of life. An inner happiness and a delight in everything beautiful becomes the spontaneous rises from the soul and, more than anything else, humility says, “O God, you are enthroned on high and I am a poor, helpless sinner redeemed by Jesus on the Cross and by your overwhelming mercy!”


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

by Susie Sharkey

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

This claim and declaration by Jesus is sobering in the uttermost. No one comes to the Father except through me.” No one (not a single person, individual, not a soul) - No one!

According to Jesus’ own claim in the gospel which the Church has been given to proclaim to the ends of the earth, no one will find the way to an eternity with God without finding Jesus in this life first. He is the only way. Oh yes, the gospel is wonderful, but it’s terrifying too.

A preacher once said, “If what’s in the bible isn’t true then it doesn’t matter, but if it is true nothing else matters!” Friends, it’s not as if we are all on a train heading to a pleasant destination and the Christians simply get to travel first class with lots of blessings along the way, with everyone else in the world travelling further back in other carriages. There are no other carriages! Jesus is the way, the truth, the life; He is the only way to God.

So, what if our friends aren’t interested or have decided they don’t need a faith in their lives to get through this life? Then we pray thatl their hearts are opened. Only the Holy Spirit can show a life its need of a Saviour. Preaching the gospel without the anointing of the Holy Spirit does more harm than good. Pray for the fire of the gospel in your heart until the salvation of a soul is your very life and breath. Be urgent, live ready: that means we must live in such a way that the flame of the gospel is burning inside us - and keeps burning. That’s what it is to live a holy life, like carrying a candle in a wind*, as one writer put it. Pray that God gives us a clear understanding of the gospel and the anointing of the Holy Spirit to share it. The time is short.

*Gerhardt Tersteegen 1697-1769

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

by Susie Sharkey

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15 v 58


In the past week there has been a seismic shift in our Nation. Everyone is on edge. Markets prices are falling, our PM is resigning, more than half of the Shadow Cabinet has resigned, over 2 million signatures have been added on a petition for another Vote to stay/leave the EU. Where, as Christians does that leave us? What should our reaction be to all that is happening around us? How do you feel in this time of uncertainty? If you voted to 'stay', should you be signing the petition for another referendum? Are you putting on hold your plans to move house as house prices may now plummet? Are you putting off that holiday to Spain/France/Portugal as the pound drops to it's lowest in 30 years and you've decided on a 'staycation' rather than a 'vacation'? Whatever you are feeling right now, God has the answer. As Christians we are taught not to put our assurance in money, career, possessions, but our assurance lies fully and completely in God. Paul said in Corinthians,'Let nothing move you'. In other words, 'Don't worry about what you see on the surface, don't worry if the whole world seems to be spiralling out of control, don't fix you eyes on earthly things, but look to God......LET NOTHING MOVE YOU. Find that place of peace in God that no matter what is happening around you, you have the assurance that God is in control, He knows the end of the matter and all He asks is for us to put our faith and hope in Him alone. Make a decision within yourself that no matter what 'bad news' you hear this week you are going to stand firm and let nothing move you.

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

by Susie Sharkey

“I press on” (Philippians 3:12) 

Christianity is not passive in any way. Let me explain: We can sit and wait for God to come to us with a blessing, or an answer to prayer, or perhaps waiting for some change to take place in our lives. We can simply wait and we may wait passively for a lifetime. Or else, we can press on into God and (reverently speaking) not let go of Him until He answers our prayers or meets our needs.

Jesus, Himself, said “ Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7 NIV)

 There is an attitude of asking, seeking and knocking in Christianity – or at least there should be. We should indeed, wait – but with an attitude of expectancy that the time of receiving will come. We should ask – but with the attitude of knowing that the answer will come. We must seek – knowing that God has promised that if we seek we will find. We  knock – knowing that God has already promised that the door will open.

 Speaking of heaven, Jesus said that the “violent take it by force” (Matt 11:12). I believe Jesus is directing us to an actively seeking attitude where we “press on” in everything we do, in everything we seek and pray for. God wants us to find Him, to hear from Him and to 'bring Him down' to the people . We do that by giving Him no rest from our vocal prayers, but also in the attitude of our hearts. Jesus told that the neighbour answered the door because of the needy man's importunity (Luke 11:8) – and so it must be with us – keep asking, seeking, knocking hour after hour, day after day until the blessing comes and the hand of God moves on our behalf!




