Category: scriptures

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)

Doubt and faith. Love and Joy

Thomas called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord,’ but he answered, ‘Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes that they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.'”

And so Thomas called the Twin became Thomas called the Doubting.

I have often, because I am made that way, felt that I would have gone away grieved to my heart that 10 of Jesus’ other friends, and Mary Magdalene had seen Jesus and I had not. Always I have felt, that I would have felt .. well left out! Why had Jesus come to the others and not to me?

There are many, many words written by scholarly Writers, much ink spent on explanations, comments including the frequent ‘ Doubt is good’ and we all doubt from time to time. But, the thought is always there ~ had I been in Thomas’ place ~ I would have wondered ‘Why did he leave me out? Doesn’t he love me?’

This possibly says more about my own feelings for my Lord than it does for Thomas, and I can easily relate to how Thomas felt 8 days later when,

The disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you.’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, look here are my hands. Give me your hand, put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him,

You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

I hear, and read no scolding for Doubting Thomas here, I do hear, and feel the love of Jesus for Thomas, and the love of Thomas for Jesus… I can see, Thomas falling at the feet of Jesus, see tears of a wounded heart made whole as well as the worship of a man who utters for the first time in the Gospel pages “My Lord and my God.” Worship for me, is bound up tightly in that word, Love. Later St Peter, left us some words on believing.

You have not seen him; and still without seeing him you believe in him and so are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described; and you are sure of the goal of your faith, that is the salvation of your souls.”

Why did I choose two little birds, mother and her little fledgeling?

Because our Lord watched over Thomas, Peter and the others for 3 years, and after dying for them and for us, after burial and Resurrection returned to teach them how to fly… true he had to tip them out of the nest on the day of Pentecost and carry them out into the streets on the wings of a mighty wind, but fly they did, including Doubting Thomas, in faith believing, in love ~ Messengers of the Gospel of peace.

A final word from Jesus

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, ‘if you had faith like a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,and it would obey you.”

The thing which bound Jesus, his disciples and us together is Love. Love does not see fault in doubting but looks to see Doubting Souls fly.


Scriptures from New Jerusalem Bible references:

John 20. 24-29, 1 Peter 1-9, Luke 17.5,7

Photo: unsure of origin but not my own.

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

And to the children He said, “Come to me”

Moms, Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas please don’t leave it to someone else to teach your little children, that they have a Father in heaven who loved them so much that He sent Jesus to be their life-long and forever Friend and Saviour. Or, that there is a book in heaven in which Ezra, the Record Keeper Angel writes the names of all who love God.

I am an older Christian, one of several children and would have loved to have owned just one little book such as these; however it was not to be, pennies were short and I didn’t get to own a bible of my own until I received my first wage packet aged 15, a small hardback bible, with pictures was bought for a few ‘shillings’

I can’t even remember where I first heard the name of Jesus, but I can remember at the age of three talking to my Father in heaven; I whispered a few words and fell soundly asleep, slept through a storm which blew a window in and showered the bed in which myself and small sister were sleeping with glass shards.. I never knew this until I woke up in my moms bed the next morning and she told the story of the nights happenings. All through my childhood, teens and adulthood I have confided in God. I do not know of any prayer which has gone unheard; even if the answer has been no, or wait awhile, I have been heard. And I have listened just as your little ones hear what you say to them, just as they place every confidence and trust in what you tell and teach them.

The very best teachers we can have are those who love us and the teacher most blessed in God’s eyes is the one who gives and plants with one of His little ones the Seed and Word of faith


Jesus has promised my Shepherd to be,

That’s why I love Him so;

And to the children he said, ‘Come to Me,’

That’s why I love Him so.

Chorus: That’s why I love Him,

That’s why I love Him,

Because He first loved me……

When I’m tempted and tried,

He is close by my side,

That’s why I love Him so.

(Hymn by Scott Lawrence


St Giles, Messy Church why not click here and see what our Messy Church Group get up to, if you live in Rowley, come and help us make a mess.

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.