(I came across this prayer – I’m pretty sure that it was posted by one of my Jewish friends and I was delighted to think that as people of different faiths, we might use the same words to pray. I hope it is a blessing to you!)
I’ve been coming across some really great quotes from Charles Spurgeon over the last week or so. If you haven’t heard that name before, he was a preacher and theologian in the 1800’s. He died more than a century and a quarter ago.
What’s amazing is that much of what the church does these days (especially these pandemic days) would be utterly unrecognizable for Spurgeon, and yet his words still resonate.
More than 125 years later, this is still a struggle. I think humans in general are better at focussing on our trials than our blessings. We’re more apt to think trials are permanent and blessings might disappear at any moment.
When really, the opposite is true. Tough times never last. They might feel endless (and the pandemic definitely feels that way right now), but they are not. This, too, shall pass.
And you know, every day of these long months, the sun has come up, the world has continued to be beautiful (the fall colours are outstanding in Ontario right now), and you have continued to be loved – both by your Heavenly Father, and by your friends/family/others who matter. Those blessings have been constant, never faltering.
So I am grateful for Spurgeon’s words, coming at me across the screen of my laptop – a device he probably couldn’t begin to dream up, and which I use as naturally as he would have used pen and paper. This is what the book of Hebrews means when it talks of the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ that surround us in faith.
Thank God for the legacy left by those who have run this race before us. Those who now surround us in a great cloud, encouraging and informing our faith. Thank God that we, too, have the opportunity to be part of that great cloud. All it takes is some prayer, encouragement and care of another.
Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep loving God by loving others!
How you know it’s Fall…:
A bit of wisdom from Robert Louis Stevenson:
Since coming across this I tell Koski to be herself all the time:
Anyone else with me?:
A little Dinosaur pandemic humour…:
I mean, is it just me, or does everyone else feel this way this year, too?:
This is 100% me:
Just a little reminder, because it’s true:
And this bit of wisdom from Jesus:
Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep laughing and thinking!
As we continue in this series, we are looking at Esther, chapter 4 – another book I don’t think I have preached on before. But it was a fun and challenging one to tackle!
Here is the sermon:
And our hymn of response, today, was this lovely, light take on “Take my life and let it be,”:
Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep on following Jesus, right where you are!
Welcome to your weekly collection of resources to get you in the frame of mind for worship tomorrow!
We begin with this song from Chris Tomlin singing with Thomas Rhett, God Who Listens:
And this lovely duet by Caleb & Casey, of a mashup of “I raise a Hallelujah” and “Yes I will,”
Brennan Manning is best known for his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel. I love this quote from him:
Tomorrow at Graceview we will read the fourth chapter of Esther. Ministers, generally, know Esther as the only book of the Bible that doesn’t explicitly mention God. I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow, but it reminds me that there are times that we experience God in a more subtle way – times when we experience the fingerprints or footsteps of God rather than God’s explicit or obvious presence. So I share this with you because I hear in it the echo of psalms and the implicit presence of God:
Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep praising the God of our Salvation!
Back in March and April, we were all marveling at how quiet the world had become. Empty streets, no rush hour, fewer flights, people staying home as much as possible – it all contributed to a sometimes eerie sense of quiet. Certainly an unusual quiet in a city like Toronto, where even the “down times” of any given day or week, still see a fair amount of activity.
But these days we seem to be back to a noisy way of life. I’ve certainly noticed increases of traffic, gun violence, political posturing and general activity in the world outside my door. And as the world begins to grow noisier, it’s really easy for all that noise and all that activity to drown out some important things.
I was pleased to see this posted on Facebook by a colleague of mine:
So what does God have to say about you?
God says you are loved. God says you are alive. God says you are a recipient of His grace. God says you are saved.
So until tomorrow, dear friends, find a quiet place to meditate on these things. Shut out the noise of the world around you and trust i the good word God says about you.
These are anxious days. Our COVID-19 case numbers are climbing in Ontario. Many of us are worried about second wave and/or a second shutdown. Most of us have no idea how the ‘normal’ things are going to roll out in the coming months: What will Christmas look like? When will we be able to travel again? What is going to happen to our economy?
It’s easy to worry about all the “what ifs” that surround us right now. It’s easy to fall into an anxiety loop – feeling anxious about what will happen, and that being reinforced by climbing cases and news stories about what is actually happening right now.
So I say this to you (and to me!):
I admit to you that even in reading this, a part of me (that anxious part of me) wants to reject it. My brain goes “but what if, but what if, but what if…” and my heart rate begins to climb and my hands begin to shake. And left to my own devices, I’m kind of a mess.
So I’m deeply grateful that God doesn’t just leave me to my own devices. I’m thankful for the faithful words of Scripture. I’m grateful for prayerful friends. I’m grateful for the late September warmth that has bloomed in the last day or two, allowing for more time outdoors than in previous days.
And you see, just like that, by focusing on the gifts that God gives, my heart rate has slowed back down, my hands are not shaking any more, and I know that one way or another, we will continue to make it through these challenging days.
Until tomorrow, dear friends, please remember that your anxiety is lying to you, that God’s promises are true, that focussing on the gifts he gives – more than we could ask or imagine – is a great way to find peace despite the anxiety of these days.
(Encouragement, dear friends, you have a gift to give and the world needs you!)
Today is the first day of autumn, it’s warm out, but the leaves have started to change. The nights have become crisp and cool. There have been frost warnings already.
I’m not a big fan of winter, but oh boy, do I love Autumn. So today I just want to celebrate the beginning of this beautiful season:
Dear friends, may the changing seasons remind you of the One who set the moon and sun in place and that our times are in His hands.
Because French Bulldog puppies are LIFE (and I often feel this way about Mondays):
A little Biblical humour for ya:
I mean, one can hope…but I’m not gonna get my hopes too high:
This is accurate:
Little bit of Marvel and 90’s music mash-up humour for you:
Ah, I sing this to myself ALL the time this year:
This one is for a friend of mine who is convinced EVERYTHING is because of ghosts:
I can’t be the only one who lives this way:
And some Star Wars Zoom humour for you (Seriously teachers, I’m praying for you as you navigate online and in-person education):
These two seem to go together, and are reminders of what our faith is all about:
And finally, this blessing for your day:
Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep laughing and thinking and drawing closer to God!