Category Archives: My thoughts

Thoughts on life.

Talk notes for ‘When Jesus Speaks how do you answer?’ Palm Sunday 14th April 2019


When Jesus Speaks how do you answer Palm Sunday 14th April 2019 (2)

 

Recording of the talk will be here    for a couple of months

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The Odyssey of BARYPOS of TEGEA Chapter 6 Part 1A Shipwreck


Part 1A Shipwreck

I, Barypos, boarded the Dolphin at Athens and entertained the crew and locals at ports we stopped at as we made our way along the islands and then the coast to the remains of Tyre. Once there I bordered a different ship, a small one, the Gull which was heading to Alexandria. These voyages where fine despite the risk of storms at this time, however as we neared Alexandria we saw a strange sight in the sky as birds fled from the coast.

 

A short time later a massive wave hit the Gull, lucky I was on deck with my gear as I was preparing for us to enter Alexandria’s harbor. The wave flipped the Gull over throwing us all into the sea, I managed to hold on to my pack but had to let my armour, cash box and weapons other than my Kopis on my belt go. Lucky I had been improving my swimming skill and managed to grab hold of a piece of broken wood put my pack on it and swam for shore. After a long time I made the shore, apparently the only survivor of the Gull. I was soon found by some locals who on seeing my status, as a rich man, aided me to Alexandria and my friends. With the sliver I had in my pouch I replaced my lost armour and weapons and am now ready to join them in their adventures.

Earlier parts of the story can be found here 

#40acts 2019


Every generous act matters. Every moment of generosity moves your community forward, whether an inch or a mile. Imagine if you took the plunge and dedicated each of the next 40 days to generosity, no backing down, even when it gets tiring. And, imagine if everyone who signed up to 40acts this year did, too.

40acts-poster

https://40acts.org.uk/act-1-pledge/

I intend to do more of these acts this year
The last few years I have not been able to do many of them due to health, but I am going to try harder this year.

Counter Cultural Love – Notes from my talk in church 10th Feb 2019


Counter Cultural Love

Talk for Sunday 10th Feb 2019

 

Themes

* Looking at how hard it is to love those who disagree with us

* Who support a different view point

* Who dislike someone we like

* How we are led by culture to hate certain ideas and people

* How Jesus calls on us as God always has done to love even those who hate and hurt us.

Readings   1 Samuel 24.3-5, 7-13                    Luke 6.27-36

 

  • Last week Clare talked about the Power of Love and this talk builds on that.

How Loving even those who do not love us is God’s way.

 

  • I have used a piece from the Big Issue by Dr Harris in the notice sheet piece

He says our minds are “trained to disconnect” when we see a homeless person. “We readily help kids and cute animals, in part because we know that whatever trouble they’re in, they can’t really be held accountable.”

“We’re less likely to be so understanding and forgiving when it comes to homeless adults or drug addicts.

“This tendency to judge rather than help is partly the result of a spot in the prefrontal cortex which appears to modulate the degree of empathy by regulating the release of dopamine.

 

No dopamine means no reward from engaging with the other person, which makes it less likely that we’ll reach out empathically.”

 

This sense of disconnect could be at the heart of everything that divides society today. “Of course these kinds of responses occur, ultimately, in our brains; where else would they occur? But social processes have enormous power to change neural processes.

So is our humanity something we can turn on and off – if only we found the right buttons to push?

“We’re trying to figure out what brain mechanisms allow us to switch these responses on and off,”

 

Harris says. “We want to make empathy the default response because now, the default response is to switch off entirely. If we’re going to get that to change we need a complete cultural shift.

 

As Christians we believe that living God’s way will turn our response around we will love others as God loves us and them.  That is Counter Cultural Love

 

That is what we are going to look at together today.

 

 

  • ‘Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.’ Romans 12:2 NLT

From UCB Word for today – Thoughts produce feelings, not the other way around. Worried people tend to think anxious thoughts, and eventually those thoughts become so automatic that, like a lingering odour, you stop noticing and learn to live with it. You get used to ‘stinking thinking’! Your thought patterns become as habitual as brushing your teeth. You get so accustomed to thinking bitter, anxious, selfish thoughts that you stop paying attention to any other way of doing things.

 

Basically you respond as the world expects you to.

Love those who love and help you ignore most others and hate those who harm you or those you love.

 

David had been Hurt, Insulted, Hated and Hunted by Saul for a while and now he had his chance, his men where encouraging him to deal with the enemy once and for all.