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

by Susie Sharkey

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good..” (Romans 8:28 ESV) 

            This is a well known verse for many Christians and yet, is it so familiar that we have lost sight of it's full meaning? We understand that ultimately all will work out for us as Christians, that is a fundamental truth of Christianity, but what about the daily situations of life, do we stand on this scriptural promise then?

            It's always easy to believe this verse when things are going well, but what about in the dark days? What about when things in life go very wrong? I find a good way of beginning to understand a bible truth is to think of the extremes that are possible in life's situations and to try to apply that truth across the board (let me say here that it can be quite a sobering and difficult journey to think about the 'what ifs' we may encounter – be warned!). Let me explain...

            Ponder, first, the good times: things are going well. There is enough money, there is food, clothing and shelter, there is harmony with those around us, all things are working in our favour – there is no hardship at all. Easy to keep believing? Well, yes, but beware the temptation to forget God in the times of comfort and ease. We can trust 'in the flesh' all too easily and lose sight of His kindness, love and provision when life hands everything to us on a plate.

            What about when things go wrong, when life is tough and the impact of a situation shakes us to our roots? Imagine the death of that precious person very close to us, perhaps a child? Think of a terminal illness striking us out of the blue at a time when life should be opening upto us new and exciting possibilities. Think of a senseless act of wickedness ripping our lives apart (like those affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels) when loved ones are maimed and killed in a moment of madness due to a warped ideology that glories in killing innocents, or we ourselves find, in a split second of time, that someone else's wickedness or carelessness changes our lives forever. What about in situations like these? Are we still willing to believe that, “all things work together for good”? Are we even able to imagine for one second that God can turn these situations into blessings? Truthfully, it is beyond the ability of the human heart and mind to contemplate or imagine that that could ever be the case.

            To the human heart imagining good coming from evil is an impossibility. So, there must me a greater depth for us to discover here:

            True faith chooses to keep believing even when the darkness falls. Oh yes, there can be days, weeks or months of clinging on (as if by our finger nails!) without any assurance that God is with us, but there gradually grows within us a sense of light and yes, we can hardly believe it, a joy despite all our circumstances. The miracle happens when we hold-on in faith: instead of this shadow of darkness over us as it has been (whatever it is), faith in God brings us the miracle that turns things up the other way: our loving God is now shining down upon us and the shadow which was over us (still there, but of much less significance), is now under our feet. The miraculous change in our perspective means that our hearts are now free to praise and worship God. Our hearts are singing and joyful. The miracle we thought impossible has now taken place. We can hardly believe it ourselves. In addition to all of this, we are now in a place where we can bring God's love to others suffering in similar ways.

Helpful points:

  • Never look for a reason 'why' in evil – it doesn't exist.

  • Never ask, “Why me?” - you'll focus on yourself instead of God

  • Never blame God! God is love – in Him there is no darkness at all. Evil comes from the devil and is found in a fallen world. God is our help in the day of trouble.


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

by Susie Sharkey

Each person has his own unique relationship with Christ. It is not shared with another, despite there being many millions with whom Christ has and will open the door to communion with the Father, there is a special place of love and grace opened up for every soul who comes.  There isno other in all the world who can enjoy the place your soul shares with Christ. He has prepared it especially for you.

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

by Susie Sharkey

'But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.......' Luke 10 v 40

This week is Holy Week. Traditionally a time for reflection, contemplation and remembering what Jesus did for us at Calvary. But the sad reality is that busy lives, busy schedules  leave little to no room for 'reflection' and 'contemplation' in our hectic 21st century lifestyle. Busy lives is not however limited to the 21st century. It's not a new phenomenon. We read about it right back in Jesus' day. Here we have the well known story of two sisters and Jesus has come to visit. Martha we read is bustling about, making meals, seeing to her guests, making sure there is enough of everything to go around. Mary on the other hand is sitting quietly at Jesus' feet. Martha is indignant. Let's paraphrase: 'I'm running around, working all hours, looking after everyone and all my sister is doing is sitting beside you. She's doing nothing. Don't you think, Jesus, it would be better if she helped me and then we could both sit down and listen to you?!' If you were Martha, you would fully have expected Jesus to suggest that Mary helps her sister then comes back to sit with him, but no. He knew the moment,  He knew the hour, and in that moment, in that hour only one thing was important. It was important to sit at Jesus feet and listen to Him.

