A regular thought for the day, by David Spence.

Thursday 30 April 2020

Good morning.

I was pondering earlier this morning about how things were for the disciples during these particular weeks between the Resurrection and the Ascension.

We are told very little about them in scripture but there are a couple of little phrases, which Luke gives us in the first chapter of Acts.

First, speaking about the apostles, Luke says that “he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.” And then went on “over a period of 40 days.” (v 3) Luke’s use of the words “many convincing proofs” says to me that meetings with Jesus were probably considerably more in number than those that we have recorded in scripture.

Second, and as it were to reinforce that, Luke continues in a ‘quite matter of fact way’; “On one occasion, while he was eating with them…..” – again enhancing the thought that their meetings were greater in number than specifically recorded.

Pondering on these made me think about whether or not they were always “expected” meetings or, as in the case of those we do have recorded, they were unexpected. We simply are not told but I wonder if it was a mixture of the two. And that generated the thought that it is just the same for us.

We ‘know’ that Jesus is always with us because he promises that he will be but there are times when he seems much ‘closer’, ‘more visible’ than at other times. The ‘expected ‘ meetings happen when we spend time alone with Jesus, reading his word, or worshipping. But we need to be always sensitive to his presence and the sound of his voice throughout every day.

I love the description of Moses’ meetings with the Lord in Exodus 33 – Moses, we are told, would set up a tent outside the main camp, “some distance away” (v 7) Peace and seclusion – a place where he knows he can be alone with God. Then he would go to the tent and there is this lovely verse, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (v 11)

And that reminds me that Jesus says to every one of us, “I no longer call you servants…..instead i have called you friends.” (John 14 v 15)

Let us reflect on that through this day…….

“You are my friends if you do what I command……this is my command: Love one another.”

Love and blessings to you all


Wednesday 29 April 2020

Good morning.

As I look out over the sheep and lambs in the field outside my window and to the cattle in the field beyond, I am reminded of the Lord’s words in Psalm 50; “every animal of the forest is mine and the cattle on a thousand hills….for the world is mine, and all that is in it.” (v 10 & 12)

Of course, the context here is God saying to his people – I don’t need your sacrifices, what I want is you (paraphrased) – “call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will praise me.” (v 15) I think here we are being taught that, whatever the circumstances we need to lift our hearts to God in thanks and praise.

This same lesson comes to us through Paul in Philippians 4; “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (v 6) Have you ever tried worrying and being thankful at the same moment – it can’t be done – the thanksgiving overcomes the anxiety and enables us to give our problems to God – and so Paul goes on to tell us the result of thanksgiving – “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (v 7)

I love this phrase – “which transcends all understanding”……the human intellect says: ‘in the midst of my turmoil and the traumatic circumstances surrounding me, it is illogical and incomprehensible that I am experiencing  an inner peace’ – “the peace of God” – and yet, deep within, that is what is happening as we lift our eyes and our thanks to the Lord. This is the peace which guards our hearts and our minds, of which Horatio Spafford wrote in that wonderful old hymn;

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, you have taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”

Let us reflect on that and thank the Lord for his peace as we go through this day……

“I will praise you, O Lord,….for great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches up to the skies.” (Psalm 57 v 10)

Love and blessings to you all


Tuesday 28 April 2020

Good morning.

Look at all that lovely rain!  Possibly this is what the farmers and the gardeners are saying this morning!  Above all we must remember that God blesses us with what we need and “every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows (or, as the King James version says, “with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”) (James 1 v 17)

Yesterday, I had an email from a friend from medical student days, responding to the news that one of our other friends from those days had just died (not from COVID) after a long illness. in it he was reflecting thus: “I am increasingly struck how often the Psalms speak of God’s ‘steadfast love and faithfulness’. I guess we have all proved that over the years.” How true this is – we are secure in His love and faithfulness at all times – “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33 v 27).

I think the current situation makes all of us feel pretty helpless. It may be, of course, that we are also feeling pretty helpless in our personal lives. I guess this is exactly what David felt like when he wrote Psalm 40……

Imagine the scene – deep in a slimy-sided pit with mud and sludge under your feet, vainly scrabbling and struggling to climb the sides of the pit to reach safety but always slipping back down. Lots of unknowns and uncertainties – fear and anxiety levels mounting and beginning to be exhausted. Quite like our circumstances!