However David had always followed God and knew that it was God’s job to deal with his enemies.

 

So he did the Counter Cultural thing and let him live.

He refused to kill the one who wanted to kill him and even got distressed at having cut his robe.

 

Can you think of situations in the world or even your life which are similar?

 

David had been transformed into a New Person because he tried to live God’s way.

 

Jesus taught his disciples saying, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.

 

David did this, most of the people  then including the King, Saul, didn’t.

And it is still the same now people hold on to anger and hatred and that breeds more of the same.

 

Saul responded by saying how sorry he was and stopped hunting David, at least for a while and this situation happened again. In the end it was Saul who died but not at David’s hand and David became king.

 

  • Luke 6.27-36 From the Message

7-30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

 

This is hard teaching.

So how does not acting like those who dislike us, our enemies, bring out the best in us?

 

I saw a situation during the week

A red car was coming out of a junction when another car came down the hill and honked it and speeded off.

The red car honked back and gave chase and off they went honking each other.

 

The red car had not brought the best out of the other car in fact the situation just got worse.

 

What would have happened if the other car had just stopped or driven past?

 

 

If we react in the way we are being treated then we just ramp up the situation

whereas if we show love we show the best of ourselves and claim down the situation.

 

Think about how people react to each other over Brexit or many other points of view, or who hate those they like.

 

How does responding hate for hate help?

How does being angry to those who are not like us help?

How does ignoring the Homeless or the Migrant help?

It doesn’t it just produces more anger and hatred.

 

But what if we help in some way??

 

How did David respond?

 

  • When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.

Now that is the way to respond, pray for them.

 

I know from my own experiences that it is hard to not respond in kind, and culture expects and encourages us to.

Just watch the soaps or virtually any drama

Watch how they act in parliament

 

Or just see how society around you act.

Culture tells us its ok to hate those who hate you, to want revenge on those who hurt you to only help if theirs something in it for you

 

However if I can just stop and pray it starts to make a difference to how I respond.

Its a bit like counting to 10 as I was told to as a child.

But in this case I am asking for help from my Father to act as He does.

I do not always get it right either, but then neither did David.

 

 

  • If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

 

Again, this is not easy, we tend to want to get our own back to get an advantage.

 

If someone says something about me I want to get my own back, is how our thoughts go.

That leads to personal insults and on the internet Trolling.

The word trolling is a word commonly used to describe a method of fishing. In trolling, a fisherman         casts a line out into the water, usually several, and pulls them behind a boat, hoping that he will catch            something.

A troller or someone that trolls is someone that casts a line out in the Internet world in hopes of hooking             someone into an argument, pretty straight forward right?

They get a kick out of winding others up or just being rude.

 

Jesus tells us to not respond in kind but to be generous to them in our response.

 

  • Luke 23 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

Like Jesus we need to ask our Father in heaven to help us forgive.

 

When we forgive we help ourselves by not having that stress in our life anymore.

In an argument we just stop and let them have the last word or ignore them, Jesus did this with the Pharisees often.

 

Sometimes we just have to be the servant, a person who just takes orders and abuse from the master and can not respond.

 

Just think about Jesus and how He lived He never retaliated

 

Then there is what we say in the Lords Prayer

forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.

 

31-34 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!

So think if someone else has sweets you might like them to offer one to you, wouldn’t you?

Then  you need to offer others some of your sweets.

 

If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back?

Its easy to give some of your sweets to a friend who has some to share back, not so easy to give to a stranger or outcast who can’t give back, but it is what God asks of us.

It is also what we expect from God if you stop and think about it.

 

Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal?

Garden-variety sinners do that.

If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity?

The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

God helps us in many ways, He forgives, He Loves, He Blesses all without anything in return.

We need to be the same

Always giving in Love to others with no thought of praise or reward.

 

John 3 16  Message version

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

 

  • 35-36 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return.

 

Many people do good things for the reward.

Helping children or animals because it makes them feel good

Helping friends because they will like us and might give us something back

 

 

We need to teach ourselves to act as God does to us with Love and Forgiveness

Train ourselves so we move the pleasure switch to doing good to all no matter who they are, how they treat us or where they come from.

 

As with all re-training it needs to be done in small steps.

Start with one person who you would not normally engace in love with and go from there, slowly you will change how you think to become more Christ like in your actions.

