Books for this season: None Like Him by Jen Wilkins

 

None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) by Jen Wilkin

 

This season for many of us is causing stress and strains in ways that we didn’t ever imagine or foresee.  Fear seems to be trying to creep in through all sorts of different ways; health, family, jobs, finance, children and the disruption of our regular plans.  The refining fire of God is being felt.

I read this book over a month ago and really appreciated the way it explores some of the characteristics of God, it challenged me to celebrate the freedom that comes when I rest in letting God be God.

In this unprecedented time, it is good for us to keep our gaze on God and to keep reflecting and reminding ourselves who He is in the midst of chaos.  Meditating on some of the truths of who God is and what that means for each of us is incredibly liberating and good for the soul.  I started re-reading the book this week, so that, instead of being swept away in circumstances, I am dwelling on the truth of who God is, and this is helping me find peace in the midst all that is going on.

I would like to recommend this book to you because at this time it is crucial that we keep reminding ourselves of who our God is and the fact that ultimately we can trust him in and with all things.

Linda Geevanathan

Paperback £7.35

https://www.amazon.co.uk/None-Like-Him-Different-Thats/dp/1433549832/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1585241789&sr=8-1

Kindle edition £6.71

https://www.amazon.co.uk/None-Like-Him-Different-Thats-ebook/dp/B01BU6F7RI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1585241789&sr=8-1

 

 

 

 

Insight for this season from Adi Naidu

Jesus and the Leper (Matthew  8:1-4)

Given the chaos a virus has caused and its devastating effects multiplying everyday, many are baffled and many broken beyond repair. In these challenging times, many will Glorify God and many would blaspheme against Him. A Christian will instantly look at the author and finisher of His faith even when his back is up against the wall. Driving strength from the scriptures for him is instinctive.

Jesus’ sermon on the mount is one of the most authoritative and cited biblical text. The incredible words and wisdom of Lord Jesus Christ is still studied and reflected upon. The opening verse in the gospel of Matthew chapter 8 points to the fact that Jesus came down from the mountain after preaching this famous sermon on the mount, and the astonished crowd followed Him. The people who were astonished because of His words were now a few moments away from being stunned because of His acts.

In Matthew 8:1-4 we read a leper came before Jesus, asserting His Lordship he pleaded to be healed, and Jesus touched the leper and healed him. There is a possibility that the cause of astonishment here was more inclined towards Jesus’ act of touching the leper, than the leper being straightaway healed. Because, Jesus on touching the leper, defied the norm and did something that was against the law of Moses. In verse 4, Jesus advises the leper to not say anything to anyone and get himself examined by the priests, offer gifts according to the law.

Observations: In purview of present corona virus pandemic condition, what lessons can we learn from this section of the scripture?

I want to derive 3 observations.

  1. Jesus defied the norms. Jesus being fully man and fully God, in His sovereignty touched the leper physically and healed him instantly. Only God could do that, and the leper who rightly asserted His Lordship on approaching Him (V. 1) was given the due reward for his faith which was coupled with his action (initiative) to take a step towards his Lord. In these challenging times and restricting days, there are only a handful of things we can do. It is important we take a step in faith and reach out to the affected and the vulnerable. Jesus was and is God, so he could physically touch the leper; we being finite men, need to understand our limitation and in today’s context maintain distance, yet do our best to help the affected and vulnerable. Our thoughts and actions can defy the norms of the present world, yet be in sync with Gods words and teachings. There are numerous acts of love and spiritual generosity you can carry out to help and support your extended families, neighbors, colleagues, clients and fellow Christians. The world is stockpiling perishable goods, we Christian should stockpile the imperishable – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This is our ammunition in every warfare.
  2. Jesus was and is still willing! Throughout the Bible we do come across numerous instances where God answered to groaning, calls, prayers, and supplications of His people. Corporate and personal prayers, He respects them all and is willing to provide our needs according to His will. The urgency is enormous and scale of devastation is like never seen before. How much more earnest should we be in these troubled times to call upon the name of our Lord and seek His divine intervention. The one who is the radiance of the glory of God, who upholds the universe by the word of His power is mighty, able and willing to save!
  1. Jesus demands allegiance to the authorities. After speaking authoritatively on the mountain, and later demonstrating His Lordship over all aspects of human life by touching and instantly healing the leper, Jesus does another stunning act here. As paradoxical as it may seems, Jesus did asked the leper to go and show himself to the priests and offer sacrifices as suggested in the law. Jesus knew these were the people (in authority) who were reprobate; who abused their power and influence and later would kill him on the cross, yet he demanded that the healed leper should respect the authorities and the Law. In conjunction with His teachings in the Bible, Jesus demands that we His people should obey the authorities, then and now. We must meticulously pay heed to the government advisories and keep our conduct blameless, doing everything in our capacities. Social Isolation is the need of time, lets precisely do everything required of us.

