Be a light to the world

At this time, when we look through the newspapers, there is a lot of fear, violence, criticism and a real blame culture. It can paint a very dismal picture. 

Jesus tells us in John 8 v 12:

“I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life”

Here he talks of the ways of the world as darkness and tells us that he is the True Light. He will always be there to help and guide those who want to follow his way.

Just as Jesus is the Light, we must reflect that Light and follow his example. Matthew 5 v13:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a blanket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give Glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”

Here Jesus is instructing his followers to use the knowledge of his Word to shine and be a beacon of hope for others who may have lost their way and to help guide those who are searching for God in this world. It is the positive attitude we must have. In the same way as a lighthouse guides the ships of the night, so we must shine in this world to help and guide.

We must reflect upon the way Jesus has shown us and try to walk in it. Sadly, this can be difficult in these times when there is so much hate in the world.

The apostle Paul instructs us further on how to follow Jesus and how to treat each other.

 Ephesians 4 v 29:

“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love.”

As we walk through this life, let us remember these words and treat those around us with love. 

 Let us strive to be, as Jesus is – a light in a world of darkness.

All quotes taken from the ESV

Many of us may remember singing this hymn at school or in Sunday School!

Jesus bids us shine with a pure, clear light,

Like a little candle burning in the night.

In this world is darkness so let us shine–  

You in your small corner and I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine, then, for all around

Many kinds of darkness in this world are found –

Sin, and want, and sorrow so we must shine,

You in your small corner and I in mine.

Susan Warner 1819 -1895

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A Family in Lockdown

Family in Lockdown – How is your family using this time?

Just a few weeks ago we had the announcement that all schools across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland would be closing for an unknown amount of time. This move, to try and slow the spread of Covid 19, is something none of us has ever experienced in our lifetime.

It brought about lots of different questions, emotions and feelings:

  • How will my child be educated?
  • How will they sit their exams?
  • How will I cope with my children at home 24/7?
  • How am I going to entertain them?

There has been an amazing effort put in by people all over the country to help parents who are now having to home school their children. From teachers who have spent hours putting together work for pupils to access via online platforms, to celebrities who have taken to social media to teach children everything from PE to baking and even gardening.

Many have embraced the change and have chosen to view it as a positive move in order to protect their children and their wider community. It is a welcome opportunity to have more family time. However, we would be lying to say that even as adults we are not finding the situation strange and worrying. We must remember that there are many struggling to cope with what’s going on in the world right now. So how do we think our children are feeling?

They went from their ‘normal lives’ going to school, playing with their friends in the park and going to clubs, to being told that they can’t leave their house or garden other than for maybe a short walk each day and the only way you can see your loved ones is by video messaging. Children have an amazing ability to accept new information, they are resilient, and they have embraced this as their ‘new normal’.

How can we help our children, how can we make this ‘new normal’ a positive and empowering experience for them?

Open and honest conversation is the best way to start. When we understand the reasons behind things it makes them easier to accept and hopefully makes them seem less frightening. In our house we have had lots of conversations with our children about what is happening, and it has also allowed us to talk with them about the hope we have through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For example, in John 3 v 16-17 we are told, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

We have been able to reassure them that, yes, this is scary and we don’t know what is going to happen next. But really, do we ever? We know from the Bible that God is in control and we have nothing to fear if we put our trust in him. In 1 Chronicles 29v11-12 we are told, “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.”

The fact that these events are all coinciding with what would have been the Easter holiday (the time of year when Christians around the world think about the death and resurrection of Jesus) has given us even more opportunities to talk to our children about God’s purpose. It has also given us lots of activities to be able to do; craft activities, puzzles, even baking some delicious hot cross buns (keep an eye on our Facebook page – we will be sharing some of these activities with you over the next few weeks)! Small things that we as a family can do together, both entertaining our children and giving us plenty of opportunities to teach them about God’s plan for our world.

Have you considered starting the day by doing a Bible reading together as a family? It is a lovely way to begin the day. Personally, it sets me up for whatever lies ahead by strengthening, calming and focussing my mind – plus, it’s a great way to get your kids practicing their reading with you! Here is a link to our daily readings. It’s a good place to start, just pick one a day if you want to.

Life right now is scary and challenging but we know that God is with us and will protect us, if we put our trust in him, as we are told in Joshua 1v9, “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

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Rainbow Safety

While on my daily walk, I noticed a rainbow with clouds painted on the windows of a number of houses. Most of the paintings illustrated the seven colours of the rainbow with the words  ‘stay safe’ above.

It is kind of these people to think of others. They are concerned that we must all remain at home as much as we can to try to be safe by not spreading the virus. But why the rainbow? These days most people do not know the true message of the rainbow. Yes, some can explain how the rainbow appears but they may not know when it first appeared and why.

We have to go to the word of God, the Bible, for the answer. After the flood which God brought upon the earth, Noah and his family emerged from the ark and God said to Noah, “I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant, that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” (Genesis 9:13 -16)

The message is clear. God is not going to destroy all life upon the earth by a flood again. God has kept his promise. There has never been a worldwide flood since the time of Noah. Noah and his family and the creatures in the ark were saved. They were in the ark, in ‘lockdown’ for a year, because Noah had followed God’s commands. 

Jesus believed that the flood took place, he said in Matthew 24:36 – 39, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”  

Jesus also taught that, before he returns to the earth, the situation will be similar to that of the time of the flood. People will be caught up in the affairs of this life, not aware, and sadly, not wanting to be aware that Jesus is going to come back suddenly. Look again at the verses quoted above in Matthew 24.

So, for us to ‘stay safe’, we must try to be like Noah. We must listen to Jesus and follow his teachings in our lives. Then, if we lose our lives because of this virus or any other disease, or if, by God’s grace, we are alive when Jesus returns, we may be blessed to experience everlasting life on this earth, when all disease and sadness will be no more.  

Quotes ESV

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