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Thought for the Week

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Friar Lane & Braunstone Baptist Church is feeling thankful.

All change!

We have taken the decision to change our 'thought for the day' posts to a weekly 'thought for the week' instead. This is for two reasons; to create space for new social media content (watch this space) and we have a smaller team of contributors then we did.

The thought for the day was originally setup in lockdown so huge thanks to everyone who has contributed in that time. Also thanks to those distributed paper copies to those who needed them. Final thanks Tina and David who have made sure these get posted to Facebook and the website at the relevant time.

Tony, Marlene, Christine and myself (Jon) will be writing the thought for the week starting with yours truly on Wednesday. If you would like to join the team to write please do get in contact with myself at minister.flab@gmail.com

Thanks Jon.

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 3rd July 2024, by Christine Cook.

Christine

Thought for the week July 3rd

David wrote psalm 142 when he was a fugitive from Saul and spent a lot of time hiding in caves. In this psalm he just cries out to God about the dangers and difficulties he is facing in his life. Verse 1-2

‘I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint before him I tell my trouble.’ He holds nothing back, just tells God how it is for him at that moment in time; he lets it all pour out and is totally honest before God.

He recognises there is no comfortable place to go, and no one else will be looking after him. But he recognises in this situation that God is the only answer to his prayers. Verse 5: ’I cry to you Lord; I say, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.

Sometimes when things go wrong we can feel like we are in a dark hole, like David’s cave where no one else will find us and we can hide away from the things which are frightening us, and just let the world pass us by. But God is there with us in the darkness. He comforts and renews us so that we can face going out into the light of day and being with other people.

David went on to become a great king and to fulfil his destiny with God. God has plans for all of us too and will lead us through life’s dangers and difficulties helping us to be the people he wants us to become.

  

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 26th June 2024, by Rev. Jon Grant.

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June 26th

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
4 Everyone will sit under their own vine
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the Lord Almighty has spoken.

Micah 4:2-4

Over the next three thoughts for the week which I am writing I am going to be looking at the theme of peace: Given by God, Practicing Peace and World Peace. This time we are looking at world peace.

As much as we can open ourselves up to peace and as much as we can try to practice peace, we live in world which does not seem geared up for it. The thirst for power which can so often lead to war rather than peace. Oppression and injustice which stops people being able to access peace. A world which is busy so it is hard to find a pattern of peace. The words from Micah remind us that God knows all about this, all about how our world is not a place where the seed of peace is easily sown. As the prophecy is given, we are reminded that a “paradigm shift” a complete change of reality in world needs to happen for world peace to reign. The other theme that repats in this passage is this change coming from learning how to follow God and hearing his commands and following them. When we look at our world of turmoil it can seem hopeless, how likely is it that people will turn their weapons into farming equipment (or the modern ay equivalent), it may seem hopeless. But when we look on Jesus we are reminded that we have faith in a God of hope in the hopelessness, and a God of miracles. A God who has overcome even death itself. And this God calls for this “paradigm shift” to start with you and start with me. To take time to listen to the voice of God, take time to learn his ways. For as much as it is to do with me, to be a person of peace, then we can transform the world, one little piece at a time. When we do this, Gods kingdom reigns just that little bit more.

   

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 19th June 2024, by Marlene Brooker.

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Peace be with you

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. John 20:19-23

The disciples had seen Jesus arrested by temple guards, then tortured and crucified by the Romans. Would they be next? It wasn't a pleasant thought. Fear changes our decisions. When the guards came for Jesus, His friends fled. When Jesus was being tried and tortured, one of Jesus’ friends had denied being associated with him, three times. Then when Jesus was crucified, they had kept their distance so they wouldn't be arrested – fear changes our choices and our decisions.

When the disciples were gathered in a room with the doors locked what a shock for them when suddenly Jesus is standing in front of them. They thought He was a ghost and initially, what did they think Jesus was going to say to them? Would Jesus remind them of abandoning Him and denying Him being their friend? Jesus was always there for them but in Jesus’ time of need where they there for Him?

Jesus said to them twice, ‘Peace be with you.’ He said this because they thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus knew their fear and wanted to reassure them.

