“Be quiet!”

A picture of hope or a chilling warning? Image credit: Newsquest

Thought for the day

April 1820200418

1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

‘Red zone’ staff in the Covid areas at over 1,000 acute hospitals around the UK are well aware of people being ‘devoured’. On present statistics, most will have the experience of losing patients every day or even, every shift.

The suffering through illness, and for some, an untimely end of life, is hard for us to hear about. It sits a lot heavier for those with friends and relatives affected, or on the front line caring for them under difficult circumstances in care homes or hospitals.

But the ‘roaring lion’ is a not a picture of devouring (real though that is) but is more picture of fear and intimidation. It’s what happens in our thought life – that’s where “your enemy the devil” gets to all of us. If we let him.

The devil and his army of ‘dark angels’ is no myth or metaphor but a real threat and a real attacker. Jesus had His close encounter in the desert at the start of His ministry.

Jesus later told Pharisee antagonists that far from belonging to God, they were under the sway of the devil. The teaching of the letters to the Early Church is forthright about recognising the devil’s schemes and avoiding the trap of the devil, and the need for believers to actively resist. Following the well-known parable of the sower and soils, Jesus explains the three common strategies of the devil to attack the seed, or faith-producing word of God, as the devil “takes away the word from the hearts” of those on the unreceptive, uncultivated ‘path’, causes faith to wither through testing of those on ‘rocky ground’, and chokes the word with worries and pleasures in those inhabiting the ‘thorny ground’. The battleground is in our mind – our thoughts and perceptions. Whose thoughts are we choosing to hold on to?

How we view setbacks — the perspective we adopt — has a huge effect on how we respond to them. Ask Andy Murray how he responds to a missed shot or losing a set.

Christians have a two or three not-exactly-secret weapons.

  1. We face an enemy who makes a lot of noise but is defeated. More to thj point, this enemy knows that WE KNOW this. Our identification and relationship with the One who has been the sacrifice on the Cross, now resurrected, living and reigning, gives us a confidence in how we pray.
  2. We know how the story ends, and through that relationship with the Lord, how our own story ends — or rather, doesn’t end but continues in eternal life and fellowship.
  3. We know God. And if we know Him, we hardly need reminding that He is good, and His plans and purposes, if not always easy to understand, will work out for good. We are saved and also being saved, because He loves us.

So what do we say to the noisy ‘lion’ now? Be quiet, take off your lion outfit and go and play elsewhere! Meanwhile, having dealt with the intimidation, we have work to do, in praying down the peace and healing presence of God on those who are crying out to Him.

Luke 8:4-15; John 8:44; Ephesians 4:27; 2 Timothy 2:26; James 4:7

A picture of hope or a chilling warning? Image credit: Newsquest

Thought for the day


April 1820200418

1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV


Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.


‘Red zone’ staff in the Covid areas at over 1,000 acute hospitals around the UK are well aware of people being ‘devoured’. On present statistics, most will have the experience of losing patients every day or even, every shift.


The suffering through illness, and for some, an untimely end of life, is hard for us to hear about. It sits a lot heavier for those with friends and relatives affected, or on the front line caring for them under difficult circumstances in care homes or hospitals.


But the ‘roaring lion’ is a not a picture of devouring (real though that is) but is more picture of fear and intimidation. It’s what happens in our thought life – that’s where “your enemy the devil” gets to all of us. If we let him.


The devil and his army of ‘dark angels’ is no myth or metaphor but a real threat and a real attacker. Jesus had His close encounter in the desert at the start of His ministry.


Jesus later told Pharisee antagonists that far from belonging to God, they were under the sway of the devil. The teaching of the letters to the Early Church is forthright about recognising the devil’s schemes and avoiding the trap of the devil, and the need for believers to actively resist. Following the well-known parable of the sower and soils, Jesus explains the three common strategies of the devil to attack the seed, or faith-producing word of God, as the devil “takes away the word from the hearts” of those on the unreceptive, uncultivated ‘path’, causes faith to wither through testing of those on ‘rocky ground’, and chokes the word with worries and pleasures in those inhabiting the ‘thorny ground’. The battleground is in our mind – our thoughts and perceptions. Whose thoughts are we choosing to hold on to?


How we view setbacks — the perspective we adopt — has a huge effect on how we respond to them. Ask Andy Murray how he responds to a missed shot or losing a set.


Christians have a two or three not-exactly-secret weapons.

  1. We face an enemy who makes a lot of noise but is defeated. More to thj point, this enemy knows that WE KNOW this. Our identification and relationship with the One who has been the sacrifice on the Cross, now resurrected, living and reigning, gives us a confidence in how we pray.
  2. We know how the story ends, and through that relationship with the Lord, how our own story ends — or rather, doesn’t end but continues in eternal life and fellowship.
  3. We know God. And if we know Him, we hardly need reminding that He is good, and His plans and purposes, if not always easy to understand, will work out for good. We are saved and also being saved, because He loves us.


So what do we say to the noisy ‘lion’ now? Be quiet, take off your lion outfit and go and play elsewhere! Meanwhile, having dealt with the intimidation, we have work to do, in praying down the peace and healing presence of God on those who are crying out to Him.


Luke 8:4-15; John 8:44; Ephesians 4:27; 2 Timothy 2:26; James 4:7

A picture of hope or a chilling warning? Image credit: Newsquest

Thought for the day


April 1820200418

1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV


Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.


‘Red zone’ staff in the Covid areas at over 1,000 acute hospitals around the UK are well aware of people being ‘devoured’. On present statistics, most will have the experience of losing patients every day or even, every shift.


