Tag Archives: thought for the week

Thoughts for the Week: Two is Better Than One

My thoughts for today are to say praise, well done and thank you. In the midst of so much sadness and fear and what many would say is a dark place, both of the chapels which I love and call my own’s people did something good. Long Compton held a flower and produce show and Long Itchington did an outdoor Harvest thanksgiving. Both gave people an opportunity to have a place to meet and for some to show their talents while keeping to the rules. It was a time for people to forget the problems of the world while doing something good.
There are two short passages in the Bible that bring together the Old and New Testaments. In 2 Chronicles 15 v7, the Spirit of God says, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” and in Galatians 6 v9, “let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”.
Going back to the beginning of lockdown, the 22 miles between the two chapels might have kept all the people further apart but the Holy Spirit must have had some part of Sally’s request for a weekly message to put on Long Compton’s notice boards and the THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK was born. I admit I didn’t think of it as a way of joining the two chapels initially but very soon I hoped that whatever thoughts I might have with God’s help could also be used with Long Itchington; in other words, two for the price (no cost) of one. I’m always ready to take and try a special offer when I’m shopping and so, with Lisa’s help, we were drawn together so that the THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK went out to many people.
When Jesus said ‘spread the Good News’ I believe that is what we have been doing and will continue to do and pray for the day when we are again free to worship with the choirs to pray and sing once more.

PRAYERS

Almighty God,
We come once more to pray. As we listened last week to the Last Night of the Proms and sang the words “Britain never, never, never shall be slaves”, we pray to you that at times we do feel like slaves because of the virus which threatens our lives again. We pray for help knowing Your will must be done. We look to our Lord and Saviour, your Son who also called out as He was about to be crucified, ‘not my will but your will’. AMEN.
Understanding God.
Lord you know that at times we are not strong as the words from Chronicles said, so today we reach out to the Holy Spirit to help us with His power to come through these difficult times. The words were also for us not to give up and again Lord, although we do not want to give up, we might struggle to go on, but with you at our side we know we will be able to keep going. AMEN.
God of all the world,
Our prayers are not just for us but for the suffering world. We pray for all of that suffering that we see on our televisions, the children who are starving, the babies that are born with damaged bodies, the mothers who find it impossible to feed their babies, the call from our prayers are for the world to change as You would have it. AMEN

Thoughts for the Week: Encouragement & Positivity

Two weeks ago, I mentioned Barnabas who was called Son of Encouragement. After Saul had been challenged by Jesus on the Road to Damascus and changed from prosecuting to being a believer, Barnabas was his encourager, saving him from the negativity of the Apostles to the positivity of the Mission that he, Barnabas, and Saul now named Paul had been called to.
I remember when I took skittles into the church and asked for volunteers to have a go at knocking the skittles down, only to pick them up again. I must admit that most of the congregation enjoyed the games and there was no problem in getting players but there were a few people there who were appalled at playing games in church. There was, of course, a reason for it as we then looked at life. Sometimes we experience a time that seems just like the game of skittles. First of all, we have a bad time that makes us down in heart followed by something good that lifts our souls, then soon afterwards another bad time happens. It seems that we have only been stood up to be knocked down again.
I was reading an old copy of the Grace Magazine which is now out of print, and I read what one unknown author had written about how being positive is good for our hearts and minds.
I will talk health instead of sickness; will talk prosperity instead of failure;
I will carry good news instead of bad news; I will tell the cheerful tale instead of the sad tale;
I will mention blessings instead of my burdens;
I will speak of the sunshine instead of the clouds;
I will think of the cheerful things, not the gloomy, and my thoughts will shine in my face;
I will praise, whenever I can, those who are putting forth an honest effort to perform their task creditably;
I will always remember a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.
The following was a saying by John Armstrong (1709-1779):
KNOW, THEN, WHATEVER CHEERFUL, AND SERENE, SUPPORTS THE MIND, SUPPORTS THE BODY, TOO.