But then comes the glorious and reassuring solution; “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” David put all his worries into the Lord’s hands and he tells us what happened……”the Lord….. lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God…..Blessed is the one who makes the Lord his trust.” (Psalm 40 v 1- 4)

Let’s reflect on that today…….

I love that thought: “He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

Love and blessings to you all


Monday 27 April 2020

Good morning.

Yesterday morning in one of our devotional readings, we read some lovely verses from one of the Minor Prophets, Zephaniah:

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3 v 17) The prophet is speaking at a time of terrible turmoil and difficulty for the people of Jerusalem – just before they are carried away into exile in Babylon – things were very bleak indeed. And yet, as the prophecy draws to a close, we find this wonderful reassurance of God’s love.

This evokes for us the most intimate and lovely picture of the depth of God’s love for each of us – just as, for those who were on the ‘Zoom’ service yesterday will have seen, did the intimate picture of the shepherd cradling his lamb in his arms – while Luana sang “The Lord is my shepherd” for us.

What glorious promises are captured in this verse! He is with us – the recurrent promise of scripture, “I will be with you”. He is mighty to save – our rock, our refuge, our fortress. He takes great delight in us – “you are precious and honoured in my sight and I love you” (Isaiah 43 v 4) He will quiet you with his love – “you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26 v 3) He will rejoice over you with singing.

As we go through today, let’s reflect on the wonder of our Father’s love for us…….and ensure that we are channels to pass it on to others.

I wonder if that last promise, “He will rejoice over you with singing,” was one inspiration for Matt Redman’s lovely song, “The Father’s song”:

“Heaven’s perfect melody, the creator’s symphony, you are singing over me – the Father’s song. Heaven’s perfect mystery, the King of Love has sent for me, and now you’re singing over me the Father’s song. The Father’s song, the Father’s love, you sung it over me and for eternity it’s written on my heart.”

Love and blessings to you all


Sunday 26 April 2020

Good morning.

In the bright sunlight everything looks clear as crystal this morning.

But it wasn’t like that for those two disciples as they walked on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24 when “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them…” (v 15) Far from it – “they were kept from recognising him.” Possibly the overwhelming nature of their feelings was responsible – their faces are described as “downcast” – completely consumed by the dire circumstances they were experiencing. Yet, although they don’t recognise him, Jesus is with them, as he promises throughout scripture.

It is easy to get like that especially in the current difficulties. Perhaps a clue lies in the very word “downcast”. Psalm 121 begins with the words “I will lift up my eyes….” – and it’s almost as though the vision of the beauty and strength of God’s creation reminds the psalmist that his help comes from the Lord. So he lifts his eyes from focusing on the difficulties and embraces the reality that his help comes from God. And throughout that short psalm the psalmist is repeatedly saying ‘the Lord is with you’ in any and every circumstance.

Let us reflect on that and be sure to “lift up our eyes”…….

Let us “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and completer of our  faith.” (Hebrews 12 v 2)

Love and blessings to you all


Saturday 25 April 2020

Good morning – another amazing morning

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…..who crowns you with love and compassion” (Psalm 103 v 2 & 4)

What a wonderful thought as we start on a new day – God’s love and compassion constantly poured out on us – no matter what the circumstances – never changing – always the same.

It was noteworthy earlier this morning on the radio, Frank Gardner was talking about birdsong in some woodland and identifying the songs of some of our returning summer visitors – he made the comment that the joy of seeing their return provided a sense of stability and changelessness.

I thought – yes, that is because it is a clear manifestation of the changelessness of our Heavenly Father, the evidence for which is all around us as we look at and hear all the familiar sights and sounds of spring.

A pair of twin lambs are feeding from  their mother right outside my window – they are not exactly being gentle with her!! They are so eager for milk and have now grown quite sturdy. Am I that eager to get my spiritual food from God’s word all the time. The ewe moves on – it’s the only way to get a break. The lambs follow her closely and, as soon as she stops to feed, they are back getting more milk.

The scene just painted a simple picture for me of eagerness to feed from their mother and the principle of staying close behind her as she leads – and, of course, it reminded me of our need to stay close by our Great Shepherd and to be eager to feed from his word as often as we can.

