Thought for the Day 10/11/20

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth…is actually not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:24; 27

I wonder how you respond to being in uncertain situations. Speaking personally, I try to hold on to things I can’t hold on to. Or I try to change things that are outside of my power or control. But I soon realise that in my own strength, that is just futile! So, how should we as Christians respond to uncertainty? How do we process the
chaos and confusion of a pandemic, political uncertainty or even personal crisis? Hear this truth: a Christian responds to every situation and circumstance of
uncertainty with the truth of God’s sovereignty. You can define Sovereignty simply as God’s authority, rule, reign and control over all things. While we may face uncertainty, there is never an ounce of uncertainty for God.
One of the most spectacular places we find this biblical truth is when Paul is speaking to the people of Athens at the Areopagus in Acts 17:24-28. The Areopagus
was a place filled with uncertainty. People would gather and talk for hours trying to understand and solve the issues of humanity (religion, politics, family, etc.). In this
context of high uncertainty and probably a fair share of anxiety, Paul says these reassuring and comforting words: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth…is actually not far from each one of us.”

Do you feel the power of the truth there? The God who made everything, who is Lord of heaven and earth, is near to us. Wow!
Theologian Charles Spurgeon said, “God is near, and therefore hope is near.” As Christians, we have the certainty of God’s nearness. However, there are those we care for in our families, workplaces, schools and communities who are facing the fear of uncertainty in this pandemic without the hope of the nearness of Christ. What an incredible opportunity you and I have in the midst of uncertain situations to be beacons of light of the promise and presence of the sovereign rule of Christ.
Our job is to reflect the love, goodness, grace and glory of Christ to a broken world. Everything else is in the firm and faithful hands of our loving God.

Peace be with you! Rev Peter Hubbard (Vicar)

Pause for Thought – An Attitude of Gratitude
“For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies”
Two lines from a well known and loved hymn and how true I have found this to be. A week last Friday I awoke feeling really flat, wondering what the day would bring. Rain was forecast and the news ever gloomier. Despite this a walk was planned for later in the day at Attingham Park and it was decided we would go despite the weather, and do you know what, I am so glad that we did. The sun came out and the sky was blue. As we walked I stood in awe of the wonderful landscape before me, the autumn colours of the trees
in the deer park, the beauty of God’s creation in all its splendour surrounding me and filling me with warmth. I was in no hurry to leave this place of beauty and serenity. I was truly able to say “Lord of all to thee we raise, this our joyful hymn of praise.” But this wasn’t the end of the visit & God’s goodness. On the way out not far from the walled garden was a display of the most creative and colourful knitted animals from scary looking spiders to hedgehogs, caterpillars & birds appearing in the trees & hedges, it was a child’s paradise. It reminded me of how even though we don’t deserve it, God our Father gives good gifts to His children and you and I are one of them. So the day that started off so  negatively turned out to be one of sheer joy, and to quote another loved favourite hymn –
“All good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above, then thank the Lord
oh thank the Lord for all His love”
Hilary Taylor

Thought for the Day
On Sunday 25 October Ivan Hacking spoke to us and as usual with a talk from Ivan there was a challenge for us, to think about our faith and the personal response we give back to our Lord for his saving grace. During the  communion, as I was at home, I decided to read my Daily Bread for the day. The reading was Psalm 119:129-152 and the response was as follows, so relevant to Ivan’s talk.
‘Lord, make your word my rule, in it may I rejoice;
your glory be my aim,
your holy will my choices,
your promises my hope …
yourself my great reward.’*
*Christopher Wordsworth, 1807-85, ‘Lord, make your word my rule’
These are strange, difficult and challenging times, so much of what we have taken for granted has been taken away from us. We can feel cut off from those we love and the friends we have. Life can feel turned upside and awkward. But thankfully not everything has changed. God’s word and promises to us remain the same as they were in the past, are in the present and will be in the future. As Christians we have a hope given to us through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, freely on the cross for us. I am not saying that we should not worry and feel anxious, but that we do not have to do this alone, we can reach out to our Lord as the Psalmist does in Psalm 119.
v 133: Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
v 135: Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees.
v 146: I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes.
We can still be the hands, feet and eyes for Jesus in this world despite the uncertain times we live in, perhaps even more so it is important that we are.
‘Lord, make your word my rule, in it may I rejoice;
your glory be my aim,
your holy will my choices,
your promises my hope …
yourself my great reward.’*
*Christopher Wordsworth, 1807-85, ‘Lord, make your word my rule’
Love and Blessings to you all
Mark Underwood