Category: Prayer

Rightly dividing the word of God

My Peace Lily had grown and grown. So it was tapped out of the pot, soil shook from the root ball and carefully separated into 14 parts (including the parent plant)

Pressing the baby lilies into new compost and smaller pots, I recalled a verse from the N.K.J.V …2 Timothy 2:15

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”

The N.I.V. reads: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.*

Whilst the J.B. (Jerusalem Bible) says, “Do all you can to present yourself in front of God as a man who has come through his trials, and as a man who has no need to be ashamed of his life’s work and has kept a straight course with the message of truth”


Hmm!

I could vaguely remember that the Greek word translated as divide and straight (it is translated as straight in the N.R.S.V we use in church as well)! had something to do with ploughing straight furrows, so I looked it up. It actually means I cut (or carve) … and so I define….

Well, I was thinking to myself as I broke the plant-lets apart, be careful, do it right, don’t damage the roots; if you do the babies won’t grow.

It’s like that for teachers, and preachers of God’s word, if they don’t handle the scriptures properly, then their work comes to nothing, or the understanding of the those who listen, or read (not everyone could read in the days of Timothy and Paul) is not correctly informed, making it absolutely essential that teachers and preachers pass on the scriptures and their messages faithfully and accurately.

Ploughing furrows? Well teachers and preachers don’t only sow the Gospel seed and water it, they also need to prepare the ground, a good straight furrow, drawn through the soil at the right depth means the roots are going to grow straight and true, and in due time, the plants stand tall and straight.


St Giles still continues in interregnum. But still continues steadfastly to meet every Sunday at 10:15am and 6:30pm for worship and prayer. The Ladies Class still continues to meet at 2:00pm on Tuesdays, currently we are exploring Creation, this Tuesday we talked about green and growing things; all the Peace Lilies have now been re-homed.


God of the living word,

Give us the faith to receive your message,

The wisdom to know what it means,

And the courage to put it into practice.

(A New Zealand Prayer Book)

Beware the Wolf is always around

Despite having no Incumbent in the Vicarage, St Giles carries on, with a number of us gathering on Wednesday mornings for a short Communion with Revd Carole Christensen or Revd. Barrie Roberts. These Wednesday gatherings are loved because they are quiet, tucked away in the Lady Chapel, under the watchful gaze of Mary and Joseph looking over the infant Jesus in his Manger bed. They are times to remember that we also are being “watched over” as we go about our everyday, ordinary lives. We are, after all the Good Shepherd’s sheep, in need of His comfort and care.

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 7. 15-20

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves, you will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that bears good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.”

Sometimes the wolf operates from the inside, much as the serpent operated on the inside of Eden, he lies low at the back of our minds, waiting to convince us that it is perfectly alright to have a foot in both camps, one in the world and one in church. He is pretty sneaky Mr Wolf, one of his favourite lines is “Off course it’s alright to do this or that, everybody does this, these days.” Or, the one that really scares Christian folk, so much that they say nothing at all, when they see the thorns and thistles growing like wildfire, “Perhaps you ought not to think like that people will say you are a prude, worse still a bigot!”

Some Thorns and Thistles:

Jealousy, Quarrelling,

Those are probably the ones, the devil has most success with,

The Longer List: (Some really poisonous ones here) Gal 5:19-20

Fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and things like these.

Phew!

Good Fruit (of the Spirit) 5. 22-23

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

It is of course self-control that checks our inner wolf. To exercise self-control is to be tuned in to the Holy Spirit, it is to turn up the volume to listen to the Word of God and cultivate a holy deafness to the deceitful wisdom of the world, flesh and devil.

The false prophet is sneaky, and seeks to make a profit from pedalling his tacky wares, the good prophet has no other agenda than that set by the Lord, our sanctification, blessing, our place as a good tree in God’s heavenly orchard.