PRAYERS

The Direction by Richard Harries. URC Prayer Handbook
Holy One
From whom all things come and to whom at the last they return,
We give you thanks that you have set us on the way,
Able to look both backwards and forwards, to remember and look ahead.
We remember before you the good times and the bad, the pleasure and the pain.
We regret at the times we have strayed from your path and gladness that you have drawn us back again,
Especially we remember before you those who have loved us and prayed for us and influenced our lives for good.
As we look ahead, conscious of the uncertainties of life, we cannot see where the horizon lies or what stretches beyond it, but we know, O God, that you are the direction in whom and to whom we move, enable us to journey on with courage and with hope, and to be a source of encouragement to those we meet on the way. AMEN
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
Almighty Lord of all the world, last week we prayed for the people of Beirut whose homes had been destroyed and at that point there was a chance that more people might be found. Heavenly Father, although we have not heard of any more being found we thank you that more people had been made aware of their situation so that they can have more help.
Loving God,
We look out across the world again to another disaster and through our televisions go to Lesbos, a Greek Island where the homes of refugees have been burnt to the ground. We have been horrified to know that hundreds of people of all ages have been living in small tents and even those have gone now. Many of us will have holidayed in Greece and not known of this island or situation. We are ashamed and ask that the refugees might be found better places to live, In Jesus name. AMEN

Thoughts for the Week: God’s Hope Overcomes Despair

Day after day our news reports are about the effect that Coronovirus is having on our country. We hear about the number of deaths there have been, the number of people who will lose their jobs, the businesses that have failed to continue and have closed down. Today our children and young people are going back to school and we hear how difficult it will be for the teachers who seem to me to have worked very hard to make sure that everything is in place to make it safe for the children. I can say that as the grandmother of a six-year-old who came home declaring, “Mummy I had to wash my hands at least 20 times today!” I also have a grandson who has found it difficult not to be able to go to school until now.
I feel that we have not been taking much interest in the way Coronovirus has affected all the other countries in the world until there is a disaster and even then, it is soon out of our news. As I began to write my thoughts for the week, the news was about Beirut, the Capital of Lebanon. I thought how soon the tragedies of other countries fade from our memories. Today, the focus was on Beirut where the terrible explosion took place recently with hundreds of deaths and thousands injured and homeless. The city is flattened, the people are devastated but not without hope. There, in the middle of the rubble they have built a cross, quite a simple cross but it stands out. A bright blue cross, not fancy to look at, but a Christian cross of hope in God and our Lord Jesus Christ. I wondered if the Christians had experienced difficulty when they built it considering that only a third of the people in Lebanon are Christian, while those of the Islam religion are 69%.
Going back to our own problems caused by the pandemic in our own country… I was recently pulled up sharply by my friend for speaking about our country as If I was seeing little hope in many ways for the future. She was right to prevent me from going down such a path. I apologised of course and it was a few days later when I saw on my television screen that brand new cross, set in the rubble, and the people who were determined to beat what had struck them so hard after many other drawbacks they had experienced over previous years.
For many people the experience of terrible suffering from tragedies can become overwhelming and yet, like the people of Beirut who built that blue cross, there was hope because they were looking for God’s purpose to bring them through the terrible time. It is the same for us, whatever we are feeling we need to look for God’s purpose.
God made promises of hope to the people in exile and, although it meant a long wait and many of the people were not going to be alive to experience what God’s purpose was for them, they would have left this earth for a better life in heaven. We can read about the promise in the book of Jeremiah 29 part of which is in v.11-13. As follows.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and I will listen to you.”

