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1st April Mark 14: 32-72 Hope is the thing with feathers

We finish our reflections on a sad note. The story of Easter is a hard one, full of betrayal, fear, pain and loss.

But running through the darkness is a strand of hope. It was hope that allowed Jesus to face his accusers and boldly claim “In three day I will rebuild this temple” and he did!

You might have experienced some hard times this year, and there might be more to come.

But for every Good Friday there is an Easter Sunday.

Hold on to hope, because Jesus is always faithful.

Today’s Thought for the Day is from David

28th Mar Mark 14:1-31 God loves me, this I know

These last few days were traumatic for Jesus.

His friends abandoned him, his own people condemned him, the authorities sentenced him.

His closest confidant was going to betray him.

Why go through all this?

We know it’s because of God’s love for us. Don’t ever underestimate how much God loves you. When you look at everything Jesus endured he has shown how deep that love is.

Our thoughts now go silent for the next couple of days.

As Jesus rested in the tomb so we shall rest and return with our final thought on Easter day.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

27th Mar Mark 12:28-44 Love made real

Jesus words and his call to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength’ is a challenge to engage our whole being in response to God.

But perhaps even more challenging is the command to: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself. Knowledge of God’s love brings us close to the Kingdom just like the scribe but something more is needed to enter. Loving God involves loving others and challenging injustice which dehumanises and robs others of their dignity as children of God.

To follow Jesus means living these two commands in concrete ways and will inevitably challenge the status quo. It is love made real that reveals the Kingdom of God.

Are you up for the challenge?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

26th Mar Mark 12:1-27 Taking a break from politics

It’s easy to get wound up by politics these days: Brexit, Trump, tax-dodging and referendums, there’s plenty to get you riled.

And there is nothing wrong with being politically engaged.

But Jesus’s famous response, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s” reminds us that there’s more to life than politics.

There is a time for political debates, and there’s a time to switch of the TV and start making the world around us a better place.

Today’s Thought for the Day is from David

25th Mar Mark 11:1-26 Why am I here?

Popularity is such a fickle measure. One moment you are being feted as King, the next you are being crucified as a common criminal. It’s a good job Jesus had a clear sense of why he was here and what he had to do. Nothing was going to move him from achieving that which he set out to do.

When you think about your life goals and what you want to achieve from life are you often distracted or do you know why you are here?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

24th Mar Habakkuk 3:1-19

As very young children we learn to ask questions about how and when and why the world is as it is. Not all questions though have answers that are clear. These unanswered problems often involving suffering and create more questions and sometimes nagging doubts. Habukkuk was a man who sought answers from God for the way the world was. Throughout the book of Habukkuk God answers and reassures him with a focus on the future.

It may seem as though the wicked triumph but there will be judgment, and goodness as Gods righteousness will prevail.

Habukkuk comes to a greater understanding of Gods power love and intention by asking questions of God.

Perhaps we could come to a greater understanding of God by doing likewise?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

23rd Mar Habakkuk 2:1-20 Talk less, listen more.

We find it easy to ask God things in prayer, we do it every week in church. But how often do we listen for a response? Imagine ringing up a friend, throwing them questions at them for 3 minutes then hanging up before they could answer. They wouldn’t stay your friend for long.

Habakkuk spent a lot of time talking to God, but he also spent a lot of time listening.

So, when God spoke he was ready to hear.

Do you have some time today to try listening to God?

Today’s Thought for the Day is from David

22nd Mar Habakkuk 1:1-17 Trust in God for the long term

It might seem that God was not listening but don’t be fooled. Habakkuk was learning this lesson as he observed so much injustice in the world and wondered if God was going to do anything about it.

Ultimately no one escapes God’s justice.

Don’t ever give up or think that the evil people do will not be held accountable.

God sees all and knows all.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

21st Mar Psalm 5 Pray as you can

The desire to reach out to God in prayer is for many people a basic instinct but how often do we abandon all attempts to pray, because we think that prayer is about focus, it’s about mood, it’s about taking lots of time when we just don’t have the time, or its about sitting in silence, or its about being eloquent or using the right words. It’s easy to adopt the attitude of putting prayer off if we focus on these things and believe that we can only pray and be heard in such circumstances.

God hears prayers through the noise, in the hustle and bustle of life, in the in between moments of a busy day.

