Faith

May 11

I Value Justice and Respect 1

This is Christian Aid week.  It’s the 60th Christian Aid Week.  British churches founded Christian Aid in 1945 to support refugees who had lost their homes and possessions in the Second World War. Twelve years later, they launched Christian Aid Week to help fund this ongoing work, so this year is the 60th anniversary and the need to support refugees is as strong as ever. Theodor was one of the many refugees who fled his country in search of safety. Hear his incredible story and why he has been a Christian Aid Week collector ever since.

 

 

Thank you if you feel moved by Theodor’s story or by the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers that you know.  That’s called compassion and it’s part of what prompts us to care and to act.

How else can you react?

- Get informed.

- Pray.

- Give to Christian Aid this week.  Help a collector as it can be quite a lonely job.

- Get more involved with the Ikoba School partnership.

- Join Christian Aid or any of the other agencies that specialise in refugees and/or issues for a fairer world.

- Ask the candidates for the election how they feel about support for refugees and ‘overseas’ aid.

 

Here’s a group idea from Christian Aid. 

‘Christian Aid wants people in power to know that we care about the plight of refugees and others in need.  Across the country, people in churches and schools will be joining in this simple action to reflect on this issue and make their voices heard: Find a length of red string, wool or fabric and ask students to hold it between them or pass it between themselves. As the students hold the string, ask them to think about or pray for people they would like to help. As they reflect or pray, ask them to tie a knot in the string. Each knot is a symbol that we are bound together. At the end of Christian Aid Week (14-20 May 2017), we’ll collect all the threads together as a visible symbol of the thinking, praying, acting and giving that has taken place during the week, while remembering those who are hungry, sick or need inviting in. We’ll present the bundle of string to our political leaders as a reminder that we are bound together, and that each of us around the world is deserving of safety and welcome – particularly those in need of food and shelter. ‘ 

If your group does this, I’m more than happy to send off the wool/strings.  

 

Prayer (using some words from the prophet Micah):

Lord, I know what you require of me. So please strengthen me today that I may act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before you, my God.  Amen.

You may have already seen the TV advert for Christian Aid Week.  Here it is:

 

 

I’m sure I recognise that voice.

And here’s a film with a bit more detail. 

 

 

Tags: Faith
May 4

I Can Revise 2

Multitasking image

 

Since the late 2000’s smartphone use has rapidly increased, with the current count at about 1 billion users. The smartphone has completely changed the way we interact with the world around us.

Make a list of the ways that the smartphone has affected our world positively?

Make a list of the ways that the smartphone has affected our world negatively?

Research tells us there are a growing number of people who admit that they experience smartphone addiction, with many users checking their phones compulsively throughout the day. Although this has become ‘normal’, it can present a problem when trying to focus one’s mind, talk with people, or fall asleep!

Are you someone who experiences this? Is it possible to break this addiction? If so, how? Here’s some top tips from a former app developer about how to un-hijack your life.

 



Proverbs 25:28 says that:

 

 

A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down wall.

 

My prayer is that we will create boundaries that positively affect our physical and mental health:

Creator God,

We are thankful for the good gift of technology through which we can create, communicate, and learn.

May we be people who are free from addiction, and who are free to live with or without our phones?

Grow in us self-control; help those revising to focus their minds, and peace to those struggling to sleep.

Amen.

Take some time to meditate and enjoy this piece of music and visuals shot entirely on an iPhone.

 

 

Tags: Faith
Apr 27

I Can Revise 1

Here are some interesting ways to revise:

- I would walk up and down my garden reciting law essays I'd memorised, juggling at the same time. I’d read that focusing your attention on a physical task helps your memory.

- Rapping my revision notes to instrumental rap beats found on YouTube. Like this..?

 



- I stick notes on the outside of my shower facing in so I can revise whilst in the shower.

- Pick up a kitchen safe or similar which will keep whatever you put in locked up until a set time. Use it either to avoid temptation by locking away your favourite gadgets until you've done your revision, or place a reward of your choosing inside, such as your favourite snack, that will become unlocked once you're done.

- So you keep dozing when trying to revise?  This extreme measure has been used by female students in China. They were recently reported to have clipped their long hair to clothes pegs that hung above them, yanking them awake if they dropped off to sleep!

Talk to someone else in your group about the most effective and least effective ways you’ve used when trying to learn for exams or tests.  In the end, you can learn from other people’s experience but the best way to revise is to use the method that’s best for you.