We may be fearful of something, the future, a decision we have to make that would change our lives, maybe fearful of some sad news; whatever our fear Jesus says to you “Peace be with you”. Jesus wants you to have peace.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, take this darkness and fear away from me and replace it with your peace. Give me your perfect peace today that I have a sound mind. Amen.

   

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 12th June 2024, by Tony Richard.

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Someone once told me that if we could see God in bodily form then His foot would dwarf us. When recalling that image over the years since I have found it useful as a reminder of just how big God is. This is also particularly useful when facing life, no matter how it develops because it’s so easy to get caught up in the urgency of situations where God often has to “fit” in with everything else.

When this happens, He becomes a small God, with an equally small love and consequently an ineffective father to His children who can only see him as either part of the problem (God why didn’t/why don’t, you do this), or someone who only guides us in a very impersonal way between right and wrong. The third outcome however, if it happens is totally opposite, being the equivalent of hitting the jackpot as it involves a miracle that solves the situation we are facing completely! Receiving a miracle sadly is often considered by many followers to be as likely as winning the lottery and that’s being conservative.

Accordingly, if these views are prominent in our thinking, God and His promises to you and I become smaller in every way where prayer has a prevailing attitude of, well it can’t do any harm when I can make time, and faith in God seems to be on hold, if not almost misplaced.

One old soldier spoke about what happened in his barge as he and other troops rapidly approached the heavily bombed and machine-gunned Normandy beaches in 1944. He said that all those in the barge without exception were praying to God. For them God was not just huge, he was their only resource as they faced the very high possibility of death when landing.

Thankfully, as a result of their sacrifices many of us will never have to face the same circumstances, however, we cannot be complacent as we may also have to face events of great severity.

Prevention is better than cure! Forewarned is forearmed. Because we have no way of knowing what’s around that proverbial corner, good, bad, or even the indifferent. It pays to take action now, rather than trying to react coherently in the chaotic heat of battle.

By becoming Christians, we become new creatures in Christ, eligible for the spiritual benefits of God’s promises to accommodate all situations and so we should see things differently compared to how we previously did. So how should we see everything? Faithfully, by believing that if God is for us, then who can be against us (Romans 8 v 31). The only way to do this is to meet Him daily so that our thinking becomes more in line with His.

When we read the bible and also understand the many promises God has provided to you and I, we become better equipped as Christians and God becomes more than big enough to deal with everything we face. This is surely preferable to the alternative of being Christians of little substance, where the world sees right through us.

So, how big is God’s foot to you?

    

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 5th June 2024, by Christine Cook.

Christine

Thought for the week 5th June 2024-06-05

This morning in our weekly on line prayer meeting we continued reading in the book of James. This morning, the passage was short, James 4:13-17 and entitled. ‘ Boasting about tomorrow’.

It seems that things were no different in Roman times than they are today. People were planning where they would be going, what sort of business they would start up and how much money they could expect to make. They were caught up in their thoughts and plans for the future rather than making the most of what they had in the present.

This can be so true of living today. We are expected to think about our career path, what qualifications to gain, the qualities to look for in a prospective partner, planning for our retirement and so on. The danger is that we spend so much time and energy on planning and worrying about the future that we do not relax and make the most of what we have today.

James goes on to say in verse 14 you don’t even know what will happen tomorrow, ‘you are like a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes’. Instead we should recognise that our lives are in God’s hands and not boast about, or worry about what we have achieved or what we will do. Instead we should recognise God’s hand in our lives and say (verse 15) ‘If it is the Lord’s will we will live and do this or that’. Perhaps for us saying God willing I will pass my exams, start up a business, find the right partner for me is the way forward because then we recognise that God can enable us to be the best we can be for Him, because he cares for each one of us, and seeks to guide us on life’s journey.

   

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 29th May 2024, by Rev. Jon Grant.

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Thought for the week by Jon Grant.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Over the next three thoughts for the week which I am writing I am going to be looking at the theme of peace: Given by God, Practicing Peace and World Peace. This time we are looking at practicing peace.

