This Thought for Today has been written by Dave Wilson.
I've got to be honest; patience isn't one of my virtues. I hate queueing and have been known to make detours of many miles just to avoid sitting in traffic. When I was commuting into Edinburgh and Glasgow, and there were no viable alternative routes, my attitude was mostly one of resignation rather than acceptance. In fact, if it was schoolwork, I would like to think it would come back marked Could Do Better, but I suspect it would be more likely to come back saying See Me After Class.
The other thing that's almost certain to drive me round the bend (or grinds my gears as the young people say) is having to queue in Supermarkets, and that's what this story is about.
I recently picked Callum up from work and popped into the Supermarket to get something for dinner. Callum's last words to me as I left the car were "please try and be quick", and I was very conscious that he was hot and tired after working, so I ran (or probably more precisely walked quite quickly) round the shop, picked up a few bits and pieces, and made for the tills. When I got there was a lady at the till in front of me who not only seemed to have bought one of every item in the shop but was quite happily chatting to the cashier about what she was going to do with each one of them. I hung back for a couple of minutes in the vain hope that another till would open, but eventually had to step forward and place my groceries on the belt. No sooner had I done so than an announcement came over the tannoy saying that till 3 was now opening. I looked over quickly, but it was already queued full of people.
I could feel the usual annoyance and tension starting to build up, when suddenly, I felt the gentle nudging of the Spirit, saying "Rather than being annoyed, why don't you use the extra time to bring Me in to the situation. You could pray for the lady in front, you could pray for the cashier, you could pray for all in the shop Who knows, you might be first person to pray in here all day!"
So that's what I did. I prayed just as God directed. I don't know if it made a difference to the lady, or the cashier, or the shop, but it made a difference in me. The annoyance and tension all just melted away in those few moments of not thinking about myself and how I wanted it to play out.
I think this partly what is meant by "praying without ceasing". It doesn't mean we never stop, but we have an attitude that is tuned to listening to what God wants us to bring to him and doing it, and by doing so it turns out hearts towards God, and away from ourselves.
I might even try it next time I get stuck in traffic!
Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there’. (Matthew 28:10)
These were the words of the risen Christ... and they are just as relevant today as they were when Jesus spoke them. He wants us to find Him in the Galilees of our lives. In the ordinary everyday places.
When we think of the ministry of Christ, we realise that He walked through towns, villages, country places and many people heard Him speak and saw Him work miracles. Some saw only a remarkable man speaking interesting - even profound - thoughts. Others saw the Son of God. They listened, they opened their minds but also their hearts and their spirits and they found a Saviour and were touched by another world. It started in the Galilees of their lives - the ordinary places.
Jesus wants to walk with us and speak to us then we are in church - but also when we are in our homes, our work, our everyday situations. Sometimes it’s a word of correction - as happened to the disciples, for example, when they were arguing about who would be the greatest. Sometimes it’s a word of comfort - as when He spoke to Martha and Mary when Lazarus had died.
Moses was out in the desert looking after the flocks of his father-in-law when he saw the burning bush. He stopped, and turned aside to look and then to listen. Very quickly he found himself on holy ground.
A poem by Francis Thompson has in it the lines:
And lo, Christ walking on the water
Not of Gennesareth, but Thames!
Are we aware that we have a Saviour who walks beside us and who can transform ordinary places into holy ground? I can remember certain places where, unexpectedly, God spoke to me in a way that brought a profound change into my life. I can picture exactly where I was when it happened, and sometimes it was in a very ordinary place when I was just going about my everyday business... and that place became holy ground. Maybe that could happen more often for me if I was more ready to listen and to see, instead of being too absorbed in the natural circumstances around me.
And maybe that is true for you too.
This Thought for Today has been written by Isabel Fairgrieve.
The title which I have chosen for this “thought for the day” is actually the title of a book by author Peter Maiden. Peter is well known to me as a teacher, preacher and as a man who has devoted his life to serving his Lord and Saviour. He began writing this book in 2019 and shortly afterwards received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. For many of us, continuing to write under such a title would have been very difficult, if not impossible, but Peter continued and his book was published after his death in 2020.
One of the chapters is entitled “Gratitude and Sovereignty” and it was in this chapter that I found such encouragement. I would like to share with you some of these thoughts.
2021 is rushing on and we are still experiencing difficult circumstances, uncertainties and for many people, anxieties and worry. For the Christian though, we have a source of many encouragements found in God’s Word. My baptismal verses were Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It’s a wonderful statement of how our lives ought to be lived. However if we fail to follow these wise words, then our pride and determination to be self reliant lead us away from dependence on God and bring so many problems into our lives. Recognising that God is sovereign is a wonderful remedy to doubts and worry about the future. Take a look at Matthew 6.25-34 and be encouraged.
God’s Word is full of wonderful verses making it so clear and plain that he is in control and he deeply cares for us. Here are just a few of my favourites:
1 Peter 5:7, John 14:27, Psalm 46:1, 2 Cor 12:9, Phil 4:7, Phil 4:19
These verses give us tremendous encouragement and underline the wonderful blessings available to us and remind us of some of God’s promises. The words of the old hymn, “Count your blessings, name them one by one...” come to mind. I love the way the writer pens the line, “And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” It’s as if we haven’t given enough thought to the blessings we have already received, but once we do, and start to name them we are surprised by the number of them! What a generous God we have. With that in mind we have so much for which to be thankful.
This quote from Peter’s book is surely comforting and a timely reminder of God’s sovereignty, particularly apt in these uncertain times: “God has his hands on the reins of the universe and of my life, and he does not allow those reins to slip out of his hands.”
Getting our priorities right is crucial. Putting Jesus in the centre of our lives will bring the peace and joy we seek. Giving thanks to God can change our mood from sometimes dwelling on the difficulties of life to a positive and uplifting attitude of gratefulness. May each of us put into practice what we read in God’s Word and thereby reap the benefits of a bountiful God who lavishes his love on us in our daily lives.
I Know Who Holds The Future.
I do not know what lies ahead,
The way I cannot see;
Yet One stands near to be my guide,
He’ll show the way to me.
I know who holds the future
And I know He holds my hand,
With God things don’t just happen,
Everything by Him is planned;
So as I face tomorrow
With its problems large and small,
I’ll trust the God of miracles –
Give to Him my all.
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