Let’s reflect on that for a few moments……

Reflecting on feeding from God’s word takes me to Psalm 104, which is a lovely panoply of praise reflecting on all the wonders of God’s creation: “How many are your works, O Lord, in wisdom you made them all……all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them,….they are satisfied with good things……..I will sing unto the Lord all my life, I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (v 24, 27, 28 & 33)

Love and blessings to you all


Friday 24 April 2020

Good morning

Yesterday we were reflecting on the assurance we have been given that God will always be with us. Many of us, however, don’t find it easy all the time to experience the reality of that, especially when we are going through difficult times or may be overwhelmed by our feelings.

I was reading John 20 earlier this morning and reflecting on that amazing encounter Mary had with the risen Jesus. Peter and John had already gone home – we are not told why –  but Mary was not willing to abandon her search for the Lord – she was distraught.

She looks again into the tomb and two angels are there and they speak to her. It is noticeable that there is no mention of her being afraid, her despair seems to override fear and she just expresses her problem very simply – “they have taken away my Lord and I don’t know where they have put him.” (v 13) It was a very simple prayer, clear and concise – please tell me where he is.

We are not told what made her sense the presence of someone else behind her but she turns and Jesus is there. She doesn’t realise that – she’s not expecting that – and, through her tears and her despair, perhaps she can’t focus properly. The rational mind says, this can’t be Jesus, it must be the gardener. We can be very prone to such thoughts – certainly I can – saying to myself, ‘that’s just me thinking that or saying that’ when actually God is speaking to me by his Spirit – if only I would listen. We need to be ready and listening throughout each day so that we perceive the sound of his voice.

At first, Mary doesn’t even recognise Jesus’ voice because of all the factors we considered above – but then he speaks her name and immediately she knows and a flood of joy comes sweeping through her.

“I have called you by your name, you are mine……I will be with you” (Isaiah 43 v 1)

Let’s carry that thought with us through this day……..

I am reminded today of a song we sang years ago:

 “When the world is crumbling round you
and everything goes wrong
and it seems like it’s no use to carry on
just remember Jesus loves you
and cares for his own
so trust in him when hope is almost gone.

Standing somewhere in the shadows you’ll find Jesus
he’s the only one who cares and understands
standing somewhere in the shadows you will find him
and you’ll know him by the nail prints in his hands”

Love and blessings to you all


Thursday 23 April 2020

Good morning

“Be strong and courageous.” This was God’s word to his people through Moses as they were waiting to cross the Jordan River into the promised land.

My thoughts turned to this today because it was a time when they faced the unknown, they didn’t know what might happen or what sort of conflicts, deprivations or difficulties they might encounter.

Just at present, there is a lot of concern about the future difficulties and restrictions we will all face. There are seemingly endless discussions, questionings and arguments about how and when we may see any relaxation in our current circumstances and the result is that folk are becoming more anxious and discouraged.

Moses words in Deuteronomy 31 v 6 – 8 are as relevant today as they were then. Like them, we face an unknown enemy and we wonder how we will cope and how we will fare. “Do not be afraid or terrified…” says the Lord. And the basis for this lack of fear is summarised in v 8; “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Here, once again, we get that picture in our minds and hearts of the Shepherd that goes before his sheep, leading them forward, caring for them and never leaving them or forsaking them. Here is certainty and security no matter what may lie ahead.

Let’s be encouraged as we reflect on that today……

Jesus said the same thing to  his disciples and, therefore, to us: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you” and immediately follows on with “do not let your hearts be troubled.” (John 14 v 27)

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13 v 8)

Love and blessings to you all


Wednesday 22 April 2020

Good morning

When I was at school, at the last assembly of each term, we used to sing the old 17th century hymn: “Through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy; the praises of my God shall still my heart and tongue employ” – and in a later verse – “when in distress to him I called, he to my rescue came.”

I wonder whether the writers, Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, found inspiration for this hymn from reading Psalm 118;

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures for ever…..in my anguish (or: when hard pressed), I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” (v 1, 5, 6 & 7)

This lovely thought of being brought through “the anguish and into a spacious place” has echoes of that best known of all Psalms, 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams; he renews my strength.” (New Living Translation)

We are experiencing very unsettling and, for many, very traumatic times – families are going through grief from the loss of loved ones, many others are facing huge financial difficulties, and some are experiencing both. There seems to be no answer on the horizon – fear and anxiety can easily overwhelm us.

But, the psalmist reminds us; “it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” (Psalm 118 v 8) As he recalls the times when God has stood beside him and helped him out over the years, he says: “the Lord is my strength and my defence; he has become my salvation.”