He hears the prayers filled with words and the prayers when we can’t find the words.

So today why not give up the excuses about why you can’t pray and use the time you do have whether that’s an hour or a minute, whether you have silence or are surrounded by noise to pray to the God who always listens.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

20th Mar Psalm 4 Counting Sheep.

How often do you find yourself lying awake at night worrying about something, or staying up late to get things done? A third of adults in the UK get less sleep than they should, and a common cause is stress and anxiety. David knew what it meant to be stressed and anxious, it’s a common side effect of running from people trying to kill you! But he knew how to put his trust in God.

So even at the worst of times David to hand over his worries to God and get a good night’s sleep.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

19th Mar Psalm 3 God is my friend.

In Psalm 3 David recognises that with God as his friend he has nothing to fear. There may be thousands of enemies surrounding him but what are they compared to God?

If you are feeling today that the world is against you remember that with God all things are possible!

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

18th Mar Esther 9:20-32

Our memories can be short when it comes to God’s faithfulness. Mordecai wrote down all that had happened to help future generations remember the origins of the Jewish festival of Purim. Beyond the feasting, the gift giving and celebration was a record of events that changed the traditions of the people forever.

It’s good to celebrate but also to look beyond the celebrations to the origins of the why.

Easter not only changed traditions but our understanding of who God is and the world forever.

Why not take a little time today to look past the Easter eggs to remember the why, of Gods faithfulness and love for the world in Jesus.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

17th Mar Esther 9:1-19 War and Peace.

The Bible records some violent times in history. The Jews in the Persian Empire had narrowly escaped a genocide, and in response they armed themselves and massacred hundreds of their enemies. Thousands would die before there was peace. It’s easy to forget it, but we live in one of the most peaceful societies in human history.

The people in the Bible didn’t have that luxury so often resorted to violence to survive.

Take a moment to recognise how peaceful our lives are and pray for the millions around the world who don’t yet enjoy that privilege.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

16th Mar Esther 6:14-7:10 Who is the biggest and baddest?

The best laid plans o mice and men and all that. Haman had schemed so cleverly, so brilliantly that nothing could do wrong.

Of course he didn’t factor God into the equation which was a bit of a mistake.

We leave God out of our lives at our peril because ultimately it’s not about us. We are here to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

Are you trying to be too smart? Have you left space for God in your plans?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

15th Mar Esther 6:1-13 The truth will out

Like a good old fashioned crime mystery, the manipulator is not yet exposed. His plan for evil not yet complete but the sleeplessness of a pagan king who chooses to read about his own reign is the vehicle for truth to be revealed. Shakespeare introduce the phrase the truth will out in his play the merchant of Venice, where dodgy dealings appeared a plenty.

Gods truth will always out. The darkness cannot hide or contain the light. Sometimes God uses the most unexpected people just like the pagan king to make his will and truth known.

How open are we to that happening?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

14th Mar Esther 5:1-14 Don’t forget your roots.

Being a Queen in Persia didn’t actually entitle you to any official powers (the King’s ex-wife could testify to that), so when the King offered Esther half his Kingdom she had the chance at real power. She could have thrown her people under the bus and become the most powerful woman in the world.

But she remembered where she came from and chose to help her people.

Have a think today about where you come from, and the people who helped you get to where you are today.

Is there someone you could show your appreciation to?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

13th Mar Esther 4:1-17 To speak or to stay quiet…..

Esther had a lot to lose. Although her people were in danger she was safer than most as queen.

However Mordecai reminded her that she wasn’t truly safe and that she would have to have enough courage to speak up.

When you have a lot to lose it can be difficult to speak up.

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to bury your head in the sand. Where do you need to count the cost today and speak up?

Who is relying on you to speak for them today?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

Lent Breakfast Studies – running now until 25th March

Lent Breakfast Studies start on Sunday 11th March and run for three weeks through to Palm Sunday. 9.00am start

The studies will be held in the church and a light breakfast will be provided.

These Faith Sharing Breakfasts are open to anyone – more details soon from Emma.

Just turn up – no need to book a place.

 

12th Mar Esther 3:1-15

There have always been people who carry tales, who gossip with intent to mislead, cause trouble or slander others. There have always been people who use a person’s ignorance of a situation to create a false sense of reality.