And as in all things do not beat yourself up if you make mistakes or get it wrong, Jesus understands and He knows you are trying.

 

You’ll never-I promise-regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

 

We know that God loves us no matter what, we do don’t we?

After all He gave Himself for our punisment.

He is kind and loving to us no matter how we treat Him

Isn’t He?

 

So we need to act that way to those around us.

Loving them even when they hurt us by their actions [Sin]

Loving them even when they ignore us

Loving them when they take advantage of us

 

Because when we do then our Father promises that we will be treated in the same way in heaven and by Him always.

forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.

 

None of us want to be treated badly so we need to treat all we met, no matter how they stand with us, with LOVE.

This is Counter Cultural this is LOVE as GOD LOVES US not as Man loves.

 

1 John 2

15-17 Don’t love the world’s ways.

Don’t love the world’s goods.

Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father.

Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father.

It just isolates you from him.

The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

 

So let’s adjust the switch by keeping close to Jesus Loving as He does rather than keeping close to the world and acting as it does.

 

 As John Harris says in UCB Word for Today

An honest reading of Luke tells us that true discipleship is based on following Jesus, seeing the world through his eyes and striving to act as he did.
Like the wise builder, we must come to Jesus, listen to him and do what he says. Unlike those who were learning to be disciples back then, we don’t have Jesus present with us – but we do have his Word. Like the wise builder, we must dig deeply and lay the foundation of our lives on the Word of God. We must not dig shallowly, selecting only those passages which suit us, as the Pharisees did. We must keep digging deeply until we encounter the Revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Then we must model our lives on his.

Lets Pray

 

Readings

1st Reading 1 Samuel 24.3-5, 7-13

King Saul hunts David, and David has an opportunity

3 At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!

4 “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.'” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.

5 But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe.

7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.

After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 8 David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him.

9 Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? 10 This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king-he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ 11 Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.

12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you

 

2nd Reading

Luke 6.27-36

Love for your enemies

27 Jesus taught his disciples saying, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

 

From the Big Issue

Dr Lasana Harris, associate professor of experimental psychology at University College London, studies neurological responses, specifically the way our brains engage with other people and the world around us. He says our minds are “trained to disconnect” when we see a homeless person.

“We’ve developed this as a strategy to help us get through our social environment,” he says. “Most people think, and rightly so, that homeless people are having very negative experiences and constantly suffering. We may not always want to resonate with that suffering. Because of that, we lose sight of the fact that these are just regular people.”

According to his research, our brains automatically censor our perception of homelessness on a biological level to stop us empathising and feeling hopeless.

“People aren’t being seen,” he says. “If I’m a busy person, going through a city like London where there are tons of homeless people, and I have to stop and consider the minds of all of these people, that might make me feel very uncomfortable. Moreover, if I don’t feel like I have the resources to help, there’s nothing I can do to alleviate that suffering. That feeling stays with you. Our brain says instead, if I take a second to stop and think about your suffering it’s going to make me feel bad. So, dehumanisation becomes a kind of emotion regulation strategy.”

 

Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex, says: “While we can’t be thinking about everyone’s feelings all the time, it would be a lonely life if we applied this strategy to everyone. So I think it’s interesting to think about how we choose who to care about, and why we might cognitively step over a person sleeping rough.

“Is it because we think we are not like the homeless man on the street? Are we afraid it’ll cost us something if we engage with his existence, or worry we might feel bad about our part of the inequality problem if we look one another in the eye? Is dehumanisation automatic or is there, at some point, some intentionality behind turning off our empathy machines?

“The answers will better our ability to counter the inequality problem – that is, if deep down, we actually want to look outside our cosy cognitive bubbles.”

The consequences of living in bubbles are all around us, as society in general appears to act increasingly insensitively towards the marginalised. Rough sleepers are not welcome and moved on by authorities without there being the necessary resources to help them properly. Hostels are often inadequate, but homeless people are put there long-term, out of sight and out of mind. Hostile architecture, designed to deter people getting too comfortable in public areas, is becoming a more common sight, and Universal Credit is still the government’s benefits system of choice despite the overwhelming evidence that it is making life for the people it exists to support more precarious.

“We readily help kids and cute animals, in part because we know that whatever trouble they’re in, they can’t really be held accountable,” he says. “We’re less likely to be so understanding and forgiving when it comes to homeless adults or drug addicts.

