What makes you stop and think?
Sometimes we read something that really makes us stop and think. These 'thought provokers' sometimes change our opinion, and even alter our future behaviour.
Esther Watkins found this thought provoker while browsing through Facebook:
I am a Christian
When I say that "I am a Christian," I am not shouting that "I am clean living." I'm whispering "I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven".
When I say "I am a Christian," I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.
When I say "I'm a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm weak and need his strength to carry on.
When I say "I'm a Christian," I am not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.
When I say "I am a Christian," I'm not holier than thou. I'm a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!
Joyce Bishop has provided this month's thought provoker about the Bible:
Worlds' Best Seller
This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the fate of sinners and the happiness of believers.
It is a light to direct you, food to nourish you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller's road map, the pilot's compass, the soldier's weapon and the Christian's charter.
It's a mine of incredible wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of genuine joy.
Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true and its decisions are immutable.
Christ is its grand subject, your good its design and the glory of God its end. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed.
It should fill your memory, rule your heart and guide your steps. Read it slowly, prayerfully and frequently. Read it to be wise, believe in it to be safe and practice it to be holy.
It is given to you in life, will be opened in judgement and remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour and condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.
The Bible is "the word of our God and endures forever" Isaiah 40 v.8.
"Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away" Mat.24 v.35
Esther Watkins noticed the thought provokers below, about prayer, while flicking through Facebook:
Ever wondered if prayers are answered?
When we pray, God hears more than we say. He answers more than we ask. He gives more than we imagine. But...in his own time, in his own way. So keep the faith!
(Preet - @MyBible.com)
Worrying fixes nothing. Prayer changes everything.
(Pastor John Hagee - GETV.org)
This thought provoker was circulating after the 9/11 terrorist attack on 11/09/2001.
How much do you take for granted?
If I knew
If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep, I would tuck you in more tightly, and pray the Lord your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door, I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.
If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise, I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.
If I knew it would be the last time I could spare an extra minute, to stop and say, "I love you" instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.
If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day, well I'm sure you will have so many more, so I can let just this one slip away. For surely there is always tomorrow to make-up for an oversight, and we always get a second chance to make everything just right. There will always be another day to say: "I love you," And certainly there's another chance to say our "Anything I can do's?". But just in case I might be wrong and today is all I get, I'd like to say how much I love you, and I hope we never forget. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, And today maybe the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.
So if you are waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today? For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day that you didn't take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss; and you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish.
So hold your loved ones close today, and whisper in their ear. Tell them how much you love them, and you will always hold them dear. Take time to say: "I'm sorry" - "Please forgive me" - "Thank you" or "Its okay." And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no regrets about today.
This thought provoker is similar to the parable of the sower.
Are you like a gold watch (please read below)?
What kind of Christian are you?
It seems that a lot of Christians are like Wheelbarrows - no use unless pushed.
Some are like kites - if you don't keep a string on them they fly away.
Some are like kittens - most contented when petted.
Some are like balloons - full of their own importance and ready to blow-up.
Some are like trailers - they have to be pulled.
Some, fortunately, are like a good watch - open-faced, pure gold, quietly busy and full of good works.
Jean Bennett has kindly provided a thought provoker which reminds us how blessed we are, and how grateful we should be:
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep... you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallett and spare change in a dish somewhere... you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness... you are more blessed than the million who will not survive the week.
If you have never experienced danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
If your parents are alive and married... you are rare.
If you can hold someones hand, hug them or even touch their shoulder... you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.
If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore you are more blessed than over 2 billion people in the world who cannot read at all.
Have a good day, and pass this along to remind everyone how blessed we all are!
Thank you to Trevor & Joan Amphlett for this thought provoker, which Trevor found challenging, when told the story by Joan:
An Old Builder
An old builder was nearing retirement and had had enough. He went to his boss and asked him if he could step down. ‘OK,’ said the boss, ‘but you must build me one more house.’
Reluctantly, the old builder agreed, but his heart wasn’t in it. He used the cheapest wood and the cheapest bricks. He dug the foundations, but not deep. The walls were not quite straight, and the windows and doors were wonky. Some of the slates on the roof were missing and there were paint splashes on the carpet. He finished the house, and told his boss he was ready to retire. ‘Fine,’ said the boss. ‘But come back tomorrow – there’s something I want to show you.’
