While our nation, and much of the world are in lockdown to halt the spread of Covid-19, God’s Word tells us that he is in complete control. Each weekday during lockdown, we will bring you a new reflection highlighting God’s love and care for us, and his desire for us to know the peace of his son Jesus. FAITH OVER FEAR Read – Matthew 14:27-31 (NRSV) But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Reflect “We’ve never experienced anything like this before.” Fear of the unknown is one of our most basic human emotions. It’s a built-in survival instinct. Peter, the fisherman, had never seen anyone walking on water – let alone done it himself. He knew that water doesn’t support human weight – unless you are lying flat!! But spending time with Jesus, he had learnt that, however you might describe “normal life,” Jesus turns everything upside down. If Jesus encouraged him to walk on water, he would give it a go. And it worked. For a start, anyway. But Peter’s rational mind began to work overtime. People don’t walk on water. This can’t be happening. Look at those waves! Calling out to Jesus for help was the very best thing to do. Peter was no super-hero. Call him a realist. Circumstances got him rattled. Time and again he responded out of fear. His faith was “little” – but it was faith in Jesus. The God who created everything – including oceans and viruses – has come among us in Jesus. And Jesus transforms every circumstance. Its OK to be afraid of the unknown. But even fearful people like Peter can trust Jesus to see them through the dangers of life. As the old song says: “Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea!” Pray God of the unknown future, I trust you for today and tomorrow. Keep me…
I just can’t catch a break. I remember hearing my mum utter these words at her most stressful times when I was a kid. I also remember thinking, “Could it really be that bad?” Now that I’m adult, I better understand how my mum sometimes feels. There are days—and even weeks—when I just can’t seem to catch a break. Do you ever feel this way? Like you can’t keep up with all of life’s demands and responsibilities? Like there’s no time to rest?
I smiled at my little nephew, heart swelling with pride. There he was on the school stage, tie askew, singing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” loudly and badly. He didn’t know the hand motions. He got carried away and sang the closing note for too long. And at one point he accidentally flopped his hand into the person next to him while getting too into the music. It was awful, and I was so proud. I was proud because he was fearless and bold and doing his best. And even beyond that, I was proud simply because I loved him. He could have shyly sung with his lips barely parted, and I would have felt the same kind of love.
With the birth of Jesus, the many words of the Bible became a living person, Jesus Christ the ultimate divine communication who is the Word of God. By John O’Connor It is appropriate that we celebrate this event with Christmas gatherings and vacations, with friends and family and food and drink. But most often and too quickly when the work and study year resumes these good times become a fading memory and we long for the next reprieve from the routines and demands of daily life. The Good News is that there is a way to live beyond the stress that surrounds us, and this is found in the Word who is more present with us today than he was in that Bethlehem stable.
The Bible is usually the last thing I want to face in the morning. I lie in bed in the early dawn, that netherworld between darkness and light, my phone in my hand, teetering between clicking on Facebook and clicking on my Bible app. By Anne Kennedy I grew up nurtured on the understanding that your morning “quiet time” in God’s Word is as important as a good breakfast. If you want to grow in body, mind, and strength, you have to face a bowl of oatmeal and your Bible before you do anything else. Now, at the age of 43, I don’t eat breakfast anymore because I’ve finally given myself permission not to bother. But the Bible—in the quiet before my children come shouting through my bedroom door—I shouldn’t give up.
It’s 6 o’clock. You shuffle into the house, not even bothering to take off your shoes before plopping down on the couch. Is it too early to go to sleep? you ask yourself. By Jennica Stevens But then you remember all the things you still have to do, and you groan. There are a million text messages to respond to. You have to prepare lunch for tomorrow. The kids have dance practice. The thought of doing even one more thing—whether it’s cooking, cleaning, or taking the dog for a walk—is just too much. All you want to do is sit and do nothing.
Growing up in the ’90s, I was bombarded with messages of self-worth 24/7. Almost every pre-teen Disney movie or Nickelodeon TV show bedazzled itself with the same tried-and-true message: Be yourself! Don’t let anyone dull your shine! By Hannah DeMarco It all sounded nice, but it seemed at odds with another message I received from well-meaning Christian adults in my life: You’re sinful! Who you are is inherently evil and corrupt! As a kid finding her place in the world, I didn’t know which voice to believe. I kept wondering, How am I supposed to be myself if myself is bad? I prayed fervently for God to make me pure. I longed to be good and honest and without blame. And I thought praying and reading my Bible would make me worthy in God’s eyes.