This passage in the Bible speaks to us so relevantly in present time of crisis. Glory to our Lord, His word and His Spirit who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Adi Naidu

 

Advice for this season from those who know!

posted in: People of Hope 0

Hello !! 👋
How is everyone today ?

A few people had asked of we have any tips for surviving this funny old time we’re in …having been extremely restricted ourselves since 2015.

I didn’t know what to share at first as each person’s journey is different and ours won’t look like yours especially as we’ve been dealing with chronic illness as the reason for the restriction.

But then I thought I could tell you what WE do and if it helps you great!

So we have plenty of not great days but this is what tends to happen on a good day or week.

I try to get up early to have quiet time . For me that means connecting with God . I often write my thoughts and feelings down ( type them into my PC then can say what I like , delete it afterwards and not cause trauma to anyone might read it after my demise)
We try to have a routine ..in a time when you can do anything making a structure helps . But the elements can be interchangeable and moved around like blocks.

As an OT I was trained to ask people what most brought them to life and to build it into their days or week to keep well -being topped up . For each person it was different . For me writing, tending to plants on our balcony ,connecting with friends and family and doing my nails (amoungst other things) give me life. So I try (don’t always do it ) to build those things in.

We try to do at least one thing a day that we both enjoy …usually watching an episode of a great box set. Well chosen tv / films a life saver. Not so much mindless watching of tv. For us anyway.

A roast meal once a week ( a fave of ours)

Regular prayer together. As much laughter as we can make or find together.

Sowing seeds in our balcony pots. Making up stories. Reading alone or together .
Really intentional things . Different things for everyone

Some days I just feel tired and sad and being intentional is tiring . Thats ok. I just let myself feel that and sometimes have a cry. Then we distract ourselves again and don’t stay there too long. .

The real secret in our lives is something called ” Soaking prayer ” . Obviously not everyone believes and that fine. But this is our journey . I’m sure alot of you know what it is ..but for those who don’t … It’s the opposite of performance. It’s getting comfortable ( lying down for me ) putting on some quiet music and asking God to fill you and give you more strength. Letting your body and mind rest .
For those who don’t believe in God , just stopping, slowing down and resting to quiet music or using relaxations techniques can help to reset.
I always have more energy after that.
Try to eat lots of fruit and veg but throw in a treat too.
Well …that what I do.

What about you ?
It’s seriously hard for us being confined but with some intentional activity and planning it can be ok and even rewarding.

PLEASE don’t think I’m telling you should do what we do. I’m simply sharing what had worked for us. And we don’t always do it either. Sometimes I just look at face book 😂.

Praying for all who find themselves in new territory. May you find the love grace and strength that we have found to carry on.

With much love

Glen and Christa xxxxx
Obviously I have to do housework cooking, caring duties etc! But not ALL the time …

Courses for this season

I believe strongly that we need to embrace this season rather than deny what is happening, get angry or depressed about it. To do this we need to be positive, structure our time and invest some of it in learning new things.

There are other blogs suggesting books you might read in this season. This blog introduces several Christian courses that are being made available free of charge on the internet now. I would encourage you to consider investing sometime each day in doing a Christian course.

Here are some suggestions –

https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/product/emotionally-healthy-discipleship-dvd-course-stream/?v=ad0777e6b3ef

This gives you access to two courses.

Emotionally healthy relationships, an 8 session course with each session lasting around 30 minutes. It refers to other resources, but these are not essential to benefit from the course. The aim of the course it to equip us to build healthier relationships of all types. It is very practical and down to earth.

Emotionally healthy spirituality is another 8 week course with each session around 20 minutes long. This course focuses on your relationship with God, again in a practical and down to earth way.

https://masterlectures.zondervanacademic.com/surprised-by-hope-n-t-wright/videos/surprised-by-hope-session-1-hope-for-the-world

Tom Wright, also known as N.T. Wright, is one of the best and most respected biblical scholars of today. This is a course based on his classic book Surprised by hope. It focuses on what the Bible says about the age of come, our future hope. After each lecture there is a question and answer to check you have understood what is taught. You can sign up for a free two week trial.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Revelation-Introduction-Commentary-Tyndale-Testament-ebook/dp/B01C9KYZQ8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3KY0RDA6U5HKM&dchild=1&keywords=ian+paul&qid=1585048928&sprefix=ian+Paul%2Caps%2C169&sr=8-1

https://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/think_2019_sessions_now_available

How about giving your time to study one of the most challenging yet stimulating books of the Bible – Revelation! There is a link to an excellent introductory commentary on the book and to a series of lectures that I attended on the book last year. If you want to follow the lecture course get in contact with me and I will forward you the lecture notes that accompanied the course. There are 8 lectures each of around 90 minutes, so it is a considerable investment of time. However, it will open up this elusive book in an incredible way.