Gossip hurts people, it damages reputations, assassinates their character, it destroys friendships and marriages and communities.

Jesus said “7 Your words will be used to judge you—to declare you either innocent or guilty.”

Gossip needs ears to live. Today let’s choose not to be those ears.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

11th Mar Esther 2:1-23 Right place, right time.

Esther didn’t earn her place as queen. She just happened to look beautiful and be in the right place at the right time. And yet as we will see, she managed to do incredible and brave things as queens. Often life takes us to places by chance or accident, not by design. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make a difference, especially with God’s help.

Where in your life could you make a difference, even if you didn’t plan to be there?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

10th Mar Nehemiah 10:28-39 The glue that binds.

After all their hard work the people gathered to dedicate themselves to God. Never again would they allow God to be so comprehensively forgotten or set aside. It is interesting that at the point where they have achieved everything they set out to do they made sure the glue that held it together was God.

Have you ever sat down to think about how God holds your life?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

9th Mar Nehemiah 9:26-38

Can you imagine everything you wish you hadn’t done in life being made public? And not only public but broadcast on the evening news for all the world to see. It would be awful, because everybody makes mistakes.

The people of Ezra’s time publicly recognised their mistakes, their sins but also recognised Gods mercy for not holding them against them. They choose to turn back to God and his ways. Whatever we do in life we will make mistakes, everyone does, but we can be confident in the knowledge that God is merciful, that he forgives.

Today why not choose to give the mistakes to God rather than hold onto the guilt which keeps you further from him?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

8th Mar Nehemiah 9: 1-25 Know where you came from

To establish the new nation, Ezra held a national event to renew their covenant with God. He led the people in a history lesson, to remind the people of where they came from.

It can be easy to forget our roots. For example, did you know that in the 17th century Scots inspired by passages like Nehemiah 9, wrote their own National Covenant? They thought that just as the Israelites had a covenant relationship with God, Scots could have that too.

It is events like these that gave us the church we know today, so it’s good to know our history.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

7th Mar Nehemiah 8:1-18 Do I know you?

When Ezra read the law it became clear people had forgotten how the law was there to foster a relationship with God.

On rediscovering that relationship they wept because they now knew what they had been missing. It might be that you are finding more space between yourself and God these days?

Perhaps it might be worth taking a moment to remember the difference having a close relationship with God makes.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

6th Mar Ezra 9:1-15

Ezra echo’s the thought of the Psalmist in Psalm 130:3. They both knew that God is righteous, they both knew that as humans we often go our own way rather than God’s way and that can have consequences for individuals and communities. But they also recognised God’s great mercy.

In Jesus we see Gods great mercy, a God who chooses to engage with us rather than turn his back, we see a forgiving God, a God who has done for us that which we couldn’t do for ourselves.

Today why not take a moment to consider Gods great mercy in Jesus and what that means for how we each should live.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

5th Mar Ezra 8:24-36

Ezra was an incredible entrepreneur: he managed to convince the King of Persia, his lord and the people of Israel to finance his project to restore Jerusalem.

He raised the equivalent of millions in gold and silver. But he made sure not to touch it until it had been brought to the temple to be weighed.

A good steward knows what they have so they can best use their resources.

How in control of your finances do you feel? Are you sure of what you have, or do they feel out of control?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

4th Mar Ezra 8:1-23 Remembering what’s important

Ezra had a huge task, rebuilding not just the physical town of Jerusalem but the Jewish nation state.

Whilst doing that he made sure God was at the heart of everything because he recognised that without him none of the rest mattered.

That’s why he made sure to have Levites (priests). With everything you have to do today, how can you make sure to keep God at the heart of it?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

3rd Mar Ezra 7:1-28

Ezra was very much a man of his time, Located firmly in history. He was a scribe, a teacher of the Law of Moses. Scribes became messengers of the will of God, they took the place of the prophets, but instead of receiving new revelations, they explained and applied the old.

By the time of Jesus scribes had moved from the original ideal of a scribe as established by Ezra and we find them actively opposing Jesus, from their perspective maybe with the best of intentions, upholding the Law

Sometime things started with the best of intentions, actually work against the will of God in our lives.

Sometimes it’s good to take time to pause and consider what practices we have adopted in our living and whether they speak of God or just us whether they help or hinder Gods will for our lives.