It is good to reflect back over the years on the times when God has helped us, given us strength and brought us out the other side of whatever circumstances were troubling us at the time. It helps us to remember the reality of the fact that the Lord is our Rock and our Redeemer – he will never fail us.

Let’s carry that reflection with us as we go through this day…….

Love and blessings to you all


Tuesday 21 April 2020

Good morning

“O Lord, be gracious to us…be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” (Isaiah 33 v 2)

Last evening, as I was out in the evening sunshine ‘conversing’ with the cows in the field opposite, I saw the first two swallows (that I have seen) swooping low over this field. I said out loud (especially for the benefit of the cows!) wow, look the swallows are back – do you realise they have just flown here all the way from Africa – what a miracle! It is a vivid reminder that, whatever else is happening, God’s timing is perfect, his purposes never fail, he does not change. Man’s travel may be brought to a standstill, our movements restricted, our economy curtailed but God’s wonderful ways are unimpeded.

It helps us to remember the certainty, stability and changelessness of the Lord. A theme that Isaiah returns to time and time again: “The Lord….will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” (Isaiah 33 v 6)

“The fear of the Lord is the key” – what does Isaiah mean? For me, this means reverence and respect for the Lord and for all he has done for each of us and carrying this with us through each day.

Perhaps those lovely words in Isaiah 40 v 31 express it best of all; “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” – the Hebrew word for “hope” here apparently has the meaning of being “bound together with”. This is what we need each day – being bound together with the Lord – then we will “soar on wings like eagles, we will run and not grow weary, we will walk and not grow faint.”

Let us reflect on that through today…..

Love and blessings to you all


Monday 20 April 2020

Good morning

I imagine it was on a cloudless morning such as this that Jesus’ disciples were coming back towards shore having been out fishing all night. There was a thin mist hanging over the surface of the lake, which made it difficult to make out the figure standing on the shore.

“Caught any fish?”, the question comes – “no” – then, “cast your net again” comes the instruction, and then they catch a huge haul. John says to Peter; “it is the Lord” and Peter, in his usual impetuous way is straight over the side of the boat and swimming/wading towards Jesus. (John 21 v 4 on)

This is one of the other wonderful resurrection appearances recorded for us in scripture, so full of reality and meaning. Jesus is cooking breakfast for them – bread and fish (he already had what was needed!) – physical food was what they needed after a night’s fishing.

For me, the incident in the boat has a simple message – follow Jesus’ instructions. Don’t try doing it our way; that won’t work, even if we toil all night.

But the story unfolds still further. After walking along the shore with Peter, giving him his personal instructions, Peter is distracted by seeing John close behind them. “Lord, what about him?” says Peter; “that is not your business” (paraphrase!) says Jesus, “You (very personal), must follow me.” (John 21 v 20 on)

Let us reflect today on Jesus’ simple instructions to each of us individually……

As we go into another week of ‘lockdown’, let’s be alert to the opportunities we have to use the very different gifts Jesus has given to each one of us to support , love and care for one another.

“This is my command: love one another.” (John 14 v 17)

Sunday 19 April 2020

Good morning

“See what a morning – gloriously bright, with the dawning of hope in Jerusalem” – we sang this wonderful hymn at our ‘Zoom’ service on Easter morning. This glorious bright morning reminds us of that day.

It speaks so vividly of that first Easter Sunday morning when Jesus broke the power of death for each one of us, giving us the certainty of that “living hope”, of which Peter speaks (1 Peter 1 v 3), which is “through faith and is kept in heaven for us.”

As he did on that first Easter day, Jesus says to each of us; “Peace be with you” – as our hymn goes on to say…”the voice that spans the years, speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us – will sound ’til he appears, for he lives: Christ is risen from the dead!”

The resurrection changes everything. It did then and it still does today, The reality of Jesus walking with them, meeting with them, eating with them, cooking them breakfast on the beach was undeniable – as Luke says at the opening of his second book (Acts 1 v 3), “Jesus….showed himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.”

Let’s reflect today on what Jesus has done for us…….

Let us listen to that ‘voice that spans the years’ as Jesus speaks to us through his word – and, as we hear his voice, may our hearts “burn within us” just as the hearts of the two disciples on the Emmaus Road did as Jesus “talked with them on the road and opened the scriptures to them.”

