I am currently undertaking a two year theology course run by the Diocese of Chelmsford, called Course in Christian Studies (CCS). We have been challenged to write our own psalm. I’ve really found the psalms a great source of comfort over the past couple of months. Prayers of praise, worship and lament written thousands of years ago are as relevant today as they were then.
But, in these times of lockdown, finding a quiet space to focus on God isn’t always easy. This morning I woke at 6:30am with the inspiration of the Spirit on my heart (and a sleepy household). God has a way of nudging us in the right direction!
This is my personal psalm:
Child of God
My Lord and my God,
I praise you, creator of heaven and earth.
My Lord and my God,
I worship you, giver of life.
My Lord and my God,
I bow down before you, judge and defender.
And yet, you know my inmost being.
You know my heart and my joy,
my anxieties and my sorrow.
When I am low you lift me up,
you comfort and sustain me.
When I am on the mountain top
you are the guide who led me there.
You love me despite my failings.
You love me despite my flaws.
You love me despite my insecurities.
When I wander from your presence,
you never give up on me.
Your open arms welcome me home
with unconditional love.
You lavish me with grace,
again and again.
Like never-ending waves on the shore,
washing over me.
I am a Child of God.
It’s been more than a while. It’s been over 2 years since I last wrote a blog post.
The busyness of life has taken over and there no longer seems to be any spare time to do some of the things I love. Life is one big rush from one place to the next. Time for bible and prayer is being squeezed.
Well not anymore.
Things are about to change.
This is my last week working in the square mile, the City of London. A new job awaits me next week. Shorter hours, shorter commute.
Time to refocus and reprioritise.
A new year, a new season, new beginnings.
101 days ago I returned from our annual visit to the New Wine summer conference in Somerset. Full of enthusiasm and feeling filled afresh with the Spirit, the next day I felt inspired to start a new reading plan. And so I embarked upon Bible in One Year.
Today I completed Day 100. I must admit, I wasn’t sure if I’d stick it out, as I’ve tried reading plans before and drifted off. But this time felt different. And it really has made a difference to my relationship with God. Every day he speaks to me through his Word in fresh, exciting and relevant ways. Verses leap out at me that seem hand picked for my circumstance.
If you’re not currently reading the bible daily, here’s a few tips get the ball rolling and keeping on track:
- Pick a reading plan. There are lots of plans available (check out You Version Bible app), and each reading comes with a devotional or commentary to help you delve deeper beyond the words on the page.
- Make yourself accountable. Why not get a friend to follow the same plan at the same time so you can discuss what you’ve read.
- Find a quiet place to read, without distractions.
- Make time every morning for your reading. It should be your first priority. It’s the best way to start the day. How can you put Gods word into practice if you’re about to go to bed?
- Pray before you read. Ask God to speak to you in new ways through his Word.
- Pray after you read. Ask God to help you put his Word into practice in the day ahead.
I found within a few weeks that my daily bible readings have become embedded in my routine. The Old Testament has been put into context in a way that I didn’t understand before. Psalms and Proverbs are offering daily encouragement and praise. Familiar New Testament parables and details of Jesus life, death and resurrection have new meaning and connection.
I’m already wondering what I’ll do once I reach Day 366…
One of the things I have taken away from New Wine United this year is that I’m coming up very short when it comes to reading the bible. Although I’ve done many short bible study plans, I’ve never managed to read it all the way through. I’ve had a couple of attempts, but the busyness of life seems to get in the way. My initial enthusiasm wanes, I lose momentum, fall behind and ultimately give up.
But this time feels different.
Commit your actions to the Lord and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3 (NLT)
Listening to RT Kendall speak this morning on the subject of forgiveness has given me a lot of food for thought. I realise that my perception of what it means to truly forgive is considerably short of Gods expectation of us. I have some work to do, but today I stood up and made the commitment to forgive in a way that I haven’t in the past.
Joseph (Genesis 45) has shown us what it means to forgive, by graciously forgiving his brothers. There are many lessons to be learned on how he dealt with his brothers after the ordeal that they put him through several years earlier.
Sunday is a day of rest and reflection, so now that we are a few days into Lent, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and experiences from the 40acts challenges.
“Freely you have received; freely give.”
Matthew 10: 8
I’ve been thinking about Lent for the past few weeks, and what I should abstain from this year. In the past I’ve given up alcohol, chocolate, sweets and social media. I have a sense that God want’s me to do something a bit different this year, so I’ve signed up to 40acts. If you haven’t heard of it before, here’s a little taster of what it’s all about:
This week has been quite an eventful one, full of challenges. After completing the London Winter Run on Sunday, my usual hip pain was surprisingly mild following the 10k. However, I’d already booked in to have ultrasound guided injections on Monday. It wasn’t as painful as I anticipated, however I did have to jump on the treadmill for 10 minutes to check whether it had worked. I don’t think my legs were quite ready for exercise again so soon.
Wednesday was an early start to get the first bus to the train station to get in to London. The company I work for sends a couple of volunteers over to Whitechapel Mission once a week to help cook and serve breakfasts to the homeless. This is the second time I’d signed up for the rota, and on this occasion I was on egg duties. By 9:30am I’d fried approximately 200 eggs to varying specifications.
Last year I signed up to do the 10k London Winter Run for Cancer Research UK. At the time I’d run the 5k Race for Life with Millie, and several Park Runs. This seemed like an achievable next step, but my hip had other plans.
A few months ago I started suffering with hip pain and began some physiotherapy in November to get it sorted before the Winter Run. What I thought would be a few weeks of physio turned into months and an MRI scan.
Despite not getting the bottom of the hip issue, and doing virtually no running in 3 months (and I’ve only ever run as far as 7k), I felt determined to do the race. It was never going to be a record breaking time, but if I could just complete the course…