Learning to revise well is part of becoming a more effective student.  It also tests our determination and our motivation.  Revising is part of fulfilling our potential so good luck over the coming weeks.

Prayer using Bible Verses:

Dear God,

I ask for your help during my exams and test based on who you are and the promises that you make in the Bible.

I thank you God that you are the source of all wisdom as it says in Proverbs:

 

By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place, by his knowledge the deeps were divided and the clouds let drop the dew. 

Proverbs 3:19,20 New International Version of the Bible

 

Help me to remember that however complex the subject may be that I am tackling, you can enable me to grasp it, understand it and remember the details because you are the originator of all knowledge. I thank you that you promise to help me when I ask for wisdom as it says in James: 

 

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 

James 1:5 NIV

 

Help me to believe that even as I am praying, you are giving me the wisdom and the help I need.  I thank you that studying and gaining this knowledge will be beneficial to me as it says in Proverbs:

 

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers. 

Proverbs 19:8 NIV

 

I thank you that although the discipline of studying seems very difficult right now, it will be well worth it as it says in Hebrews:

 

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11 NIV

  

I thank you that even though I may feel stress and pressure during exam time, it says in Philippians:

 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

 

And finally, I thank you that through the help of the Holy Spirit, I might have the mind of Christ:

 

For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV

 

Thank you God that as I have spoken to you, you have spoken to me through your words in the Bible.  Help me to remember them and depend on them during exams.  Thank you for your wisdom, truth and help. 

Amen.

Or if thinking about or doing revision is causing pressure:

 

 

Tags: Faith
Apr 7

Easter Hope

 

 

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!

John 20:19-21

 

Can you imagine how the disciples reacted when they first saw Jesus killed and buried in the tomb?

Or how they felt when they saw him for the first time after he had risen?

They must have thought nothing was impossible for God.

The Easter story has so much meaning in it but, for me, it often speaks loudest about hope.

Hope as the veil of darkness

Transformed to the brightest light.

Hope as the most dreadful end

became the most beautiful beginning.

Hope as the depths of despair

Faded to reveal hope everlasting.

Hope as the curse of death

was defeated by eternal life.

 

I love how the Easter story is still bringing hope and new life to people today. Check out this story I came across recently. What do you make of it?

 

 

I want to pray, thinking particularly of people in the holidays;

Who will be studying, and revising.

Who will be going through challenging times with faith, health or relationships.

Who will be grieving or missing loved ones.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. May the God of comfort draw near to you, counsel and guide you, and may the God of peace guard your mind, body and spirit, through Jesus.

AMEN

 

 

Tags: Faith
Mar 31

I Can Forgive 1

Are you aware of any stories of forgiveness (or of not forgiving) in the news recently?

There’s been quite a discussion about Martin McGuinness. This man who died recently has been called a peacemaker by many of the world’s leaders but he was involved the ‘struggles’ in Northern Ireland previously and this led Norman Tebbit, the Conservative cabinet minister who was injured and whose wife was left permanently disabled in the IRA’s 1984 Brighton bombing, to call him “a coward who never atoned for his crimes” and said “there can be no forgiveness without a confession of sins”.

In 2015, SMRT put on ‘Les Miserables’, a great musical with a very interesting storyline.  A key moment is,  

 

 

Jean Valjean was struggling to accept the Bishop’s forgiveness.  It reminded me of Jesus’ parable of the Lost Son and his teaching on ‘turning the other cheek if someone wrongs you’.  Sometimes it is easy to accept forgiveness.  Sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes we think we’ve done something so bad it can’t be forgiven.  Sometimes we think forgiveness is a sign of weakness.  What is definitely true is that love is the key to forgiveness.  The greater the thing we have to forgive or the bigger the thing we regret, love is the answer.  If we know that someone loves us or that we love someone who needs forgiveness, then that is going to make the situation easier.  Jean Valjean needed to understand both the Bishop’s and God’s love. 

 

Christians believe that we can see that love in action both in Jesus’ life and in his death, but more about that next week.

An older prayer but one that still rings true:

My Lord and my God,

remove far from me

whatever keeps me from you.

My Lord and my God

confer upon me

whatever enables me to reach you.

My Lord and my God

free me from self

and make me wholly yours.

Amen.

(A Prayer of St Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487))

 

Music:

 

 

 

Remember to visit our Lent Calendar daily: https://smrtlent.wordpress.com/

 

Tags: Faith