Encouragement From The Word

Merry Christmas!

At this notoriously busy time of year, let me encourage you simply to stop for a few minutes, amid all that’s going on around you, and spend some time chewing on this passage of Scripture.

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!
  (Isaiah 9.6-7, NLT)

Let each name for Jesus in this prophecy wash over you, comfort you, and encourage you as we celebrate the most miraculous birth of all time.

Merry Christmas!  I invite you to worship at St. Paul’s Church, Nobleton on this special weekend.  Service times are printed below.  God’s best!


Encouragement From The Word, Uncategorized

Be Still

I’ll bet you’ve had a busy week.  So have I.  So here’s what I’ve prescribed for myself, and I hope it’s of encouragement to you, too.

Just take five minutes – five whole minutes – to sit in God’s presence.  Pay attention to your breathing, and read these two small verses several times:

Be still, and know that I am God!

I will be honoured by every nation.

I will be honoured throughout the world.

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;

The God is Israel is our fortress.

   – Psalm 46.10-11, NLT

Just let that sink in.  It’s worth your time.

Encouragement From The Word

Making time

What does prayer look like for you?

For many people, even seasoned believers, prayer is something that happens at meal times, maybe at bed time, maybe for a few minutes before the morning rush ensues.  But few of us take much time for this rich and important fellowship with the Lord.

If you’re one of those for whom time in prayer is limited, you’re in good company:  even most pastors do not spend much more than 5 minutes a day inimages prayer.  That said, such ‘good’ company is auspicious indeed.  What kind of relationship would we have with our spouses if we spent only 5 minutes a day in conversation with them?  Not much, right?  So why does God get crowded out of our lives in terms of the priority of time?

Perhaps one reason is that we cannot see God, at least not in a physically obvious way.  “Out of sight, out of mind,” we might say.  Another reason God gets crowded out of our lives has to do with his character:  God is patient.  Because God is Creator and we are the creation, God has no need of us, so he has no reason to beg us to be in relationship with him.  Yet God wants to be in relationship with us, so he finds subtle ways to invite us into his presence.  Can we slow down enough to take the time to notice God’s subtle invitations, and respond?

We seem almost to wear it as a badge, don’t we?  Someone asks, “How are you?” and we respond, “Great.  I’m really busy.”  Yet even the most noble tasks – even the most godly tasks – which make us too busy to spend time with the Lord need examination by us if we are to carve out time for our Maker.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.  And it can start simply.  There will be interruptions, but as one person has suggested, consider each interruption yet one more opportunity to return to God.  Start with five minutes a day, and add a minute each week to your prayer time.  Even if you find you don’t have enough to say to fill the time, sit in the silence.  Let God speak to you, or just enjoy the silence with God as your Companion.

Rise up, my darling!  Come away with me, my fair one!  Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone.  The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.  The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.  Rise up, my darling!  Come away with me, my fair one!” (Song of Songs 2.10-13, NLT).