These are a few of the resources currently available. Set yourself a challenge, try something new, invest your time in something to help you grow as a christian!

Tony Thompson Tony@hopechurch.co.uk

 

Books for this season. Dominion by Tom Holland

Yesterday I started a short series on books worthy of investing time in during social isolation. Todays offering is for those who want a meaty read, something that will keep you enthralled for many hours. It is Dominion by Tom Holland. I read it last year and it took many hours. It needs to be thought of as an investment rather than a light read…….

Tom is an academic writing an academic book about the impact Christianity has had on contemporary culture. He admits that when he started the book, he wasn’t a believer but from the conclusion of the book and subsequent interviews it seems that he probably is now.

Joel Virgo has produced an excellent review, which I cannot better so I recommend you read it rather than me say anything more about the book.

https://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/how_christianity_made_the_western_mind_joel_virgo_reviews_tom_holland

Joel says, It’s one of the most stimulating books of history you’re likely to come across. I totally agree.

I think it is excellent value for money at £13.89 for the hardback

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dominion-Making-Western-Tom-Holland/dp/1408706954/ref=sr_1_1?crid=WXY7ZCABMB0X&dchild=1&keywords=dominion+tom+holland&qid=1584972406&sprefix=dominion%2Caps%2C163&sr=8-1

£10.99 for the kindle version.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dominion-Making-Western-Tom-Holland-ebook/dp/B010RGSEC2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1584972406&sr=8-1

 

Books for this season. Screwtape letters – C.S. Lewis

As I have said before the current requirement for social distancing presents many challenges but also many opportunities. We need to embrace the opportunities as well as overcome the challenges.

For me this includes spending more time reading, it may mean that for you. I have been asked already for recommended books. I am currently rereading an old classic, Screwtape letters written by CS Lewis during the second world war, over 70 years ago. It is a series of letters from a senior devil to his nephew on how to tempt humans. It is an easy read but also profound and still very relevant. Certainly, one of the books I would commend to you at this time.

One of the letters deals with how to cause problems for a young Christian living with his mother. It could equally apply to any close relationship and speaks into situations when we may be sending more time with the same people than is usually the case.

The demon is encouraged to build up a habit of mutual annoyance, daily pinpricks that harm the relationship. This is to be achieved by –

  1. Keeping his mind on the inner life.

Keep his mind off the most elementary duties by directing him to the most advanced and spiritual ones….

You must bring him to a condition in which he can practise self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office.

  1. It is impossible to stop him praying for his mother, but we have ways of rendering his prayers innocuous.

Focus the prayers on the state of her soul, not her rheumatism. This means he is thinking of her sins and, in time, begins to pray for an imaginary person far removed from the real person.

I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment’s notice from impassioned prayer for a wife’s or son’s ‘soul’ to beating or insulting the real wife or son without a qualm.

  1. When people have lived together for a while there are things about each other that irritate.

Work on them! Remind him of how he dislikes the way his mother raises her eyebrow. Make him think she knows this and does it on purpose to annoy him. Never let him suspect the same is going on the other way around and how absurd that his mother could know it irritates him.

  1. Recognise hatred is expressed by saying things that if the words were written on paper appear harmless but are said in such a voice and at such a moment, that they are not far short of a blow in the face.

Each must demand that what they say is taken at face value whilst judging the other with the most over-sensitive interpretation. From every quarrel they can both go away convinced that they are quite innocent.

There is much more like this, practical, down to earth, witty and very relevant. 31 easy to read short chapter mean this can last you a month.

Paperback it costs £7.37 on Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Screwtape-Letters-Senior-Signature-Classic/dp/0007461240/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=screwtape&qid=1584971181&sr=8-1

Kindle is only £2.29

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Screwtape-Letters-Clive-Staples-Lewis-ebook/dp/B084S9BVLT/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1584971181&sr=8-1

I will publish other suggestions over the next few days.

 

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