The following morning, the old builder went to see his boss, who took him to the house he had just built. The boss proudly took a key out of his pocket and gave it to him. ‘The house you have just built is my retirement gift to you,’ said the boss. ‘Enjoy it!’
The old builder was horrified.
If he had known he was going to live in it, he would have used the best wood.
If he had known he was going to live in it, he would have used the best bricks.
If he had known he was going to live in it, he would have dug deep foundations.
If he had known he was going to live in it, he would have built the walls straight.
If he had known he was going to live in it, he would have put the windows and doors on correctly.
If he had known he was going to live in it, he would have put all the slates on.
If he had known he was going to live in it, he would have painted it carefully.
From This was found on the www.ecclesia.org website, which makes us think about how we spend our time:
No time for Prayer?
I knelt to pray but not for long,
I had too much to do.
I had to hurry and get to work
For bills would soon be due.
So I knelt and said a hurried prayer,
And jumped up off my knees.
My Christian duty was now done
My soul could rest at ease.
All day long I had no time
To spread a word of cheer.
No time to speak of Christ to friends,
They'd laugh at me I'd fear.
No time, no time, too much to do,
That was my constant cry,
No time to give to souls in need
But at last the time, the time to die.
I went before the Lord,
I came, I stood with downcast eyes.
For in his hands God held a book;
It was the book of life.
God looked into his book and said
"Your name I cannot find.
I once was going to write it down...
But never found the time.
From the Lent series 'Holy Habits' Andy Watkins has been provoked by the following reflections on prayer:
“Prayer is a foundational and transformative habit. A way of being, the breath of life. It re-orientates us in right relationships with God, with others, and the world. It is an antidote to the selfishness of sin.” (Holy Habits book)
Prayer is the powerhouse of the Church. So if prayer is so important why do we do so little of it?
And as Billy Graham put it: "Praying unlocks the doors of heaven and releases the power of God. God's answers are always right and good and best. Whether prayer changes our situation or not, one thing is certain: Prayer will change us!"
1 Thessalonians 5 v 17-18: "Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you"
For Mothers Day on 10/03/2018, Joyce Bishop has come across the poem below:
Two Mothers (Creo en Dios!) - Unknown Author
“Long time ago, so I have been told, two angels once met on streets paved with gold. “By the stars in your crown,” said the one to the other “I see that on earth, you too, were a mother.
And by the blue-tinted halo you wear “You, too, have known sorrow and deepest despair…” “Ah yes,” she replied, “I once had a son, A sweet little lad, full of laughter and fun.”
“But tell of your child.” “Oh, I knew I was blessed from the moment I first held him close to my breast, and my heart almost burst with the joy of that day.” “Ah, yes,” said the other, “I felt the same way.”
The former continued: “The first steps he took - So eager and breathless; the sweet startled look which came over his face – he trusted me so.” “Ah, yes,” said the other, “How well do I know”
“But soon he had grown to a tall handsome boy, so stalwart and kind – and it gave me so much joy to have him just walk down the street by my side” - “Ah yes, “said the other mother, “I felt the same pride.”
“How often I shielded and spared him from pain, and when he for others was so cruelly slain. When they crucified him – and they spat in his face, how gladly would I have hung there in his place!”
A moment of silence – “Oh then you are she – The mother of Christ”; and she fell on one knee. But the Blessed one raised her up, drawing her near, and kissed from the cheek of the woman, a tear.
“Tell me the name of the son you love so, that I may share with your grief and your woe.” She lifted her eyes, looking straight at the other, “He was Judas Iscariot: I am his mother.”
Joyce Bishop has chosen a very fitting thought provoker for February:
How precious am I?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3 v 16)
Please also read this attachment
Jean Bennett found this thought provoker which is fitting for the start of a new year:
How precious am I?
Jesus, you are nearer than my next breath.
You never take your eyes off me.
Every moment of the day I am held in your nail scarred hands.
Since nothing comes into my life that doesn't pass through you first, help me Lord... to trust in you.