PRAYERS

Loving God, as we read Your words to Jeremiah, we learn a lot of what was happening to the Hebrew people and can see reasons for ourselves to come to you in prayer. The people had been taken into exile, which meant their lives had been turned over, and instead of calling out to you, Father, they were ignoring the fact that you are always ready to listen as they turned to false prophets.
Father, if we have stopped relying on you to help us through the results of the Coronavirus. we come now repenting from any time we have complained about our situation and not realised that we have taken the path of truth. Forgiving Lord, you have brought into our minds the people of Beirut and the terrible situation they are in. We pray for them today that they will get help from Lebanon and from other parts of the world to help them rebuild their town and their lives. Just as I finished the thoughts for today a voice had been heard in the rubble and the people were frantically digging through the broken homes – a chance to save another child.
The promise you made Lord was for your people to find the plan you have for them. Today we pray as You told us to for peace and prosperity and as we pray for ourselves, we also pray for those who are suffering from all the countries of the world. Lord God, we know that the plans you have for us will be the right ones, showing us your promise. And we thank you and praise you in Jesus name. Amen

Thoughts for the Week: God Never Changes

My thoughts for this week are all about change. Ever since lockdown, we have lived with change and have managed it. Some have found it too difficult and have needed other people to help them to cope.
Forgive me for mentioning my cat Nala again. Every day she goes round the house and garden sniffing not only things that are new but everything that has changed, and Lisa and I spend time with her to calm her down and to make her feel safe. My thoughts for this week are more about people, of course, for we all go through difficult times and need help.

We all know the story of the good Samaritan. A man lies beaten up and is in a desperate state. Two apparently good people walk by and leave him there and then a hated foreigner comes by to help the man, even as he puts himself in danger. He puts the man on his mule and takes him to an inn and pays for him to be looked after. If the Samaritan had kept to the rules of his own country, the man would have died.
Day by day in lockdown there are changes; why? The government gives us rules to abide by because thy say that they are necessary to save others from becoming ill and dying. But, because they keep changing, many people are finding them difficult to keep to, and this leads me to God because GOD NEVER CHANGES. Throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New, God tells us what is good and right for us and I suppose we might call them rules. But, what are rules?
Most rules involve authority over people, exercising power, restriction, and more authority! God’s rules are none of those. Gods rules are good for us. They are the ten commandments and if we look at each one, we will see that if we ignore them either God gets hurt or another person gets hurt and we also get hurt. Now we turn to Jesus who gives us a shorter version. The story of the good Samaritan was told by Jesus to a man who asked how he could have eternal life; he knew the law but not the love (Luke 10 v.27). Jesus never changes and God never changes. In John 15 v. 12 Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. This is my command: love each other.”

PRAYERS

HEAVENLY UNCHANGING GOD.
We praise and thank You for the way You show us what is good and right for us and yet we often fail to hear your words and even when we hear them we think that those rules are not meant for us so why should we keep to them.
Lord God, we have listened to the lives of the prophets like Isaiah, your chosen people who have shown us time after time that what you promise you never change from. We have read or listened to David’s Psalms, which are full of your ways of giving us what is good and right for us and again we have gone our own way and looked to you for help to see us through the dark days.
HEAVENLY UNCHANGING GOD.
We come to you now with the words of Jesus in our minds and hearts. The words which reminded us of the greatest gift ever given not only to us but to all the world who would remember what your Son did; gave his life for us.
HEAVENLY UNCHANGING GOD.
You proved that love is what would change the world. The love of Your son Jesus Christ, the love of you, Father God, and the love of the Holy Spirit – the THREE IN ONE – and the love of all people. ‘Love each other as I have loved you,’ said Jesus, ‘and love your neighbour as yourself.’ It’s love that is needed so save our world with love and forgiveness. AMEN.

