Sunday, 7 October 2007

Thought - based on Matthew 26:69-75 (27/3/07)

"Peter denied it in front of everyone"

The same man who proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ.

The same man whom Jesus used as his rock to build his church on.

The same man who, earlier that evening, told Jesus that he would never desert him and was willing to die with him.

Simon Peter, the first of the disciples along with his brother Andrew; a fisherman-come-'fisher of men'; one of Jesus' favorite, supposedly; one of the twelve who always happened to be present when Jesus performed a miracle.

He denied it in front of everyone.

He made a mistake. Probably the worst mistake that man could make but he was only human. And its forever inscribed in the scriptures so that others learn from it. So that others can take something away from Peter's denial in front of everyone.

Easter can be a time for new beginnings. It was a new beginning for Christ, for he died for our sins, rose again and ascended to the heavens shortly after. It was a new time for Peter as well because Jesus forgave him and, from the end of John onwards, became an even more powerful and influential figure among the early Christians. And it was a new beginning for the church; for religion; for mankind, because even though he was doubted and scorned before, he still forgave us and blessed us with a second chance.

I wonder if you feel that this Easter its time for a new beginning. Look at what went on in the past and learn from it; move on and do that God asks of us. Lets look towards a brighter future in our walk with Christ and build towards it.

"From that sacred hill
Hope is gleaming still"

The hope for us to start again and put things right. You might think its become a bit of a cliché now to think about new beginnings; that the mere mention of it is old hat. Its never old hat with God, especially at Easter time, when we think of our saviour dying so that we may begin again.

If its one thing you take away from Easter, let it be the opportunity to start afresh. Rise again, rise above the battles and conflicts in your life. At least acknowledge the opportunity is there for you; but maybe, just maybe, He is telling you to make the most of it.


Thought - based on Psalm 91 (6/3/07)

How many of you made new year's resolutions?

And how many of you stuck to them?

One of my new year's resolutions (going into 2007) was to eat a little healthier and do some more exercise. I know I don't look as if I need it but hey! So I decided all of this on New Year's Eve, December 31st. Come January 2nd, I'm having my lunch in McDonalds!

Sometimes I'm sure you'll find that you say one thing and you mean to carry that out but you end up doing the opposite. I know I'm guilty of that the odd time, truth be told. You may find you're planning, at the start of the year, e.g. to study a bit more (maybe not), work harder at your job or college, or even the simplest of things like making time for your friends or family. But for some reason or another, that idea or intention you had doesn't materialise.

Let me ask you a question; now think about this -

When you entered into a relationship with God, how did you decide you were going to do it?

What did you say to yourself, or to God, when you made the decision that you were going to hand your days, your hours, your talents, your LIFE over to him?

Did you enter into it lightly?

Did you think to yourself, "Right, this is what I'm going to do to be a Christian and I'm going to do it like (this).....and (this).....and not like (this).....and avoid (that).....etc.

Do some of you still have to enter into a relationship with God?

Whatever your circumstances, the point I'm trying to make is this:

Regardless of how you've planned your journey with God, he's got a plan for you too; he's got a perfect plan to be with each one of you. And he's not going to leave your side.

I'm not going to lie to you: the journey isn't an easy one. Its never all going to be a bed of roses or a holiday in the sun, I'm sorry to say. You're going to have to take the rough with the smooth. And you have to look at things from the perspective that such is life.

Psalm 91:14 says this: "I will rescue those who love me; I will protect those who trust in my name."

That Psalm as a whole is a PROMISE that He will be with you at all times!

You can't give up on God. If you make a resolution this year to become closer to Him and you;ve struggled or you are struggling, its ok because He's not going to give up on you. But please don't give up on Him.

I encourage you to listen to the U2 song "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" the minute you've finished reading this. Its not necessarily a religious piece of music but I believe there's a message in it for somebody reading this. I don't know who. But God does and I challenge you to close your eyes while listening to it. Listen to the words and, for the majority of them, imagine that God's trying to communicate with you. Imagine that He's telling you that whatever battle you're fighting, wherever it is, you're not alone.