I thought about in my last reflection how Jesus gives us a peace which comes from beyond us. But this peace is also something which can flow through us, and by welcoming in Gods holy spirit to guide us can incorporate our relationships with others, our reactions to the world and people in it, and can transform who we are.

Sometimes it is easy to say do not be anxious or do not worry. Sometimes there is so much we can worry about. When this is the case our worry can get into our minds, keep us awake at night, make us feel on edge and frantic. I remember when I was going through a particularly stressful season my ability to not react to other things, my patients with the normal struggles of life was much less. It impacted my relationships with others as I would snap a lot more quickly then normal, for a while, I feel I was not terribly nice person to be around as my worry made me angrier. I don’t think I’m unique in that experience. This is why the promise of peace that Jesus gives is so inviting and so important – but it is not just given by some magical moment, but invited in through being a disciple of Jesus. Letting Gods peace rule in our life is helped by actively seeking out moments to rest, to reflect and yes, even repent of the things we get wrong. When we do this we can get perspective on our worries, we can bring them to the foot of the cross, and though circumstances may not change, we can be reminded there is a bigger being, who is with us through the storms of life and has promised us peace. When we chose to let this define us, it helps us, if not worry at all, worry less, which might help us practice peace to others.

   

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 22nd May 2024, by Marlene Brooker.

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He will be with you

‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.’ Isaiah 43:2.

Recently we have seen so much heartache on the news with wars. Many have lost their lives, their relatives and friends, some their homes and all their belongings, their businesses – all they had strived for in life, gone. It’s hard to even comprehend how people are feeling through these tragedies.

When we go through struggles in life and cannot explain why things happen as they do, we can have the assurance of family and loved ones around us, to comfort us and uphold us, and that’s so important.

When you have God on your side you can make it. When you have God on your side somehow you get through the valleys. When you have God on your side life seems possible to keep going. When you have God in your life you have everything.

Families can let you down, God never does.

When you pass through the waters, He will be with you.

When you pass through the rivers He will be with you.

When you walk through the fire He will be with you.

You are never alone... He will be with you.

Prayer: God, thank you that when I pass through the storms of life, even when I don’t understand, and find the going tough, thank you that you are always there with me. Help me to know and to feel your presence today and always. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 15th May 2024, by Tony Richard.

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How thin is Jesus to me!

Whilst thinking about this week’s topic my mind was drawn to a recent police advertising campaign in shops featuring an approximately six-foot high, one-dimensional cardboard cut-out with a photo of a real-life policeman. The idea was to remind people about the police even when they couldn’t be physically present.

As I considered this a question arose concerning my relationship with God, which was, is this how you see me? A one-dimensional figure?

It’s so easy as I proved when organising the recent church family service to look at various issues in human terms and consequential judgement, especially when things don’t appear to be going right rather than having faith in all that Jesus and the bible taught. Ironically the theme of the service, based on the crucifixion and in particular Ascension Day, was waiting patiently for what happens next?!

Peter was a good example of seeing Jesus one dimensionally on His being arrested, where he went from promising to die with Jesus to denying ever knowing Him. Equally whilst I may make promises of faithful love toward the Lord, do these laudable sentiments continue when adversity or challenges appear? Well, given the church service previously referred too I certainly showed similar sentiments to Peter’s as my faith in Jesus became cardboard thin at times!

If I perceive Jesus in certain situations as a one-dimensional cardboard figure, then He will subsequently have about as much impact on me and my life as that police cardboard cut-out in the shop its placed in.

The heart of Christianity after all is relationship which can so easily be lost along with all the promises God has provided for children like us, as only an incredibly loving Father would provide to His children.

At the end of the day, I can keep Christ as a cardboard figure in my life or turn to the enormous power He has which then means that, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4 v 13).

So, Christ at the centre or the edge?

  

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 8th May 2024, by Christine Cook.

Christine

Today I read one of the shortest Psalms in the Bible Psalm 133 only 3 verses long. It was the first verse which struck me ‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

I suppose there is an assumption that all Christians are able to get on with each other. But history tells us this was certainly not true in the past. The reformation was the cause of much bloodshed not just in Britain but also on the continent. Fortunately today there is a greater understanding that different groups may worship in different ways.