During this Holy Week, in spite of all the distractions, the work, the preparations for hosting family dinner on Sunday, take some time out to reflect, to contemplate and to sit and Jesus feet and hear what He is saying to you this Easter time.

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

by Susie Sharkey

“My sheep hear My voice..” (John 10:27 ESV)

There is from time to time the temptation to make Christianity acceptable and not-so-challenging and radically different as it truly is - to our friends, family and colleagues. It’s understandable in the face of constant criticism, persecution or victimisation, especially in the world today where multiple voices are speaking out for atheism and against Christians and Christianity, but we must keep the fire burning in our hearts and resist the indifference and secularism of the age we live in.

The truth of the matter is that Christianity is radically different! Our faith and belief in God is not just a set of ‘club rules’ that we choose to adopt, but is a wholly and completely different interpretation of life, death, the universe and beyond - one that has hope and love at its core and joy in the believer as the evidence of its truth.

One of the radical beliefs (and experiences) of the Christian is to hear God’s voice through the Holy Spirit speaking to them. That can’t be watered down or easily excused or explained away - nor would we want it to be! Whether it’s through a verse in scripture, through a prophecy given in a Church meeting or that precious still small voice inside our hearts, the Holy Spirit is constantly speaking to individual believers and His Church. In fact, it’s even more fundamental than that - the speaking of the Holy Spirit to His Church is the very life that sustains the Church! Without the life-giving voice of the Holy Spirit, the Church would waste away, atrophy and die without any hope of survival. The Church would cease to exist.

Christian friend, be proud to be different! Be joyful that having found the Lord Jesus Christ you can hear His voice through the speaking of the Holy Spirit and make it a point to be open and ready to hear His voice. Don’t apologise for your faith or try to make it more mainstream and acceptable, be thrilled that you and your brothers and sisters in Christ have found the Way to a God who still speaks to His Church! “My sheep hear My voice..(John 10:27 ESV).


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

by Susie Sharkey

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4)

We all know that one day we'll die. We don't like to think about it and, to be honest, our lives are so busy anyway, that we rarely get a moment to think about dying. But, illness or injury can bring it sharply to mind and I wonder, when we see things from eternity's perspective, whether illness or injury might appear as a blessing from the loving hand of a loving God who is giving us time to prepare for our final journey? Who knows?

All of us will die at some point, but it's just a matter of when. Some sooner, some many years from now, but one thing is certain - we shall not escape death at some point in our oh-so-short lives, so wouldn't it be prudent to be prepared?

So, what do we know about death? Jesus says to His followers, "I go to prepare a place for you and I will come back and take you to be with Me" (John 14:3). A place in heaven, with Jesus! Another dimension, not of this world. A place for those who have made Jesus the central lynchpin of their lives. They will go to be with Him. The bible makes it very clear that those who do not know Jesus won't. It's as simple as that. It's not politically correct, in this time of 'inclusion', but that's what Jesus says and we can't escape it.  However, if there was a day when you asked Jesus into your heart and were flooded with His peace then I need not dwell on that any longer.  You are safe in your Saviour's arms, only stay there and tend that bond of love with care that it might grow stronger each and every day.

The 23rd psalm in words we know so well, says, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, no evil will I fear for Thou art there". Every one of us will pass through that valley. The only safe way is with our hand in the hand of Jesus. He said He would come to get us - and I believe Him at His word. I had a great aunt (my father recounted this story to me), lying on her deathbed and very near her passing. Suddenly, light came into her face, she lifted her arm and pointed to the far corner of the room and said, "Look!" Everyone in the room turned to look where she pointed, yet saw nothing. When they turned back to the bed, she had slipped away from this life in that very moment. Did Jesus come for her? Or did she see into heaven? We'll never know, but take comfort from a glimpse she got of something wonderful, something good to look forward to for the believer.

Death isn't the end, but very much a beginning for those who put their trust in Jesus.