“This tendency to judge rather than help is partly the result of a spot in the prefrontal cortex called the subgenual cortex. It’s full of oxytocin receptors, and it appears to modulate the degree of empathy by regulating the release of dopamine. No dopamine means no reward from engaging with the other person, which makes it less likely that we’ll reach out empathically.”

“Think about your Facebook,” says Harris. “You probably have a few hundred ‘friends’. But they are casual acquaintances. You aren’t processing them deeply. We’ve developed this as a strategy to help us get through our social environment. And we think a version of this is what’s happening in the case of homelessness.

 

This sense of disconnect could be at the heart of everything that divides society today. Is there a refugee crisis because people don’t relate to them as fellow human beings? In the Brexit vote, it was areas with relatively low levels of immigration that were most concerned about it.

“Of course these kinds of responses occur, ultimately, in our brains; where else would they occur? But social processes have enormous power to change neural processes, and we should be doing much more to exploit their potential to overcome prejudice.”

This reflects projects Harris ran with the Museum of Homelessness last year. In his experiments, he made participants humanise people by, for example, asking them to consider questions like: ‘Does this person prefer broccoli or carrots?’ He also scanned people’s brain activity before and after speaking to someone sleeping rough. After this kind of interaction, Harris found that participants were far less likely to spontaneously disengage.

So is our humanity something we can turn on and off – if only we found the right buttons to push?

“We’re trying to figure out what brain mechanisms allow us to switch these responses on and off,” Harris says. “We want to make empathy the default response because now, the default response is to switch off entirely. If we’re going to get that to change we need a complete cultural shift.

 

THE DAIRY OF LOUISE A NSO SPECIAL AGENT PART 5


Day 35, Dolls House stake out – We see Mr A and Delise , we need to contact a Robo engineer to get a inside man. We find out that Mr A is Ted Lopez, he has no Tax return or public profile.

 

Day 36, We decide that the Dolls House is the HQ of Zagerman Gang. The boys will bug the Dolls House, they put in 6 bugs which can last 24hours

 

Day 37, The bugs find a plush office with a safe, by using the air vents to get in.  We also find an engineer talking to Misty, a robot in a maintenance room. He is Tod McDonald, he seems to want to free misty.

 

Day 38, we go to Tod’s and get him on borad to helping us we promise that we will help him free misty. From him we find that there is always a guard on the office, either a man or a woman. The safe in the offic eis large and needs a hand print, it holds lots of cash. We also find that Edwin, Ted and Sonja Kraus have access.

 

Day 39. we find all the owners of sonic guns and question the  owners. Four are held by two security firms and casn account for them at the time of the murders. Two are held by Miss D Furigson and Simon Basil both have alibis. So that leaves only Delise to question, this gives a change to bring him in without linking it to enquiry’s into Zagerman. So that will be our next step, go to the Doll House and question Delise.

Talk notes for Beatitudes Merciful and Pure Oct 28th 2018


The Sermon on the Mount

Beatitudes

Merciful and Pure

Readings – Math 5 1-2 & 7-8;       James 2 13 – 17;          Ezekiel 18 5-9; Psalm 24

 Talk is recorded on Ascension Church website here  they are only keep for a couple of months

 

  • Today we are looking at two linked Beatitudes

7 God blesses those who are merciful,     for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

 

In all these sayings of Jesus [Beatitudes], a current behavior or attitude is linked with a future outcome. Jesus teaches that what we do now will have a bearing on our futures.

 

 What does it mean to be Merciful, showing Mercy?

 

Just what is mercy?

What does it mean to you to be merciful or for others to be merciful to you?

 

John Stott says – Mercy is compassion for people in need

Dictonary.com says

Compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’spower; compassion, pity, or benevolence:

The disposition to be compassionate or forbearing:

The discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.

 

German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, ‘Christians … must share in Christ’s large-heartedness by acting with responsibility and in freedom … Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behaviour. The Christian is called to sympathy and action.’ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Theology of Liberation)

 

  • Matt 5 7 “You’re blessed when you care.

            At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. [Message]

 

How can you show a commitment to justice and mercy in your life?

 

 Michelle Smart says –  The Old Testament and the New Testament stress what’s really important – justice, mercy and faithfulness (Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:8; James 1:27). The lack of justice shown by the religious teachers [of the time] reveals the hollowness of their outward religious observances. In contrast, Jesus’ followers, aided by the Holy Spirit, will live servant-hearted transformed lives of faith and love.