“Peace I leave with you – my peace I give you.” (John 14 v 27) What a gift – what a promise!

Love and blessings to you all


Saturday 18 April 2020

Good morning.

We were reflecting yesterday on Jesus going on ahead of us and we, as the sheep of his flock, following as we hear the sound of his voice. This can be so difficult as we find ourselves crowded round with anxieties, problems and tragedies – something that we are all experiencing in a very tangible way at present.

It reminds me of Job, who was struggling with terrible family loss, ill health and problems. In Job 23, he is feeling very disconnected from God; “if only I knew where to find him” (v 3) and then goes on to say that he searches at all the four points of the compass but can’t seem to make contact. (v 9)

And yet, he rests on the certainty that he knows and in which he puts his faith; “he knows the way that I take…..my feet have closely followed in his steps, I have kept to his way without turning aside.” (v 10) He asserts that, no matter how black things may be, he trusts God for the way ahead and keeps following the path along which he is being led. And then he gives us a clue of his secret for doing this; “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” (v 12)

Like the psalmist, Job recognises that “This God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” (Psalm 48 v 14)

Let us pause and reflect today on the certainty of that…….

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.” (Psalm 46 v 1)

Love and blessings to you all


Friday 17 April 2020

Good morning.

I find myself reflecting this morning on that lovely hymn, “Thine be the glory”, which we sang on Easter morning…..

“Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb; lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom; let the church with gladness hymns of triumph sing, for her Lord now liveth; death hath lost its sting.”

I find it helpful to read the resurrection passages in all the four gospels one after the other, as each gospel writer gives us their personal recollections and enhances the whole picture for us. Two simple assurances strike me emerging from these accounts.

Firstly, Jesus meeting the women in Matthew 28 greets them and says “do not be afraid” – picked up in the words of the hymn, “Lo! Jesus meets us…scatters fear and gloom”. How we need that wonderful reassurance in our lives at many times and in many circumstances – “do not be afraid”, so often coupled with “I will be with you” – whatever may happen day by day.

Secondly, the angels say to the women; “He is going ahead of you.” Here is the assurance of his leading ‘through all the changing scenes of life’. It immediately brings to mind Jesus’ own words in John 10 about himself as the Good Shepherd; “He calls his own sheep by name and calls them out….he goes on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10 v 3 & 4)

Let us reflect on these assurances and make sure we are listening for his voice as he leads us…..

“After the wind… the earthquake…. the fire, came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19 v 12)

“Speak, Lord, in the stillness, while we wait on thee.”

Love and blessings to you all


Thursday 16 April 2020

Good morning.

Today we expect to be told that the current lockdown measures are to be continued until the next review in a further three weeks. Looking ahead, there is much uncertainty and this can make us anxious and disheartened.

More than 50 years ago, i read a book entitled, “When iron gates yield”, written by Watchman Nee, a missionary in China, who was imprisoned for his faith. His future was extremely uncertain but a verse from Psalm 31 came to his mind: “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God’. My times are in your hand.” He hung on to the certainty of that thought – “You are my God – my times are in your hands.” (Psalm 31 v 14 & 15)

Let’s reflect on some other verses from Psalm 31 – it is a psalm full of encouragement for us all.

“In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge;….turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue, be my rock and refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress…lead me and guide me….into your hands I commit my spirit.”

The psalmist was clearly going through very difficult times – just as we are at present – and he had realised where his security lay – “I trust in the Lord; I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love.” (v 7) Having stated with certainty his trust in the Lord and recognised that his times are in God’s hands (v 15), he breaks into a lovely verse of praise; “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow,,,on those who take refuge in you.” (v 19)

Let us reflect today on all the encouragement that this psalm gives each of us today…..

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” (v 24)

Love and blessings to you all


Wednesday 15 April 2020

Good morning

Another sparkling, clear day. It brings to mind that lovely old hymn: “Great is thy faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand has provided – great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”

This hymn was written in 1921 shortly after the end of the Great War as people struggled with the enormous carnage and loss of life that had taken place. So many families had lost loved ones – it was a very bleak time.

Our circumstances today are somewhat similar and the lessons we can learn from this old hymn are just as applicable.