Thoughts for the Week: The Way of Holiness

I’m beginning my thoughts today with a jigsaw. Jigsaws have been a Godsend during Lockdown for me and my daughter as, so far, we have completed twenty-three together and we have a few to pass on. They are very good for mental health. Today, I had a different kind of jigsaw. My grandchildren are on holiday and bought a postcard for me, and then they cut it into pieces like a jigsaw and posted it to me. I texted a thank you to them and then said that I had a problem, for if I do the side with the message on I couldn’t see the picture and visa versa and I needed to see the whole picture.
The whole picture was important when I was reading part of the Bible. Today, I am looking at some verses from the book of Isaiah. After the prophet Isaiah heard the call from the Lord, he had probably not realised what the work involved, but very soon God promises that a child will be born who will be the Messiah. There is a point when God becomes angry as it seems that however hard Isaiah tries to keep the people on the way of God, they go their own way. The whole picture for me is that God is never away from the people and he sees everything that happens. As I get to the chapter that gives us hope, the Lord says, “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”. Thinking God couldn’t see them, the people of Jerusalem tried to hide their plans from Him. How strange that so many people think they can hide from God. They turn everything upside down.

PRAYERS FOR THE WEEK BASED ON ISAIAH 35

Father God,
We come close to you today as we ask forgiveness for the times when we have strayed and, as it was in Isaiah’s time, we have only given you lip promise and not given our dedication from our hearts. We have made decisions to walk your path and instead taken an easier way of life. In the passage titled WAY OF HOLINESS, you open the scroll to promise us what would be changed if, as one of the hymns we sing says, you are ‘turning the world upside down’.
Our prayers for this week are about the disasters that we see in the world today.
Loving God,
We see the people in Beirut on our televisions. People who are distraught about the way the explosion has left them. Lord, their world has been turned upside down and they are crying out for help and we are crying out to you for them. It is strange that one of the changes for the better in the world in Isaiah was connected to the Lebanon Mountains. Lord we pray that the world will come to the aid of the Beirut disaster.
Creator God,
We continue with our prayers for the way the world has been turned upside down by the Coronovirus. When we say the prayer of Jesus, the words ‘deliver us from evil’ seem a part of the wonderful prayer to be specially meant at times like this. Help us to continue keeping to the law until the virus is beaten and your wonderful peace comes with hope and healing through all the world.
Compassionate Lord.
We bring to you the problem of men, women and children crossing from France to our country on rubber boats. Arriving with great needs which we cannot always meet and causing an ongoing problem for the government.
Thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayers. In the name of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour. Amen

Thought for the Week: The Way Forward

My thoughts for the week are about looking back and ahead. During the last month, my youngest daughter Becky asked me for some photos from the past. Out, from under the bed came the SUNSHINE LAUNDRY BOX, 21” long, 11” across & 5” high, overflowing with photographs. I doubt if you have a similar box, which could be around 150 years old. Looking through the photos brought back memories that made us laugh and from others a few tears, and they reminded us of the changes that had taken place during those years, especially how the world has changed.
I then looked at the Long Itchington minutes book, a huge tome of the history of the Chapel from 1827 to 1931. I was aware too that there were other Congregational chapels with a similar history to Long Itchington; for instance, Marton, Southam, Long Compton, Stockton and Moreton-in-Marsh. I speak now though about Long Itchington, which was going along quite well until the Church meeting in 1913 after which – and I nearly missed an addendum – in very faint writing it said, “lapse of meetings until 1920 owing to the First World War”. My thought was that for most of those Chapels, that would probably have been the only time when the Chapels were closed, except the present lockdown.
It must have been a very sad time for the people during 1913 to 1920 who possibly wondered if they would ever worship in their Chapel again and I can understand that feeling at the present time. However, I have given you this history story because it was not the end. At the Church meeting in 1913 before the close down, there were six people and in 1922 when the Chapel reopened there were twelve people and by 1937 there were so many worshippers that the Chapel wasn’t large enough and was eventually renovated and transformed. And, as is said, the rest is even more history.
Today, many of the Congregational Chapels are on lockdown, not because of a war like the First World War or even the Second World War but another kind of war – a silent kind which is just as dangerous. I ask the question, how did the Congregational Chapels survive? Last week, I spoke about Psalm 124. This week, we look at that again. In the Psalm, David says to Israel, the Lord was on our side. David is speaking to people. not to countries. Some of the people reading this will have had their own battles and haven’t always been able to prevent closure, but like Marton Chapel, the people who were so few they were unable to cope took their enthusiasm to Long Itchington. Psalm 124, saying God must have been with us to help us win the battle, is followed by Psalm 125 that begins with, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion which can not be shaken but endures forever.”