 

  • We are judged on our mercy to others

If we want God to be merciful to us then we need to be merciful to others

Just having faith isn’t enough if that faith is not shown in how we live and how we treat others.

 

John Stott says – Our God is a merciful God and shows mercy continuously; the citizens of his kingdom must show mercy too.

 

James 2 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”-but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

 

Mercy is forgiving others, who do not deserve it, helping other with no hope of return.

Mercy is helping those worse off than us, not just our friends and those who say thank you

 

John Stott says – we cannot receive the mercy and forgiveness of God unless we repent, and we cannot claim to have repented of our sins if we are unmerciful towards the sins of others.

Jesus said in Matt 18 [Message] The unforgiving servant

32-35 “The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’

 

And in James 2 12-13 Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.

 

Also 1 John 3:16

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.

Robert said to me – Mercy is God’s way, it releases God’s power and grace into this world; whereas judgment destroys mercy, and we ourselves end up under judgment.

 

We are to be the Light to the World and the Salt that seasons.

Mercy to others is part of how this works out

 

  • You’re blessed when you care.

            At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. [Message]

 

Finally for me  it is our Christian duty to act as God does to us. He shows mercy to us,  ccompassionate and forbearance, forgiveness and pardon,  so we should show this same mercy to others.  If we show mercy to others then we are more likely to have others show mercy to us and we all want others to be merciful to us don’t we?

 

If we do not show mercy then how can we expect mercy?

 

We want Gods mercy and forgiveness ourselves, us being merciful is giving that love and forgiveness back to others and thereby sharing Gods love.

And just as we do not deserve Gods mercy but God gives it to us so we need to give out mercy to others.

 

  • What does it mean to be Pure of heart?

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.  [Message]

 

Mic 6:8.  They neglect the heart of the Law – faithfulness to God and his covenant, justice and mercy towards the marginalised

 

 Psalm 24

3 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
who do not worship idols
and never tell lies.
5 They will receive the Lord’s blessing
and have a right relationship with God their savior

 

John Stott says – the person with a Pure Heart is one who does not lift up his soul to what is false, idols, and does not swear deceitfully. That is, in his relations with both god and man he is free from falsehood. So the pure in heart are the utterly sincere. Their whole life, public and private, is transparent before God and men. Their very heart – including thrir thoughts and motives – is pure, unmixed with anything devious, ulterior or base.

 

So “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.  [Message]

Hebrews 12.14 
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, without which those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

James 4.8
8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

David in Psalm 51 asks God to create in him a clean heart, which he knew God alone can do

 

For me being Pure of  Heart is about being a person that is focused on God first and always, trying to hear him and live His way, allowing Him to shape me.

Now I admit I do not get it right all the time, but I am trying to continue to put God first just as Jesus did

and also to put others first by treating them as Jesus did.

With Love, Care and humility

 

Let us pray

Robert said  –  we need to discipline ourselves, have ‘long obedience in the same direction’, allow God to form and shape us – it’s about the inner core of a person. And this is needed by us all rich and poor alike, every human being.

 

Father God we pray in Jesus name that you will create in us a Pure Heart one which will show Mercy to all.

Amen

Matthew 5 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.

7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.

 

James 2 13 – 17

12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.

Faith without Good Deeds Is Dead

14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”-but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

 

Ezekiel 18  5-9

5 “Suppose a certain man is righteous and does what is just and right.6 He does not feast in the mountains before Israel’s idols[a] or worship them. He does not commit adultery or have intercourse with a woman during her menstrual period. 7 He is a merciful creditor, not keeping the items given as security by poor debtors. He does not rob the poor but instead gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy. 8 He grants loans without interest, stays away from injustice, is honest and fair when judging others, 9 and faithfully obeys my decrees and regulations. Anyone who does these things is just and will surely live, says the Sovereign Lord.

 

 

 

Notes for my talk on 9th Sept at Church – ‘Listening and understanding others’


‘Listening and understanding others’

9th Sept 2018

Theme – Understanding ourselves; Listening to God; helps us listen to others and understand them

Readings1 Samuel 3 1-10;              Luke 2  46  & 8 17-19                       

Other passages – Matthew 13:11-13; Proverbs 18 : 13

 Link to talk on Churches website   http://www.ascensionbath.org.uk/sermons/

 

  • Listening and understanding others’ is a big subject so this will only be a overview of what I have learnt about it.

We might all think we spend time listening, after all you are doing it now aren’t you.