The inspiration for the hymn comes from Lamentations 3 v 23. Here the writer, Jeremiah, is recounting the utter disaster and bleakness that surrounds him following the devastation of Jerusalem, which is now deserted and Judah has gone into exile (1 v 1 & 3). The writer describes vividly how he is feeling and experiencing it all – he speaks of being “filled with bitter herbs….sated with gall…..his teeth being broken with gravel….and being deprived of peace.” (3 v 15 – 17).

And, clearly, he has been dwelling on all this misery and confesses that, in remembering these things his “soul is downcast within him.” (3 v 20)

And then, he lifts his eyes above it all and, with clear determination, says “Yet, this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” He determines not to concentrate on the woes all around him but to set his eyes on Jesus whose love and faithfulness never fail.

Let’s reflect on his love and faithfulness as we go through today.

As the psalmist asked; “why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.” (Psalm 42 v 11)

Love and blessings to you all


Tuesday 14 April 2020

Good morning on another wonderful day with clear blue skies. The sheep are grazing peacefully, while the new lambs (now 28 in number!) are either playing or are stretched out in the warmth of the morning sun – soaking up all the goodness that God provides.

I was thinking earlier of how we can “soak up” the goodness that God provides for each of us. Yesterday, we reflected on the ways in which God speaks to each of us in our own particular circumstances and with our own unique aptitudes.

One way, for many of us, is simply through the beauty of creation that we see all around us, constantly unfolding and changing especially in this glorious springtime. It lifts our hearts in thanks and praise to our Father in heaven for all his care and faithfulness.

For most of us, we see, hear and experience God’s goodness through his word as we spend more time allowing his word to speak to our hearts. There are two very similar passages that always speak to me very clearly about this. I often wonder if Jeremiah had read Psalm 1 before he wrote chapter 17 of his prophecy (not that there were any chapters originally!) as they are so similar.

Jeremiah writes: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17 v 7 & 8)

In Psalm 1, the psalmist uses the same wonderful picture from nature of a tree that is constantly fed and therefore fruitful, no matter what happens. But the psalmist emphasises that the trust and confidence in the Lord, of which Jeremiah speaks, comes from delighting in the word of the Lord and meditating on it day and night. (Psalm 1 v 2).

Let us reflect on that for a few moments……

As we go into another day, let us be sure that we allow God’s word to feed us and the beauty of his creation encourage and restore our hearts.

Love and blessings to you all


Monday 13 April 2020

Good morning.

I hope you all had a blessed Easter day and that you were able to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection albeit in unusual circumstances. We were certainly well blessed here in Marshfield as we participated in a “Zoom” Easter service with probably at least 130 people taking part. All very special and uplifting with a real sense of togetherness and fellowship. A special thank you to Rev’d Sally for leading it all for us.

Today, the day after Easter, my thoughts turn to the equivalent day in Jerusalem all those years ago and what his disciples (not just the 11) were going through.

Jesus had “come to see them” the previous evening – appearing through locked doors, for they had locked themselves away in fear of their lives. They had still been stunned and shocked by all that had happened – in denial and disbelief. They had not believed the women, who had brought the first news of Jesus’ resurrection, having visited the empty tomb and having met Jesus on their way back to the city. (Matt 28 v 9) – why not? Luke tells us that it was “because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” (Luke 24 v 11) God may speak to us by his Spirit in many ways and through many different people – we must always be open and sensitive to what he is saying and not turn a deaf ear because of prejudice or preconceived ideas.

Let us reflect for a few moments on the ways in which God speaks to us individually….

Then, the two disciples had come rushing back from Emmaus (Luke 24 v 33), having met Jesus on the road and finally recognised him as he broke the bread at supper. And, Luke also tells us, that Jesus had “appeared to Simon”. (24 v 34)

Then Jesus had come with the wonderful words: “Peace be with you.” “Why do doubts arise in your minds?” Jesus asked, “Look…It is I myself.”

As we look to Jesus today and every day, he still comes to each one of us with those same words – “Peace be with you.”

Love and blessings to you all,


Easter Sunday 12 April 2020

Good morning.

The grave is empty, love has won, Christ is risen! Hallelujah!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1 v 3)

This triumphant verse at the beginning of Peter’s first letter is for me a clarion call proclaiming the great truth that we celebrate on this Easter Sunday morning. The tomb is empty, Christ is risen! The resurrection changed everything and continues to change everything for each one of us.