People have said to me so often, "But, I've lived a good life!" I answer them, "Friend, if we could get to heaven by living a good life then there was no need for Jesus to die on the Cross!" No, the slightest sin will keep us out of heaven, therefore, for us to live in the daily knowledge of sin forgiven is essential. Come frequently to the Cross for forgiveness. Remember, He is more willing and ready to forgive us than we are to forgive ourselves. Don't fret at all, but live ready! Live in the constant peace of a life walking hand in hand with a God they love and who loves them.


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

by Susie Sharkey

"Acquaint now thyself with God and be at peace: thereby good shall come to you.” Job 22v 21

New Year is a special time. It is a time to look back and reflect on the past year, the highs and the lows. It is a time to look forward, to the exciting things that will happen and the new adventures we could have. It is also a time for New Year resolutions, something we are going to do to make us feel better, to make us a better person, physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. Resolutions that will help us relate to each other in a better way and will ultimately give us something.

As my mind was turning to the New Year and what changes I would make in my life, what I could do to improve my life, I came across this verse in my daily reading and when taken out of context it gave me the answer I was looking for.

"Acquaint now thyself with God and be at peace and good will come to you".

I was struck by the simplicity of the verse. The answer to all our aspirations is all in God. It also spoke of a wonderful promise of peace and a life of good things. Here was a resolution that was worth keeping and following! Get to know God more and from that will come the reward of peace. What a wonderful reward! It ties in so closely with the vision that we have as a church to know God more through reading His word daily following The Bible Project. Reading God’s word helps us to get acquainted with Him, we learn more about who He is, His nature and His character. From this comes something that we are all looking for in our busy lives and that is peace. Peace with each other, peace with ourselves and more importantly peace with God. Peace is a place free from worry and tension. Peace will follow us when we acquaint ourselves with God. It is a place of peace regardless of our circumstances. The consequence of this resolution is that good will come to us. God's will out worked in our lives is always for our good. What a rest we have when we can trust our Heavenly Father to give us all the good things that we need. What a blessed hope and trust we can have in our Heavenly Father to provide all that we need for this year ahead.

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

by Susie Sharkey

John 1:5 says 'The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness cannot overcome it.'

The light that is referred to is Christ, who existed before time began. At the start of John 1 we are told that through Christ 'all things were made.' What was the first thing Christ spoke into existence? Light! Before God spoke, 'darkness was over the surface of the deep' (Genesis 1:2), but by the power of His word, light came into being and it was no longer dark. God then created a vibrant world to be enjoyed, not just by Him, but by the people He created; a world where God and man could live in fellowship with one another. But when Adam and Eve sinned, God's voice was like a light that exposed the darkness of their sin and they hid from it. Fellowship between God and man was broken.

Thousands of years later, God spoke forth light again into a dark world- but this time the Word became flesh and in 'Him was life, and that life was the light of men' (John 1:4). But in John 3:19&20 we read that 'Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil...and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.' Just like Adam and Eve, humans have a tendency to resist the light that reveals the darkness of their hearts. But, remember, 'the darkness cannot overcome the light', and 'God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (John 3:17). The light of Christ exposes our sin, but then sheds a glorious light on the way of salvation through faith in Christ: the light overcomes the darkness and fellowship with God is restored!

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

by Susie Sharkey

The Power of His Resurrection

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.  Ephesians 1 v 19 and 20

I was recently struck by a devotional reading which has stuck with me for the past few weeks. It was talking about power and in particular the power of the resurrection. I often think about this and wonder if we really realise the power that is in us through Christ Jesus? The bible tells us that the very same spirit that raised Christ from the dead, resides in that is Power!!! How much or how little do we avail ourselves of such power in our daily lives? So often we go through our days and weeks relying on our own power and strength to merely get us through, let alone get through victoriously and Praising God.

The devotional I was reading described the word 'Power' as coming from the Greek work'dunatis'  which can be translated as either 'dynamite' or 'dynamo'......what a thought.  When an explosion is set off by using dynamite, everyone around hears it, sees it, smells it, tastes can't escape the mighty power that is in dynamite, it affects everyone and everything around it.....and that same 'dunatis' that raised Christ from the dead is in us! My goodness, what a power!

