Harry and Alice will be taking a well deserved break from July 6th to 15th. Services and Coffee mornings will continue as normal and the reflections will be published by Dave Matthews and Ann Nias. Please contact me for any matters relating to Church business. Also pray for Harry as he recovers from his broken arm.
Thursday 9th July
Please be still as you come into God’s presence
Reflection – by Ann Nias
When a computer program freezes we press control/alt/delete to “refresh” the page.
If a plant wilts, we pour on water and add Miracle Grow to refresh the leaves and encourage flowering or fruiting.
Sometimes we wilt at around 4pm and need a power nap, or chocolate and a cup of tea to refresh us.
Are you in need of spiritual refreshing?
Feeling dry, like this plant? A bit weary, droopy round the edges? No longer vibrant and fruitful? Hungry and thirsty for some divine Miracle Grow to restore you?
To change metaphors, perhaps you feel like David, 'this leaning wall, this tottering fence'? (Psalm 62:3)
Or are your 'arms feeble and your knees weak'? (Hebrews 12:12)
Are you 'weary and heavy laden'? (Matthew 11:28)
Absorb this beautiful video and thank God that He is in the business of refreshing and renewing.
As God's people we have special resources to help restore and freshen our spiritual 'oomph' :
Feed on Scripture!
The book of Psalms begins with a recipe for 'miracle grow':
'Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields it's fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither'.
The Bible is a larder full of good things, but we need to open it and feed on it daily to keep a healthy balance in our lives. We know this is true, really, but sometimes, by default, we prefer to be spoon-fed our spiritual diet.
Nourish your heart with praise!
Paul has a suggestion for raising flagging spirits, in Philippians 4:8:
'whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.'
It's so easy to get caught up in those negatives so prevalent in society's atmosphere, isn't it? Or, because of current deprivations and too much time for navel gazing, to have a 'pity party' for one! We need to look for the good around us, for the beautiful possibilities, to feed our heart, mind, and senses on 'anything excellent or praiseworthy', refusing that which will blight our growth and taint our fruitfulness.
Support your faith with prayerful dependence on God!
Jesus Himself modeled the vital sustenance gained in the greenhouse of prayer and taught us too:
'But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.' (Matthew 6:6)
Prayer is a fundamental need, but is also a discipline. It seems to me that prayer will never be easy – there will always be distractions and things that suddenly spring to mind, diverting our attention; or we postpone prayer to the end of the day and fall asleep in the process! Yet without prayer, we are all weakened and vulnerable, aren't we??
Rely on Jesus as your life-source.
'Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.' (Colossians 2:7)
“I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Find ways to encourage one another
Maybe you speak to your plants to encourage them to grow, maybe you don't believe in all that stuff, but we do need to speak to one another, to give and to draw strength to keep growing in our faith.
'let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds....encouraging one another.' (Hebrew 10:24)
Father God, forgive me that sometimes I allow myself to flag and wilt because of the pressures of circumstances. Thank You that You are the God who promises life in all its fullness.
Restore to me the freshness of Your Spirit, the vibrancy of Jesus and create in me the fruits of Your Spirit.
This next song will reinvigorate your faith and refresh your spirit:
A blessing, written by Malcolm Duncan:
'You cannot flourish when you are rooted in fear, so may your soul be planted in the soil of faith and may hope bud on the branches of your life.
May restlessness be lifted from you and replaced with peace; may sorrow not sap you, and comfort console you instead.
May the seeds of faith, hope, and love be sprinkled across your soul, blossoming into life.'
Communion Offering for July
We as a church, have endeavoured, throughout the ‘lockdown’ to give to the various charities and organisations designated on the ‘Communion Offering’ list.
This month we will be forwarding a gift to Tear Fund for the ‘Yemen Crisis.’ If you would like to donate to this, please do so clearly identifying the gift for Tear Fund in your payment to the church account.
Raven House Trust! Please continue to pray for the work of Raven House and especially the growing need for food parcels. The numbers requesting the parcels has virtually doubled in two weeks, potentially giving out over 150 parcels this next week. Pray for the staff and volunteers, pray for food deliveries to continue (food bags can be dropped off at Underwood Baptist Church providing it’s safe and in order for you to do so) lastly, pray for the finances. Each food parcel given out by Raven House costs approx’ £15.00 each. If you feel you can help financially please send to the church account via Bacs payment or contact our Treasurers. Clearly highlighting the gift is for Raven House Trust.