Why not take time today to do just that?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

2nd Mar Psalm 82 The Divine Ombudsman

When we think of God as Judge we usually picture a courtroom judge, weighing an individual’s soul by their good and bad deeds. But Psalm 82 shows us a different kind of judge.

In it God judges the ‘gods’ of the world – (i.e. Kings, Nations, Empires) based on whether they have done their duty to take care of the poor and vulnerable.

He is like a divine ombudsman, holding the powerful to account.

How often do you see people misusing their power?

What ways can you respond to that today? Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

1st Mar Psalm 79 Where shall I find hope?

At this point in his life the Psalmist was going through a really tough time. He felt everyone was against him and that God wasn’t listening.

Some people refer to this as the dark night of the soul when it seems there is no light at the end of the tunnel, only more darkness.

All the Psalmist can hope for is that God hears their cry.

If this resonates with you do not give up hope! God does hear his people’s cry and he does answer.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

28th Feb Ruth 4:1-22 Choose love

Words and actions can have unintended consequences. Ruth staying with her mother in law, was an act of love and faithfulness that saw not only Ruth and Boaz blessed with the birth of a child but Naomi with a grandchild. Ruth’s selflessness saw many blessing in her life most notable in the birth of King David’s grandfather.

One woman’s choices lead to the family to whom Jesus would be born. God can do great things with small acts based in love but first we have to choose to live with love as Jesus has shown us.

Life is all about choices. What will ours be?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

27th Feb Ruth 3:1-18

Women in history have rarely had a say in who they marry. When Ruth was widowed, she would have been expected to sit tight and wait for the men in her society to decide who should marry her.

But Ruth wasn’t like that, she knew who she wanted to marry and the life she wanted to have, so she took a risk and approached Boaz at night.

Ruth was bold, and her boldness saved her and Naomi. Is there an area of your life where you need to be bold?

Let Ruth’s story be the encouragement you need to take a risk.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

26th Feb Ruth 2:1-23 The truth will out

The law in Israel was that if you needed food you could pick up any corn or barley left behind by the harvesters. This is why Ruth was out.

Yet before she stepped one foot into the field her faithfulness to Naomi had already marked her character.

So often our actions tell people all they need to know about us, before we speak even a single word.

Today what will your actions tell others about you?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

25th Feb Ruth 1:1-22 God’s Blessing

Out of love for her mother in law Naomi, Ruth goes above and beyond the requirements of Israel’s Law. Her the first act is an act of loving kindness, of faithfulness when she refuses to leave Naomi.

They had both come from a place of heartache and hunger and will go to a place where the harvest is ready and where they will be blessed but the story would have been different if Ruth had not chosen to respond in love to her circumstances.

Ruth became the conduit for God’s love and blessing through the choices she made. Daily we make many choices about how we live.

This Lent will we choose to be the conduit for others of God’s love and blessing?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

24th Feb Joshua 6:1-27 And the walls came tumbling down

What a strange request: march around with an Ark for 7 days and then the walls will just fall over? There must have been plenty of Israelites who thought that the plan wouldn’t work. But the Israelites were faithful to God, and much to their surprise it worked, the walls fell.

Sometimes God asks us to do things that don’t make sense to us. Being faithful in those times can be hard, but if we persist even the most daunting walls can fall.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

23rd Feb Joshua 4:1-5:1 Thanks for the memories

12 innocuous stones that were given a special place in the memory of Israel. Everyone who saw then would remember the crossing of the Jordan.

If you look around you, you should be able to see items that have special significance in your own life.

An interesting question though is what kind of memories you are going to leave in the minds of others today?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

22nd Feb Joshua 3:1-17 Presence

The crossing of the Jordan reminds us of the people crossing the Red Sea.

On both occasions, God goes with them and before them. His presence and power is the courage they need to go forward with their journey and to do that which only a short time before may have seemed impossible.

God invites us to rely on his strength and power in our lives that we may go forward not in fear but confident of his everlasting presence with us whatever the journey, whatever our circumstances.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

21st Feb Joshua 2:1-24 More than meets the eye

Prostitution is said to be the world’s oldest profession, and as long as there have been prostitutes, there have been stereotypes about prostitutes. Over the years they have been labelled as depraved, devious, uncaring, shameless and immoral.

