Abraham. What can we learn from his life?

Read & Reflect: Take time to read Genesis 12.
If you can, keep reading on until Genesis 25:11. We see that Abraham (aka Abram) trusted God as he headed off not knowing where God was taking him. But as we reflect on how he later denies Sarai is his wife (12:10-20) and look at the different way that Abraham lived compared with what we might take to be right today: we see he is very much human and flawed. Yet he is blessed, so very blessed by God. Respond: Are there untruthful areas of our life that we need to deal with? How much do we trust God, especially when we don’t know to where He is leading us?

Great Cloud of Witnesses

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. Let us fix our eyes onJesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…“ Hebrews 12:1-2.
Each week there will be a suggestion of someone from “our great cloud of witnesses” to learn from and be inspired by. Some will be from the Old Testament, some from the New Testament and some will be followers of Jesus who have come
after the time of the Bible. This week, to start us off: read Hebrews 11 and 12 and reflect on how the writer is encouraging us to be challenged and inspired by people of faith who have gone before us.

Resurrection Stories. 4. 29 April 2018

Reinstated John 21: 15-19

There is the neat counter-balancing of Peter being asked three times by Jesus against the three times that Peter denies Jesus prior to His death. And there is the prophetic bit about the way Peter will be martyred because of his faith. But what always gets me as being so very beautiful about this passage is that Jesus not only wipes the slate clean for Peter but He gives him a crucial job in (“Feed my sheep” v.7) and this is based on love. Jesus trusts Peter. He believes in him.
He believes in us.
Peter messed up. We mess up.
Peter is forgiven. We are forgiven.
Peter says he loves Jesus. Do we love Jesus in the same way?
Peter is restored in this way because he has work to do. We are restored in
this way because we have work to do.
And by the way – notice this all happens after they have eaten together.

Resurrection Stories 3. 22 April 2018

“Believing” Thomas. John 20: 19-29

Usually we call him doubting Thomas. And yet he cries “My Lord and my God!”. He needs a different way to encounter the risen Jesus. Jesus offers him a multi-sensory/touchy-feely/scientific way of finding out for himself. So, read this and permit yourself to believe in the way that works for you so that you can say with Thomas: “My Lord and my God!”
Are there any areas in your faith where you need to explore a little bit more/where you need more proof?
And then look at what the object of our faith has to say when He arrives in the room! Jesus “stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” (v.26).

What greetings do we offer to people? What do we bring into each situation? Is it peace?

Resurrection Stories 2. 15 April 2018

Welcome the Risen Lord. Luke 24:13-43

I find this episode so exciting and yet at the same time quite baffling. How did they not recognise him? The question intrigues me but I think it is of more importance for us to concern ourselves with the question of why we don’t recognise Jesus in our lives and the lives around us.
I believe that what happens here between Jesus and his friends can help us to do this. What can we pick up on here?
– first of all Jesus listens.
– second he is able to give a Bible explanation.
– hospitality leads to revelation. In the breaking of bread and the eating of fish they see Jesus for who he is. They get a glimpse of Him as He breaks bread. Simple and sudden, surprising.
– and there is a continuing theme of disbelief on the part of Jesus’ followers. We should not let our doubts cloud our vision.

In response to what this passage is saying it would be great if we gave more importance to food fellowship as a time when we might glimpse Jesus. When did you last invite someone to eat/drink with you?

And finally, a powerful factor for the Emmaus disciples is hindsight (verse 32).
Look back and be spurred on by high points, heart burning moments, on your
walk with Jesus.