But this verse recognises the reality that we don’t always live together in unity. Sometimes we can’t see things from someone else’s point of view and argue endlessly to no avail. This can be difficult for those around who are not sure what to do.

The important thing to remember is that we are all different people, and what is helpful for one person in their worship of God, may not be the most helpful thing for someone else. But when we come to worship we are there to praise God in the best way we can and not to entertain the people around us.

Today we can choose the type of worship which we feel is best for us, so we may attend a Church of England, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Catholic Church, or one of the many other types of church. We have choice so we should be able to live together in unity in our chosen church. But God enables and enjoys the variety, so we should be able to work together in our towns and countries to bring God’s love to those around us in the situations in which we find ourselves

        

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 1st May 2024, by Rev. Jon Grant.

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May 1st

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:25-27

Over the next three thoughts for the week which I am writing I am going to be looking at the theme of peace: Given by God, Practicing Peace and World Peace. This time we are looking at Peace given by God.

When Jesus speaks those words “All this I have spoken” he was telling the disciples at the last meal a lot. Words which would have worried them, words which would have confused them, words which caused them to ask Jesus “what are you saying?” and “what is wrong?”. When we have conversations with others, as we go travel around our towns and neighbourhoods, workplaces, and leisure activities, as we do all kinds of things; there maybe much which worries us, much that confuses us, much that may cause us to question. In such moments God offers us what is offered to the disciples’ peace. Crucially this is not the kind of peace which we can bring on ourselves, for example running away or taking a holiday. But otherworldly peace, peace from outside of us from the very essence of God as revelled in Jesus. This is a peace then which is not reliant on good times, not reliant on circumstances being right, removed from how we feel. But a gift. Given. When we stop, when we invite God in, when we ask for it. Peace, I give to you, Jesus says.

      

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 24th April 2024, by Marlene Brooker.

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Upgrade

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

When I lived near London my family from abroad came to stay with me. We had such a wonderful time. When it was time for them to leave, they had so many suitcases to take back, they couldn’t all fit in the car. So, two of my family went by car and I went with my niece and nephew by train. The train got delayed and I kept looking at my watch because time was going so fast; we arrived at the airport very late. When we got to the check in desk, the family’s seats had been given away. Thankfully, my sister told the check in clerk that she was waiting for two more passengers and the kind Clerk asked if they would mind having an upgrade to business class!

Of course, my family didn’t mind and all of them had VIP treatment. They loved it.

This reminded me of what Jesus said that He has come to give us life and to give it more abundantly to the full. When we give our life to Jesus we have an upgrade in life. God wants us to enjoy life to the full, not simply to exist. Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ Amen.

Reflection: Jesus came to give life to the full.

Prayer: Jesus give me this life that you came to give. Thank you. Amen.

     

   

Thought for the Week, Wednesday 17th April 2024, by Tony Richard.

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A case of choosing 1,2,3 or 4?

The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13) provides great insights that whatever we encounter, God’s help is at hand!!

The story Jesus told concerns a farmer who sows seed that falls into 4 different areas. Firstly, birds eat the seed that falls on the path, the seed falling in the rocky area having no root is burnt up whereas the seeds that fall amongst the thorns are eventually choked. Finally, the seed falling on the good soil produces a good return.

The parable symbolically shows how we receive the word of God with 4 different outcomes being given as examples, which can clearly show our heart attitude towards God and His word and therefore how we tackle life’s situations.

The birds could represent Satan who came to steal, kill, and destroy, like Adam & Eve do we listen to him and then choose Satan’s answer rather than God’s way?

Alternatively, regarding the seed on the path, how well do we know the bible’s teaching? Not knowing God’s word means we don’t know Jesus and therefore He has little or no root in us. So, we are defenceless, which can mean when the going becomes challenging we become double-minded and totally ignorant of the Lord’s answers.

In respect of the seed landing amongst the thorns, this indicates the gradual erosion of our love for the Lord. Put another way we allow our first love to gently but continually reduce and then lapse in the face of growing problems.

