Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21,22)
The Hebrew word for ‘waters’ is ‘Mayim’. It has it’s origin in an old Hebrew word which means ‘chaos’.
In bygone eras, our ancestors were afraid of the sea. They were cautious and fearful of deep bodies of water.Their boats could not withstand the ‘chaos’ that often erupted, even on a lake, and many a life was lost to a watery grave.
On 8th June 1972, a nine year old girl’s life was thrown into unimaginable chaos when she, along with group of civilians and South Vietnamese soldiers were fleeing for safety as her home town was being attacked. Her name was Phan Thị Kim Phúc. A bomb exploded near her. The bombing killed two of her cousins and she received third degree burns down her back and arms after her clothing was burned by the fire.
She was hospitalised for 14 moths during which time she endured 17 surgical procedures including skin transplants. Pain was her constant companion. It wasn’t until ten years later that Kim Phúc was able to properly move again.
For ten years she lived with bitterness, hatred and anger. She lived with the question, “Why me? Why did that happen to me? Then in 1982, tired of the suffering and pain, she wanted to commit suicide. However, one day in a library in Saigon, she found a New Testament and she became a Christian. She said , “My enemies list became my prayer list…forgiveness set my heart free.” She swapped her chaos for forgiveness and has gone on to help traumatised children over many years.
As Billy Graham said:
“In one bold stroke, forgiveness obliterates the past and permits us to enter the land of new beginnings.” This is true of God forgiving us, but it is as equally true of us forgiving others.
Is your life in chaos today today because you are holding on to unforgiveness? Are you bitter, angry, resentful? If a young girl, physically and mentally scarred by chaos can forgive, so can you. It’s a matter of choice.
Footnote: Kim Phúc is more widely known as the Napalm Girl in the famous Pulitzer Prize winning photograph. She features in the centre of the photograph along with other children, running along the bombed road crying, followed by South Vietnamese soldiers.
This week's Thought is written by Pauline Anderson.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)
Many of the words in the English language derive from words from other languages. It’s estimated that around 30% of our words in English are from French origin while around 60% of our vocabulary has its roots in Latin or Greek.
The word ‘sapphire’ comes from the French word ‘saphir’ which is from the Latin ‘sophirus'. This, in turn comes from the Greek ‘zafeiri', which originates from an ancient Biblical word ‘sappir’. ‘Sappir' means 'to speak, to tell or to declare.' Let’s look at two important lessons we can learn from this.
Firstly, the sapphire is an exceeding precious jewel. But more precious than any jewel are the words that God speaks to us personally. These are His sapphires. Do we treasure each word that God speaks to us? Is it precious to us or do we sometimes take His word for granted?
Secondly there are many verses in the Bible that encourage us to speak, to tell or declare to others in a way that is helpful. These should be our sapphires. Here are some examples:
Someone has said, “Our words are stones. We are nothing but stone throwers with each word we speak. If our words contain beauty people treasure them. If our words contain pain people toss them aside, but not until after they have had to deal with the wound they caused.” (https://snailpacetransformations.com/)
Every time we communicate with others we have a choice as to what will come from our mouths. Stones or sapphires. The choice is yours. What will it be?
This week's Thought is written by Peter Hodson.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus”. (Hebrews 12:2)
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.
This well-known, beautiful hymn was previously called “The Heavenly Vision” and was written in 1922 by Helen Howarth Lemel. It was inspired by Helen’s reading of a tract by Lilias Trotter entitled, Focussed. Part of the tract read:
“Turn full your soul’s vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him… for He is worthy to have all there is to be had in the heart that He has died to win.”
Lilias Trotter, tells in her article of an early morning walk in a little wood; “The sun was climbing behind a steep cliff in the east, and its light was flooding nearer and nearer and then making pools among the trees. Suddenly, from a dark corner of purple-brown stems and tawny moss there shone out a great golden star. It was just a dandelion, and half withered – but it was full face to the sun and had caught into its heart all the glory it could hold and was shining so radiantly that the dew that lay on it still made a perfect aureole round its head. And it seemed to talk, standing there – to talk about the possibility of making the very best of these lives of ours.”
Perhaps we can relate to being “just a dandelion, and half withered”! It could be that we are going through difficulties or have just become distracted by the pressures and demands of life. Yet there is no situation too remote, nor time too inconvenient, where we can’t lift our eyes to the Sun of Righteousness who has risen with healing in His wings and let his glorious light bathe us and fill our souls. For He who’s light is never dimmed is always there for us and he said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
Like the sun that caused the dandelion to reflect that beautiful golden glow, so Christ can fill our poor limited vision with Himself, and we too can make ‘the very best of these lives of ours.”
Copyright © 2014 Struthers Memorial Church All rights reserved
Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.