People probably thought that about Rahab, but God didn’t see her that way. He knew she was smart, quick witted and brave; and so he gave her a crucial role in his plan.

Is there anyone in your life that you have underestimated? How could you treat them differently?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

20th Feb Joshua 1:1-18 Show and Tell

When Moses died and Joshua became leader he had some pretty big shoes to fill. How would he measure up? What would people say about him? The only way he could actually show he was a leader was to lead.

In the same way the only way we can show we are Christians is to be a Christian.

So where today can you show people by what you say and do that you believe in Jesus?

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

19th Feb Heb 11:23-40 “In God We Trust”

The official motto of the USA is “ In God we trust” which was adopted in 1956 but first appeared on the two cent coin in 1864. People though, have been living that reality of trusting in God for many thousands of years. Moses and the Judges and all the people mentioned in this text lived that reality, they had hope, faith and confidence in God, a keeper of promises which influenced how they lived.

Neither their faith nor their hope was blind but was based in who they knew God to be. Jesus is proof that the faith they had in God was not misplaced, that God was faithful even though they did not live to see it.

Sometimes it’s good to just take a moment to reflect on how and why you trust in God and then let that understanding direct your faith, your hope and your living.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

18th Feb Heb 11:1-22 It starts with faith

The bible is full of incredible stories, this passage reminds us of just a few of them. They happened to thousands of people, across centuries of time.

But all of them have something in common. Each time a person had to make the decision to trust God. No one, not Noah or Abraham or Moses, knew exactly what was going to happen.

But they all put their faith in God, and through faith they did incredible things.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

17th Feb Psalm 108 Remember to give thanks

Lent is supposed to be a time where we give something up; where we make do with less. When we do that we can spend so long missing what we’ve given up we forget to give thanks for everything else we still have.

Today the Psalmist reminds us there is much to be thankful for in life.

Take a moment and consider all the blessings you do have rather than the ones you would like to have!

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

16th Feb Psalm 73 Choose Love

This Psalm acknowledges that often it can seem like the wicked prosper but perception and reality are often two different things. The Psalmist causes us to shift our focus from others to God, when he says ” God is the strength of my heart he is all I need.” Society would have us believe otherwise.

The Psalmist knows though that his inheritance is not earthly but heavenly.
Wealth, status and possessions cannot offer salvation that only comes through faith in Jesus something that we cannot buy, coerce or gain by force, something that many will learn too late. Jesus words in Matthews Gospel act as a corrective to the thinking that the wicked prosper when he asks “What good will it do for people to win the whole world and lose their lives? Or what will a person give in exchange for life?

Lent is always a good time to reflect on whether we live with an earthly or heavenly focus.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Emma

15th Feb Psalm 52 David and Doeg

Words are powerful. Doeg the Edomite knew this, and he used lies, boasts and deceit to gain power in Israel. But David knew that God’s justice was more powerful than Doeg’s words, and in the end Doeg would be defeated.

Many people practice times of silence during Lent. It reminds us of the power that our words have, and the value of stopping to listen.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from David

14th Feb Psalm 51 Nobody is perfect

King David may have been one of the greatest monarchs in Israel’s history yet he knew that before God he was as reliant on God’s grace as anyone else. This Psalm lays out clearly that David is neither perfect nor special. Rather he rests on God.

On this first day of Lent it is good to remind ourselves that we too are neither perfect or special and that like David we rely on God’s grace.

Today’s thought-for-the-day is from Norman

Lent starts tomorrow – with a daily thought

As tomorrow is the first day of Lent, we will start to send out daily thoughts-for-the-day from the ministry team.

These daily emails are intended to help us to go through the season of Lent in preparation for Easter. We hope that you find them useful.

Thought for the Day during Lent

Each day throughout Lent there will be a ‘Thought For The Day’ from the ministry team here at Granton.

Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in our Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.

For that reason, we are publishing a ‘Lent Thought for the Day’ right through from Wednesday 14th February until Easter Sunday on 1st April.

If you are already signed up to receive our weekly eBulletin each Thursday you don’t need to do anything. If you don’t get the weekly email either have a word with Chas or go to the website and sign up.

It’s also worth checking that emails aren’t going to your spam folder!

 

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