Finally, the good soil, which produces faithful overcomers where growth not only takes place but multiplies the returns 100, 60, and then 30 times, notice how the highest amount is put first not last by God!

    It may well be that the seed falling on non-productive ground only applies to some areas of our discipleship; however, those areas can become our achilles heel which Satan will concentrate on and thereby exploit to maximum effect. So, my question is, are you sick and tired of being sick and tired of not overcoming the situations you face? If so, what action should be taken?

    Can the Parable of the Sower provide the sought for answer for you personally?

       

    Thought for the Week, Wednesday 10th April 2024, by Christine Cook.

    Christine

    Thought for the week Wednesday 10th April 2024

    Yesterday evening, as I rather belatedly switched on the evening news, I saw someone speaking fluently in different languages into his laptop by using AI. Then by using a camera to watch what he was saying someone else was able to translate this and then respond in the same language as they spoke back on the web. I had not seen the start to explain exactly what was happening, and how this was being done. But presumably this may become reality soon.

    Some words came into my mind which I had heard someone preach on when I was a student in London. The preacher was Welsh and he preached powerfully for some time on a few words from Acts ‘We cannot but speak of the things we have seen and heard’. He was talking about the resurrection of Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and the way in which people’s lives were dramatically changed because of the good news of Jesus.

    How easy do we find it to talk about Jesus today to the people around us? We no longer live in a fairly uniform society, in small towns and villages where we know people, and have an easily identifiable culture. Increasingly people communicate electronically via e mails, WhatsApp groups, social media, etc instead of face to face. Then it is so easy for things to be misunderstood by mistyping, or by pressing the off button when we don’t like what’s being said, instead of talking something through face to face

    Yet as Christians we are called to talk about Jesus in our everyday lives, otherwise the people around us will never learn about all the good things which Jesus has done for us, and experience the reality of knowing God. What we have to remember is that God knows the heart and minds of the people we come into contact with, and if we pray for him to lead us every morning as we wake up, he will provide the opportunities to talk about him to others. God translates our emotions and feelings and words to fit the needs of those he wants us to speak to. Divine knowledge rather than Artificial intelligence.

       

    Thought for the Week, Wednesday 3rd April 2024, by Rev. Jon Grant.

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    Thought for the week.

    Luke 24:28-45

    The everyday God.

    The passage I have chosen this week starts on the road To Emmaus where unbeknown to them Jesus has been walking with two followers who have left Jerusalem following his Death. It is post resurrection, but they do not realise what has happened. Later in chapter these two return to Jerusalem to tell the disciples Jesus is alive and as they do Jesus appears with them much to there fright!

    What struck me about these two accounts mixed into one, is that it is in the ‘ordinary things’ where the disciples seem to truly understand and believe who Jesus is. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus shows his scriptural and theological knowledge, but it is only when Jesus breaks bread that the two understand who he is. The breaking of bred is an ordinary act, which Jesus would have done many times before, including that significant time at the last supper. Back in Jerusalem the same thing happens. When Jesus appears in the room, understandably, it gives the disciples a fright. Even when Jesus shows them his hands and feet and invites them to touch him, they do not believe it is him, such is the joy and amazement. They seem to be thinking it can’t be him. But then Jesus eats, another mundane ordinary act, and after this the Disciples seem to calm down enough for Jesus to explain who he is and “open there minds so they could understand scripture” i.e learn from him once more.

    As Christians we know that God can and does work in the supernatural, the unexplainable and the divine. But the God we worship seems time and time again just as interested (if not more interested) in the day to day and mundane. When the law code was given to the Israelites centuries earlier, it was not given them a supernatural experience (though these were plentiful) but so holiness could be knitted into the everyday. The same with Jesus, there are supernatural moments in his ministry, but Jesus teaching and conversations focus on the everyday ways that people live and treat each other. What we have when it comes to faith in Jesus then, is not an invitation to far off supernatural existence removed from the everyday, but everyday change, everyday growth, as we welcome God through faith in Jesus into our work, relationships and ways of being in the world. When we are able to do this our faith connects to the very places God has promised to transform, the world and people around us.

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