O Lord our God,

Grant us grace to desire you with our whole heart;

That so desiring, we may seek and find you;

And so finding may love you;

And so loving may hate those sins from which you have delivered us;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Scriptures from NRSV

Prayer: St Anselm (1109)

Photos; Upper Portion Stained Glass Window-St Giles Lady Chapel (artist Benjamin E, Warren. And Nave

Details of St Giles Services please visit our website

http://www.stgiles-church-rowley.co.uk/

The Father in the secret place

I have known just one or two people in my life, who knowing the scriptures from childhood have always persevered in keeping their ways of living as close to the scriptures as they possibly could. These would be the ones who did not use ‘planned giving envelopes’ for their weekly giving, or use Standing orders at the bank …. but gave anyway week in week out, willingly and cheerfully. They simply did not want anyone to know what they gave.

The same people could also be relied on to be generous with time spent in a quiet corner doing useful work they didn’t want praise or credit for. You may know a few people like that, but it won’t be many.

Our times are not the times of our Lord, our times are times of celebs, and the desire for at least 20 minutes fame.

Today’s Appointed Gospel Reading for Holy Communion

Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract attention; otherwise you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win human admiration. In truth I tell you they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand should not know what your right is doing ; your almsgiving must be in secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. In truth I tell you they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room, shut yourself in and so pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

When you are fasting do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you they have had their reward. But when you fast, put scent on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.#1


These gentle words from our wise a Teacher, instruct us, in fact, to do the very opposite to the norms of our society. He promises no prizes for self promotion, even in generous giving, eloquent public prayer, and self denial of the hungry kind. He points out, not unkindly that people who ‘like others to know what their right hand is doing’ whether in giving or service are paid in full in this life now, in other words they do these things for public applause and get it!

Whereas, the one who gives secretly does it to meet some need in the knowledge that this is a loving duty owing to our Father, and that the Father who knows all secrets knows the true prayer our hearts are praying, and He alone answers prayer.

Maybe to ‘do all for God’ is the hardest thing a Christian is called to do. Prayer is the incense offered on the Father’s altar, the precious grains of the Prayer which the angel offers is ‘purified from self interest’ – it is the best we can give. Given not for reward but in love and for love of the One who freely gives us all good things.


One thing I have asked of the Lord,

This is what I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord

All the days of my life;

To behold the beauty of the Lord

And to seek Him in His temple.

Lord, give us a heart like that of Jesus,

A heart, believing, true and clean,

A heart and secret room fit to receive our Royal Guest,

Cleanse us from all earthly desire and ambition that we may

Seek only your Throne and offer up our purest worship their

In the knowledge that it is only by the Blood of Jesus,

We can enter in to the Most Holy Place.

Amen


Flowers arranged by Carole Annetts/Vera Round (St Giles Flower Arrangers)

Prayer from St Giles Intercessions Team

#2 Reading from Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

New Jerusalem Bible used

Broken and given for you and for me

Ascension Day comes and we shall share the bread, and body of Jesus in Communion and Fellowship together. In faith, believing the church and family of Jesus share his sorrows as well as his joys, for we know, most surely that he shares ours. Some of us, know that the sadnesses and difficulties of this life are times of special blessings and it is our experience that Our Lord uses broken things:

Broken Things

God uses broken things

It takes broken soil to produce a crop,

Broken clouds to give rain.

Broken grain to give bread,

Broken bread to give strength

(Vance Havner)

I once asked what a saint was and Jesus answered me, “God’s chosen heart”

I read in my bible, “God doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I am thinking of the hearts of the apostles broken with the loss of their friend, their sense of loss as he finally returned home to Heaven, his home .. their home for he had promised. Soon comes Pentecost … soon the church will be born …. here we are but first Christ’s heart and body was broken for us. These are the words we say together, “Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread”

And this sharing is real, not illusionary, it becomes real every time we show those who are aching and suffering the compassionate heart of Christ, who gave his new life and strength when he gave us his heart.