The suffering through illness, and for some, an untimely end of life, is hard for us to hear about. It sits a lot heavier for those with friends and relatives affected, or on the front line caring for them under difficult circumstances in care homes or hospitals.


But the ‘roaring lion’ is a not a picture of devouring (real though that is) but is more picture of fear and intimidation. It’s what happens in our thought life – that’s where “your enemy the devil” gets to all of us. If we let him.


The devil and his army of ‘dark angels’ is no myth or metaphor but a real threat and a real attacker. Jesus had His close encounter in the desert at the start of His ministry.


Jesus later told Pharisee antagonists that far from belonging to God, they were under the sway of the devil. The teaching of the letters to the Early Church is forthright about recognising the devil’s schemes and avoiding the trap of the devil, and the need for believers to actively resist. Following the well-known parable of the sower and soils, Jesus explains the three common strategies of the devil to attack the seed, or faith-producing word of God, as the devil “takes away the word from the hearts” of those on the unreceptive, uncultivated ‘path’, causes faith to wither through testing of those on ‘rocky ground’, and chokes the word with worries and pleasures in those inhabiting the ‘thorny ground’. The battleground is in our mind – our thoughts and perceptions. Whose thoughts are we choosing to hold on to?


How we view setbacks — the perspective we adopt — has a huge effect on how we respond to them. Ask Andy Murray how he responds to a missed shot or losing a set.


Christians have a two or three not-exactly-secret weapons.

  1. We face an enemy who makes a lot of noise but is defeated. More to thj point, this enemy knows that WE KNOW this. Our identification and relationship with the One who has been the sacrifice on the Cross, now resurrected, living and reigning, gives us a confidence in how we pray.
  2. We know how the story ends, and through that relationship with the Lord, how our own story ends — or rather, doesn’t end but continues in eternal life and fellowship.
  3. We know God. And if we know Him, we hardly need reminding that He is good, and His plans and purposes, if not always easy to understand, will work out for good. We are saved and also being saved, because He loves us.


So what do we say to the noisy ‘lion’ now? Be quiet, take off your lion outfit and go and play elsewhere! Meanwhile, having dealt with the intimidation, we have work to do, in praying down the peace and healing presence of God on those who are crying out to Him.


Luke 8:4-15; John 8:44; Ephesians 4:27; 2 Timothy 2:26; James 4:7

Wait for the Lord – a thought and prayer for Maundy Thursday

An important ‘Maundy Thursday’ verse is the promise Jesus made just after the Last Supper:
“No, I will not abandon you as orphans — I will come to you.” John 14:18 NLT

Let’s put that promise together with an older, enduring promise and encouragement to “Wait for the Lord”. This is is a more active and positive kind of waiting than it sounds at first:

13-14 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
No, I will not abandon you as orphans — I will come to you.
Psalm 27:13 NIV, John 14:18 NLT

“I must… increase my trust.’

“Wait” means to trust that what is awaited, will take place. Our local 461 bus service is known for its friendliness – and reliability. To wait, in this sense, is to be in a positive attitude about the bus still appearing round the corner and picking me up, even though it feels late – even abandoned.

“Wait” means to be ready for action — as the young girls were to be ready with lamps burning bright, expecting at any minute the bridegroom’s arrival (also a story from this season). We are charged with being ready for the Lord’s coming. It might be His final coming, heralding the end time. It might be His ‘coming through’ in response to the prayer. It might be His fresh word to us at this time. His covenant responsibility is — to do the coming. Ours — is to do the waiting in expectation.

“Wait” means to be thanking, not asking. Asking for the bus to arrive — or for what is needed — is not wrong unless we cannot move on from asking. Asking starts at the point of our anxiety that it might not. Thanking God, and raising Him for His covenant faithfulness “I will never leave you or forsake you” — starts at a different point. “Wait” means a response for who the Lord is, which is praise. It is an intentional choice NOT to respond to the circumstance — what we feel the Lord has or hasn’t done, recognising or limited perspective.

In the spiritual realm there can be many hold-ups and frustrations. We have an enemy who is intent in spoiling God’s goodness, causing us discouragement and provoking us into sin by blaming God, when all the time the problem was on our side. WE didn’t pray. We didn’t wait. We didn’t exercise faith. We lapsed into ‘poor me’ when the psalmist encouragement to “wait” would be to praise God who has heard my prayer.

“Wait for the Lord” is a choice to believe, and live as one trusting the Lord’s promise never to fail us or abandon us, but to be with us and come to us.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord… who will never fail you… never abandon you.” Psalm 27:14 and Hebrews 13:5

Prayer of blessing especially for small businesses and owners

Lord God, You are good, always working Your good purposes out above and beyond the difficulties that are confronting us. You tell us that a grain of faith is effective against a difficulty that seems the size of a mountain. So we come before You today on behalf of all in cash flow difficulty while their businesses are on hold or restricted.

We bless with Your blessing our neighbourhood businesses, our friends’ businesses, the businesses we rely on and that serve our community.
We say with them, that “Yours is the greatness… because everything in heaven and earth is Yours… wealth and honour come from You… In Your hands are strength to give strength.”

We bless with Your strength our small businesses and those who serve through them.We bless them with different ways of operating, and new sources of income, known to You if not yet known to us.

May they, together with everyone, be prompted to turn to You and acknowledge You as helper and provider: “I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord…

On earth we are constantly hearing bad news but we choose to tune in to heaven’s channel, because Your word to us always brings good news of Your good intentions, and we choose to be influenced by what You say.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Here’s a Bible study on the quotations above. God has given us His enduring word, the Bible. He also speaks His ‘now’ word to us, and it usually comes through what we already on the record, the Bible.

Matthew 25:1-13; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5; John 14:18; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 121.