“In his great mercy”….”God has given us”….”new birth into a living hope”….such mercy, what a gift! This is a hope that, as Peter goes on to say, “can never perish, spoil or fade that is kept in heaven for those who put their faith in Jesus.” (v 4 & 5)

So, on this glorious Easter morning, let’s reflect on the wonder of the resurrection……

This is a day of celebration – let’s lift our hearts in thanks and praise to our great Saviour – Jesus, our Rock and our Redeemer.

Love and blessings to you all


Saturday 11 April 2020

Good morning on another glorious day.

It was anything but a glorious day in Jerusalem all those years ago on that Saturday after Jesus’ crucifixion.

I find myself trying to imagine the depths of gloom that must have been overwhelming Jesus’ followers as they gathered together, completely terrified, behind locked doors, talking and discussing about everything that had happened. This is how Luke describes the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24 v 13) and tells us that their “faces were downcast.” Shattered, bewildered, disbelieving, the person on whom they had pinned their hopes and futures…gone. How could this have happened?

Jesus said to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe….”

Let us reflect on that challenge and ensure that we are not like that.

Of course, today is much easier for us because we know tomorrow is coming with the triumph of the resurrection and the joyous celebration that accompanies it. The truth of God’s fathomless love and everlasting faithfulness never changes – we can be certain of that.

I finish with a short poem and prayer that was in today’s Tear Fund prayer diary; “Between Friday and Sunday is Saturday, between death and resurrection is mourning, between uncertainty and certainty is faith, between pain and celebration is hope, between loneliness and community is love.”  “Lord, for those in the midst of uncertainty, pain and loneliness, grant them faith, hope and love. Amen”

Love and blessings to you all


Friday 10 April 2020

Good morning on this sunlit Good Friday

I think, had we been in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago, we would not have thought there was anything at all “Good” about that Friday. Except for the Chief Priests and elders of the people, who had conspired all through the night to reach their desired goal of persuading Pilate to order that Jesus should be crucified.

For Jesus’ followers and friends, this was the darkest and most evil of all Fridays – they had not taken in what Jesus had been trying to teach them for some time about what would happen to him in Jerusalem, but they were in denial.

Even in the upper room after the last supper, Jesus teaches them; “greater love has no-one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends….you are my friends”, Jesus says.(John 15 v 13) But they could not grasp the enormity and reality of such love. Can we? Do we?

Let us reflect on that for a few moments….

Earlier in John’s gospel, Jesus had told them; “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep….No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10 v 14 & 18) And now on that Friday long ago, the vastness of God’s love was fully demonstrated.

“Such love, paying the debt I owe – O Jesus, such love.”

Love and blessings to you all


Thursday 9 April 2020

Good morning on this lovely Maundy Thursday.

Earlier I was out checking on the lambs and ewes in the field opposite. It was a very special, serene experience with lambs stretched out in the warm spring sunshine – a wonderful picture of the simple experiencing of the joy, warmth and peace of everything that God provides.

Let us just reflect on that for a few moments….

I was pondering out in the fields of how, on that first Maundy Thursday, Jesus sent his disciples ahead to prepare the Passover for him with very simple instructions of how to find the way to get there. Then, as they were reclining at table, I am always struck by the words that Luke records when Jesus says “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you.”

Knowing full well that he had to go through dreadful suffering and death for us all, he could still say “I have eagerly desired…” what a great and amazing love is expressed in these words.

But talking of preparing a place, also made me think of Jesus’ words in John 14; “I go to prepare a place for you…that you also may be where I am.” And let us not forget that Jesus prefixes these words by saying. “let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” “Let not….” implies that some action is needed on our part and indeed it is. Very few people have such iron control of their minds that they never worry – and even they break down. God’s word is full of the recurrent reassurance; ” I am with you” or “I will be with you” ALWAYS. And remember that in the majority of these verses, we are also told; “fear not” or “don’t be afraid”.

At present, we are in a period of great anxiety all over the world; let us rest in the Lord, give our fears to him and experience his peace.

Love and blessings to you all


Wednesday 8 April 2020

Good morning

We often sing the song “Ascribe greatness to our God the rock…”, words inspired by Moses’ words in Deuteronomy 32 v 4.

“I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God. He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God, who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” (v 3 & 4)

and he goes on…”He shielded him and cared for him, he guarded him as the apple of his eye….”

Let’s reflect on that – God views us as “the apple of his eye”….