He asks that we give him ours…that we allow him to break the soil, and to take away our sins, our many trespasses as weeds from a field, to burn away the stubble of previous years failed crops, to make us ready to receive in good soil the good seed, that will accept the good blessings of Holy Spirit rain, that good seed may become good grain and good grain, good wholesome bread that gives strength, his hidden strength to a needy world. For, just as Christ is hidden in Communion bread, so it is that he delights to be hidden in you and me. The world may not know this, but the hands the church (you and I) holds out to it, in welcome, in sincerity, in peace, in love are his hands.

Life has taught me that God’s chosen heart is never chosen because it is perfect. Rather it is chosen because His Compassionate heart loves it, and we are loved with an everlasting love. Everlasting Love is prepared to persevere with our heart until our difficult, obstinate, stony, barrenness yields good grain.

Posted in love, for all who struggle with life’s hardness and losses, that together we may know, Jesus Christ, the Son of God gave his heart and body to be broken, that our losses might turn to Eternal Gain.


Prayers for times of difficulty and brokenness:

Teach us, Good Lord,

To serve you as you deserve,

To give and not to count the cost.

To fight and not to heed the wounds,

To toil and not to seek for rest,

To labour, and not to ask for any reward,

Save that of knowing we do your will. #1

Lord, I am small, often lost, often lonely and often feel that I cannot go on. Lord I feel your arm around me, to support me, it is your hand which wipes the tears that blind, from my eyes that I may see the way ahead. Speak to me, words of comfort until I see the rain has come, and gone and left behind your blessing, Lord the dove returned to Noah with a twig from the olive tree, so that Noah might take courage, and wait. Grant me courage and perseverance Lord to wait for the promised blessing.#2

#1 St Ignatius of Loyola

#2 St Giles Intercessor

Teach us to count up the days

Teach us to count up the days that are ours,

And we shall come to the heart of wisdom.

Each morning fill us with your faithful love,

We shall sing and be happy all our days.

May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us,

To confirm the work we have done.

Day by day Lord, teach us the secret of following you. Go before us, and we shall know the way, Lord Jesus who taught us “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” give to each of us such knowledge of yourself, that we too, may know the Father and come, at the last to the place you have prepared for us. Amen

(Ref Psalm 90: verses 12, 14, 17) NJB

Prayer inspiration John 14/St Giles Intercessor

Our church is still in interregnum and awaiting the appointment of a new Vicar, but waiting is meaningful as each person continues to look to the Lord Jesus for direction and purpose.

We continue to offer all a warm, welcome to our Father’s house in the Name of Jesus.

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet

Give me my scallop-shell of quiet

My staff of faith to walk upon,

My script of joy, immortal diet,

My bottle of Salvation,

My gown of glory, hope’s true gage,

And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.

(Sir Walter Raleigh [1552~1618]}

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

I read the words on a favourite paperweight and reflect on the thousands of feet which have set out on the pilgrimage of faith in the 800 plus years that a church has stood on top of Rowley’s hill, The year Walter Raleigh was born the first church building was already more than 300 years old, that church numbered amongst its worshippers, Isabella, cousin to Henry VIII, so amongst those thousands of feet, at least one pair of noble feet, but mostly those pilgrim feet were humble feet, farmers, cottagers, then miners, quarry workers, nailers and chain makers; fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters; not many wealthy or wise; but all determined to be a pilgrim for Christ.

The Prayer Desk waits quietly for the next Priest in St Giles long history to take up the list of names and pray for today’s pilgrims and those who will come put on gospel shoes and take the one step that begins a journey of a thousand miles.

But before that one, first step, a prayer,

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me, may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me: for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24)

No one has ever taken, so I believe that one first step on the upward journey to where Jesus waits, without His prayer, He stands, always at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us.

It is the desire of the Lord Jesus that where He is, We should be where He is ~

I say Amen and pray for all the pilgrims on the road today, and the ones who will believe because of their word, the up shoe laces before taking one step,

~~~~~ then another.

one step, then another.