 And let's not overlook the power of the dynamo, a different kind of power, more hidden, perhaps less noticeable on the outside, but is a constant flow. This reminds us of the constant flow of that power of God in our lives which is with us, hour in hour out, day in day out.

There are times when we need the dynamite power of God in our lives and there are other times when we need the dynamobut whether it be the dynamite or the dynamo, be assured that that Power (dunatis) lives in YOUR life...let us live as if we believe that with our whole heart and see the difference that this Power will make in your life.

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

by Susie Sharkey

The power of prayer

Philippians 4:6-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication and thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Most of us don’t need any convincing on the power of prayer or the necessity to pray but we may require some encouragement to keep on praying and to remember that it DOES make a difference. The story below illustrates so clearly how following the prompting of the Spirit to pray is so important.

A missionary on furlough told this true story while visiting his home church in Michigan.

“While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies. This was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point.

On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and then begin my two-day journey back to the field hospital. Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had been seriously injured. I treated him for his injuries and at the same time witnessed to him of the Lord Jesus Christ. I then traveled two days, camping overnight, and arrived home without incident.

Two weeks later I repeated my journey. Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. He told me that he had known I carried money and medicines. He said, "Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards."

At this I laughed and said that I was certainly all alone out in that jungle campsite. The young man pressed the point, however, and said, "No sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone."

At this point in the sermon, one of the men in the congregation jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked if he could tell him the exact day that this happened. The missionary told the congregation the date, and the man who interrupted told him this story: "On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. I was about to putt when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong that I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day stand up?"

The men who had met together that day stood up. The missionary wasn't concerned with who they were - he was too busy counting how many men he saw. There were twenty-six.”

This story is an incredible example of how the spirit of the Lord moves in mysterious ways. If you ever hear such prodding, go along with it. Nothing is ever hurt by prayer except the gates of hell.

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

by Susie Sharkey

Worry (part 1)

“If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NLT).

There's something special about being faithful in our journey with God day by day.We can live our lives our own way (My will be done) or we can ask Jesus to lead us and we can live life His way (Thy will be done). That's a huge change of direction for us, because even if we consider ourselves to be the nice person we think we are, we can still be missing the best for our lives by not involving God in every day, hour and moment of our lives – by not inviting Him to be at the centre of our very existence. So, how does this change the way we live? Well, take worry as an example. Lots of us worry about lots of things. Even if those things actually never happen. We can lose sleep and lose peace in our lives all because of worry. We know it's a waste of our time and energy and we know the things we're worrying about may never come to pass, but we still worry. It can keep us off our sleep, make us irritable and spoil the relationships we have with those around us, even those we love most dearly. We've all been there. But, when we read through the bible, we come across Jesus, saying, “..I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to ear.” (Matthew 6:25 NLT). He says not to worry! Is that even possible? How could I stop worrying? Surely, we worry because we're concerned about the future? About our homes, our families. Isn't it responsible to worry? And yet, we know that worrying just stresses us out and steals the joy and gladness which we have – or had.

So, we're faced with a choice: do we choose our own way (the 'self-way', the self-ish way) and worry? Or, do we try really hard not to worry and try to follow Jesus? Yes, we can know what to do, but doing it is a different matter. How do I actually stop worrying?

Let me explain...

It's impossible just to switch off worrying the same way we'd flick a light switch. If it's there, it's there. But, we can give it to Jesus. We can hand it over to Him. Remember, on the Cross He took all our sins, but also all our human weaknesses: Weaknesses and failings that trouble us on a daily, if not on an hourly basis. Lots of Christians have personally experienced this miracle – and it's not difficult to experience this yourself – and can be life changing. Try praying something like this: “O Lord, I'm worried sick about ….......... . I know You took all my failings on the Cross, please take this from me right now.” Then, inside yourself, see yourself handing the issue or issues over to Jesus at the Cross. Feel it go: let all that worry and stress flow out to Him and fill yourself up with His joy instead. It actually happens. In doing this, we are choosing to live life His way, rather than living our own way – and we've taken a step of being obedient to His teaching. It works for worry and stress, but for fears and irritability, jealously, hatred and every other negative emotion you can think of. Through this, we can get rid of all our negative feelings, even lifelong, entrenched feelings and discover a joy from beyond this world that will carry us through anything!

Try it and see!