PRAYERS

Today, we look back to the beginning of many chapels in the 19th Century and we give thanks for the commitment of those who were servants of Jesus Christ and were determined to have places of worship. We pray for our own chapel as we wait for the virus to be overcome when we can once again worship together and show the commitment we have towards God our Father, when we say “Thy will be done”. We pray that we will be ready to follow your Son Jesus our Master and Saviour.

A prayer from the Prayer Handbook by Susan Durbar

Blessed be God,
who is not alone in doing wondrous things, but who inspires and empowers people like us to love with compassion and to desire justice.
Who hears the voices of those in need, the poor and those who have no help and sends you and me to answer them.
Who has pity for the weak and who holds them as precious while nagging us to rise and do something.
Whose glory fills the whole earth, and whose power is shown in the ones who meet our weakness and our need for they do wondrous things.
And blessed be God’s people, who touch the earth with love. May glory fill the world as righteousness and justice are delivered from our hands.

Thought for the Week: God Is With Us

On Sunday, I watched the service online which had been prepared by Rev’d James Church, During the sermon he spoke about two parts of the Bible which explained God’s will that COVID-19 would not destroy the world, which had been the fear of some people. Today, I make a long story short, which begins when Peter and John had healed a man who had been crippled from birth. They had great courage to do the healing and preaching about God and Jesus Christ and, because of it, they were taken into prison (Acts 4). While they were in prison, they continued to pray and preach and when eventually they were released from prison, they did not cease preaching and praying.
First, they praised God and then they told God about their problem. They did not ask Him to take it away, but what they did do was to ask God to help them to deal with it.
We now go to the Old Testament to see what King David in Psalm 124 said. He began by saying if the Lord had not been on their side against the Philistines, Israel knew they would have been swallowed up alive. We all know that there are many stories of wars in the Old Testament, which were the cause of the deaths of many fighting people. What we are going through with COVID-19 is very much like a war and as the Psalm says, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” We must keep our faith; Jesus Christ will return and we will have new lives in eternity through Him.

LOOKING AHEAD…

On SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12th WE WILL HAVE TWO TABLES OUTSIDE OF THE CHAPEL FROM 12 to 2pm. This is the Sunday before we would have been celebrating our Harvest Thanksgiving. As the rules are at present, we are not able to have our usual services in the Chapel. The tables are for us to bring and buy items of food for charity. The non-perishable foods will be for the Food Bank, while the fruit and vegetables will be sold for Christian Aid and jars of jam and marmalade will be sold for the Chapel. Please tell your family and friends about this charity giving.

PRAYERS

This Prayer is taken from the Prayer Handbook and was written by Neil Thorogood
Eternal God, ruler and shaper of time, hear the prayer we offer.
For we know the limits of our lives: imagines which cannot hold your truth,
Hearts that struggle to contain your grace, years that seem too brief,
Futures unclear and unpredictable, we confess our fear that life is not in your hands
And that we are in danger. We confess the sense that this world is out of control
And rushing deeper into chaos.
Into our fearfulness bring your reassuring truth.
Remind us that all things exist within your will and purpose.
Sooth us with the knowledge of your will shaping our days.
Inspire us to trust that you are taking all we are each moment
And shaping our lives into a great mosaic of your purpose.
Bless us and renes us with hope,
We pray in the name of Jesus and through the power
Of the Holy Spirit Amen.
From Bread of Tomorrow
God of creation, the earth is Yours with all its beauty and goodness, its rich and overflowing provision.
But we have claimed it for our own, plundered its beauty for profit, grabbed its resources for ourselves.
God of creation forgive us. May we no longer abuse your trust, but care gently and with justice for your earth. Amen.