Moses goes on to illustrate that from nature – when the parent eagle is wanting to encourage its youngster to fly, it makes the nest uncomfortable and “pushes it out” – BUT it then closely accompanies the youngster, hovering over it, and, if it shows any signs of weakening or not coping, it swoops below it with its huge wings outstretched to bear it up again and back to safety. And so, Moses goes on…

“like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads out its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions, so the Lord alone led him” (v 11)

In the words of another old hymn, “we rest on thee, our shield and our defender! we go not forth alone against the foe; strong in thy strength, safe in thy keeping tender, we rest on thee, and in thy name we go.”

Love and blessings to you all


Tuesday 7 April 2020

Good morning – what a glorious day!

“Would you keep an eye on the sheep for us”, asked Dawn Brooks a few days ago, we’re putting them out in the field opposite you. Our ’round’ on the first evening revealed 20 ewes, 14 of which had already lambed. Twice (or more) daily ’rounds’ enable us to keep an eye on them. Last evening at about 7.30pm, as the sun was setting, we saw a little lamb teetering on wobbly legs and trying to find the “milk bar”. We continued our count and, five minutes later, saw the new mum licking at something in the grass and the second twin had just emerged.

This was a wonderful pageant of the miracle of birth and a living reminder of the changelessness of our Father God. James reminds us both of the fact that all good things come from God and that he is unchanging: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” or, as another translation puts it, “with whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning.” (James 1 v 17) Wonderful, rocklike certainty!

But James goes on: “He chose to give us birth (‘birth from above’) through the word of truth (the gospel), that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” (v 18)

So, James adds a challenge to his wonderful proclamation of God’s generosity and certainty and it presents us with a challenge each day: “he chose to give us birth….that we might be….” Be what? Be what he asked us to be – his “friends” who do as he commands: “This is my command: love one another.” (John 15 v 14 – 17)

Let us reflect on that today……

So, from our thoughts yesterday of being kept safe under his protecting wings, we move to the wonderful thought of Jesus as our Shepherd today, always caring for us and always leading us. As Micah prophesied, when foretelling the place of Jesus’ birth, “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord….and they will live securely….and he will be their peace.” (Micah 6 v 4)

Love and blessings to you all


Monday 6 April 2020

As I look out this morning, we now have the joyous sight of 20 or so tiny lambs all gambolling in the field – yet another lovely reminder that, whatever else is happening, God is unchangeable and, as he promised; “as long as the earth endures,….seedtime and harvest…will never cease.” (Genesis 8 v 22)

Yesterday, we reflected on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and that poignant pause as he wept over the city, demonstrating the depth of his love and compassion. It reminded me of that other time when Jesus lamented over Jerusalem (Luke 13 v 34); “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,….how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

Such great love and care, but it was spurned…..let’s reflect on that…..and be sure we don’t make the same mistake.

The picture Jesus paints of a hen gathering her chicks under her wings is a special visual image of the closest possible care and safety – an image often used by the psalmist: here are a few: “O Lord,…how precious is your unfailing love…we find refuge in the shadow of your wings” (36 v 7) – “O God…in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (57 v 1) – “he will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (91 v 4) In our ever-changing lives, only in the Lord can we know changelessness, security and peace.

As the old hymn says: “How good is the God we adore, our faithful unchangeable friend; His love is as great as his power, and knows neither measure nor end.”

Love and blessings to you all


Sunday 5 April 2020

Good morning on this beautiful Palm Sunday morning.

It makes me wonder what it was like on the actual Palm Sunday as Jesus sent for the donkey’s colt and prepared to make his entry into Jerusalem.

All the gospel writers record the ‘triumphal entry’, adding extra details that particularly remained in their minds or were repeated to them. John, having just recounted the raising of Lazarus, recalls that “the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb…” was an integral part of the Palm Sunday procession.

However, I particularly like Luke’s account because he goes on to record a very unique, special and intimate happening as part of this ‘triumphal entry’ – something that illustrates wonderfully for all of us the amazing love, compassion and tenderness of Jesus.

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” (Luke 19 v 41) The whole procession pauses and Jesus weeps. There are only two instances where it is recorded that Jesus wept – at the tomb of Lazarus and this one – a tangible demonstration of the depth of his love and care for each and every one of us. And the words he spoke that day are as relevant today as they were then: “if you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but……you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you.” Let us not make the same mistake.

Jesus still offers and gives his peace to us all.

Let us reflect on that today….

Love and blessings to you all,