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

by Susie Sharkey

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes." Romans 1:16

During a recent holiday I walked along Thotontonloch beach with Torness nuclear power station right in front of me. What power is produced inside that drab, functional-looking building. The impressive product of man's ability to think, plan and build can provide enough electricity to power 5 million homes!

Often when I look at diffculties I think of the power that I have to change things. I see a problem within my own home, family or workplace and think I have the ability to solve it myself. Sometimes I do get it sorted but often I am left frustrated or create an even bigger mess than before! Then I look at the major problems in our society and feel defeated because the might of governments and big organisations seems towering, impregnable and unable to be changed.

As I turned I saw the waves crashing onto the beach with relentless regularity. What was the power of these waves compared to the might of the nuclear reactors? And yet there was a greater power at work in theses waves. Waves that have been crashing onto that beach for thousands of years. Waves that have crushed shells to tiny grains of sand. Waves that have worn away rock and shaped the coastline. These waves will outlast that power station (without leaving toxic waste!).

Doesn't the power of the waves point us to the power of God? So often it's quietly at work all over the world, shaping lives and events. We can easily miss the depth and beauty of His ability to transform people and situations when we focus on what man can build. Sometimes we see dramatic displays of power that may seem to bring devastation but are always to further His work. The culmination of God's power is seen in Jesus Christ; the man who calmed the storm and walked on top of the waves. His disciples whispered among each other, "Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him." In Christ we see the power over death and sin displayed mightily at the cross; the power that still reigns today

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

by Susie Sharkey

'For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.' Luke 19 v 10

Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. Think of a child told not to play in a certain area of a garden or play park. They might not be told why not, but simply given the instruction, "Don't!" They don't understand why they are being restricted and see their parent as merely limiting their activities for some unknown reason: some meaningless, adult restriction meant to spoil their fun and their day. And, human nature being what it is, from then on, they more interested in playing in that forbidden region of the garden than any of the permitted areas. That's what adults are like too, I regret to say. The child won't see the hidden danger that the parent sees: the hidden gully, the lair of the poisonous snake or the cliff just out of sight. Nor will the child understand that behind the parent's don't is a parent's heart saying, "I love you and I will do anything to protect and save you, even if it means giving my life!" God says to us, "Don't steal, don't lie, don't use My name wrongly, don't live immoral lives..." and we see Him as the restrictive, joy-stealing God, who doesn't understand our desires, our needs, our wants and yet, could it be that He is our loving parent who is really saying, "I love you more than you will ever know and I would die for you to save you and protect you!"? It's just that we don't hear that part. We're so busy doing our own thing and after all, doesn't He understand that that is the only part of the garden we want to play in? So then, like the child who disobeys the parent and falls into the gully, or is bitten by a snake and cries out, "Help! I'm lost! I'm hurting! I can't find the way out!", we get trapped in our sin and our cries are just the same: "Help, I'm lost! I'm trapped! I didn't mean to end up here!" The parent then throws all thought of their own safety to the wind and rushes to where the child is and lifts them up, holding them close to their breast and carries them to safety. They would rather face danger, injury, or death to protect their beloved child, even when that child has been blatantly disobedient and defiant. They love their child. That love is all that matters, now. So it is with our Heavenly Father. We have become entangled, wounded and trapped in something much worse than an earthly danger: sin has entrapped us! Sin has eternally, entrapped us. But see, our Father in heaven has set in motion a rescue plan: He has sent us His Son to save us from the sin we have fallen into. But this time, there is no other way to rescue us but by His Son giving His own life on the Cross in place of our lives. An innocent life for a guilty one. We will never fully understand this, but the Good Shepherd seeks out the lost sheep, lifts them up and carries them home on His shoulders, rejoicing as He goes! The child rescued from the gully is forgiven, but may still have the scars to remind them of their foolish and disobedient choices and, so it is with us. Though we have called out in our need for the Good Shepherd to seek us out and carry us home, we may have to bear some of the scars of our folly for a while. But oh, the Love we've discovered in our God! We only saw the God of the Don't, before, but now, we see something of the true heart of our loving Father, sending His Son, to seek and to save that which was lost! (Luke 19:10). What a God we have!

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found Was blind but now I see! (John Newton, slave trader)