Reflection – Anna Byrne DC

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” Psalm 34:4.
Fear is a problem. Seeking God is the solution. With God we find faith that gives us the strength to face every problem that surfaces. With God we find hope that leads us to see goodness and beauty wherever we look. With God we find unconditional love that helps us to let go of fear and live in joy.
Lord, you are the source of love and life. Help me to seek you when I am afraid. Remove my fears that I may live in peace with those I meet. Amen

Reflection – Anna Byrne DC

Genesis 22:1-18
All children are signs of God’s presence among us. We are the heart of God empowered by the Spirit to advocate for the weak and powerless and to show great love and concern for children everywhere. I wonder …. how do I reveal the heart of God in the world today?
Lord, you watch over me and love me as your child. Help me to see all people as your children and treat them with gentleness, love and respect. Amen

Reflection – Anna Byrne DC

Reflection on Mark 9:2-10. The Transfiguration Story.
Imagine being with Jesus on a high mountain. It is completely silent. … You are with the apostles who saw Jesus absorbed in prayer to his Father, his face was radiant. Can you see that now? Peter was moved so much that he started to talk too much, he was nervous perhaps. What about you? How do you react? ……. Can you hear the Father say to you ‘You are my beloved’?
Loving God, my presence on this earth is like a long Transfiguration. You brought me to this mountain of glory to show me your face. At times, like Peter, I want to stay here forever, but then I remember that I am only a pilgrim on earth. Each moment offers me a gift of nourishment. O Gift-Giving God, thank you for feeding me with the beauty of the earth. Amen

Reflection – Rev Ken Connor

Scripture reveals all things.
‘For the word of God is alive and active.’ (Hebrews 4:12-13)

In this passage the author highlights the power of God’s ‘word’. He does not simply mean the word of scripture, but the word that can come to us, among other ways, as the Holy Spirit brings the words of Scripture to life in a way that targets and speaks into our own hearts. Such a word is powerful, alive, even cutting, and ‘piercing’ through all our defences to our very core. Although the images here are fearsome: ‘sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divided the soul from spirit, joints from marrow; we also know that God searches out only to bring us greater freedom from sin and death.

The design of verses is to show us that we do not escape the notice of God; and that since our hearts are perfectly open before him, we should be sincere and should not attempt to deceive him.

The author of Hebrews seeks to impress us, the reader, of the real opportunity that lies before those who will take God at his word, and in obedience move forward to lay hold of his promise of rest.

God is not casual in assessing our spiritual condition. The imagery used here helps us to see that the truth of God is all-penetrating and searching, and that the real thoughts and intents of the heart will be brought to light. Rather than dealing with externals, such as religious observance, the penetrating word “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” His word cut deeply to the darkest corners of the inner life and lays bare spiritual realities that one might wish to keep hidden.

Accepting our vulnerability to God’s living word, now, rather than hardening our hearts, will serve us best when we must render our account (v13). Nothing is hidden as we stand before God, we must trust in the leading of scripture in our lives as God is revealed to us through it.

God, I thank you that your word is alive and active. Thank you that you do not miss a thing. I pray that you would come and speak to each of us through your word. That we would be able to hear you and know more of who you are. We invite you to come and speak. Amen.

Reflection – Rev Ken Connor

Scripture equips and readies us.
‘…so, the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped.’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Paul ends this section on the sufficiency of Scripture by saying, “that everyone who belongs to God may be complete and equipped for every good work.” In other words, we are – equipped by the Word of God and that the man, or woman of God is, and to paraphrase John Wesley a ‘A person of one book’. These verses are key, as they remind us that all scripture is ‘inspired by God. The testimony of God’s Holy Word is that it is his breath and that it is everything to those who believe.

The book of Deuteronomy records that when Moses had finished writing the words of the law and had given it to the Levites to place beside the ark, that he said, “Take heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life”. This set the standard for the proper regard for the Scriptures of the Old Covenant. And this is why the psalmist devoted the 176 verses of Psalm 119 to the celebration of the Scripture, by using the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet as a structure. In effect, the Psalmist is saying that God’s Word is everything from A to Z.

When Jesus began his ministry and was tempted by Satan, his knowledge of the Word enabled him to defeat the tempter with three deft quotations from Scripture. Jesus Christ, God incarnate, leaned on the sufficiency of Scripture in his hour of need. Indeed, his summary response to the tempter was like a bookend to Moses’ declaration that the Scriptures are “your life,” for Jesus insisted that they are the soul’s essential food. If Jesus stood on the power of Scripture, how much more must we hear the call to know and stand on that same power for the challenges that life brings our way today.

Lord help us remember that It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’. Amen.

Reflection – Rev Ken Connor

Scripture grows insight.
‘they… examined the scriptures every day’ (Acts 17:11)

What was it about the people of Berea that made them more receptive? It was simply this, they not only heard Paul preach on the sabbath, but daily they searched the Scriptures, and compared what they read with the facts related to them. It was the Bereans’ eagerness to hear from God and respond to what they heard that made them noble. In other words, by looking at the scriptures daily they were able to confirm for themselves the gospel message.

The reality is that what we believe in Christ does not fear examination; in fact, advocates of the gospel, desire no more than that people will fully and fairly examine Scripture for themselves, searching for truth.

It is not sufficient to have a passing acquaintance with the scriptures. It is not enough to know the Bible second hand. If we in eager expectation search the scriptures and examines its content daily, with a deep desire to know the truth, we will be guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth – and you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

Spend some additional time today, immersing yourself in God’s word.

Loving Father, thank You for Your Word of truth and all that it contains. Help me to be a good steward of the Scriptures as I search its pages daily and teach me all that You would have me learn – and guide me into all truth I pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Reflection – Rev Ken Connor

Scripture keeps us in step.
‘I have hidden your word in my heart…’ (Psalm 119:11-12)

Perhaps like me, you remember in Sunday School having to learn memory verses. One way of hiding God’s word in our heart is to memorise verses, especially ones that have a special meaning to us. In this context though, it is more than just memorising verses. The word “hidden” in this instance means “to store up” rather than simply “to hide.” It speaks of internalising God’s word. In other words, reading it, studying it, believing it, marinating in it, being filled with it, being shaped by it.

If you memorize the whole Bible but are not being transformed by it, then you are not hiding God’s word in your heart. Conversely, if you are allowing the truth of God to guide you, teach you, admonish you, and form you, then you are hiding it in your heart, even if you cannot perfectly quote dozens of biblical passages.

So, by all means, develop the discipline of memorizing Scripture. But, even more, develop the discipline of letting God’s word fill your heart, mould your character, direct your behaviour, and change your life!

Father, thank you for your guiding words, may they fill my heart, and mould my character so that they may change my life. Amen