We all think we listen to others but mostly we only hear what we want to hear and our own interests are often getting in the way of really understanding what we are hearing

Hearing is not listening, listening is an active thing not a passive thing.

To listen to me talk you have to concentrate, pay attention, watch and see as well as use you ears.

What people are saying comes over in their body language, voice tone as well as the words used.

 

How to listen to and then to understand others is one of the first things I had to get my head around when I became a Christian.

After all for a large part of my life I didn’t really listen to others unless we were talking about History or Wargames. I wasn’t interested in their lives and what was going on for them. But then few people could hear past the stuff I was talking about to understand the real me.

 

However a few did and I still value the time they gave to me.

 

It meant I had to listen and understand myself first. After all I could not listen to others and understand their needs if I didn’t even understand myself.

 

So that is the first point we have to know ourselves first.

 

  • How do we get to know ourselves?

 Following Jesus requires us to understand ourselves and our place with Him and then we are better able to listen to and understand others.

 We Understand ourselves by Listening to God, He shows us how loved we are and how much He wants to spend time with us.

At CA collage we did a course on Human Development, as well as a Counselling course, both of these taught me a lot about what drives me and what personal noise gets in the way of me hearing others.

Think of a radio badly tuned you can hear bits of the program you want but it is distorted by interference.

To deal with this we have to retune and get the program through clearly.

It is the same for us we have to tune into God fully to understand ourselves and then when we are with others we need to tune in to them and only them as we listen and understand.

When we know that we are loved and accepted then we can listen to others without our own needs getting in the way. We can listen in Love a love we reflect from Jesus.

Jesus could hear His Father because He knew Himself, Jesus understood what  influenced Him and therefore could really listen.

Luke 2 46

46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.

He wanted to understand so listened and asked, we need to do that for ourselves with God and others.

Even if that means spending a long time there

 

  • We need help to listen fully to others

 

We need the Spirit of God, the Helper to guide our listening.

The Spirit helps us listen to others and understand them. It acts like a Ariel tuning us in to the person we are listening to.

In fact it also acts like a amplifier making the message clearer.

 

The Spirit gives us wisdom of when to ask a question or get the person to clarify something.

It also gives us, sometimes, the questions to ask to help that persons journey.

 

Otherwise we might end up doing what

Proverbs 18 says

13 Spouting off before listening to the facts  is both shameful and foolish.

 

I also find the Spirit gives me the concentration and strength to give my attention for a long time.

And take my word listening to people does take effort and energy.

 

We also want to listen to others to show that Love Christ has for us to them.

  • How do we Listen and Understand?

 

Samuel didn’t understand what was happening and so couldn’t hear  1 Samuel 3

He heard but didn’t understand twice and responded in the wrong way

He had to be directed to listen and then he could understand

The disciples where the same they needed direction to be able to listen

Jesus told them that they had to listen

 

Luke 2 18  “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given.

 

Mathew 13

12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge.

13 That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.
They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

 

In Psalm 103 it says ‘The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.’

 

This is how we need to be to be able to listen to others, full of love and compassion.

Prepared to take the time to listen

The time to really understand what they are saying and need.

 

Then we need the wisdom to know if and when to speak, how to challenge and how to encourage.

How to direct and how to pray.

I have found that this wisdom only comes from God Via the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Personal Sacrifice

In Luke [2] Jesus spend time to listen to others, to learn and to understand, even though this meant missing out on leaving with His parents.

Often Listening takes time and sacrifice if we are to understand what the person is saying to us.

 

Listening is not a quick 5 minute chat, it is being prepared to give of time and self to do nothing but listen.

This might mean missing an appointment or being late for it, giving up something else you want to do

 

Listening is a gift to others, because it shows them are loved and cared about and it helps them understand what they are trying to share.  Get things straight in their own mind.

 

  • So this week spend some time asking God to help you understand yourself.

Prepare yourself for those people who need you to listen to them

 

This week try to give the time to really listen to someone, give of yourself in love.

Let us Pray

 

 

 

 

News Sheet Piece

‘Listening and understanding others’ we all think we listen to others but mostly we only hear what we want to hear and our own interests are often getting in the way of really understanding what we are hearing. For a large part of my life I didn’t really listen to others unless we were talking about History or Wargames. I wasn’t interested in their lives and what was going on for them. But then few people could hear past the stuff I was talking about to understand the real me. In our Samuel reading [1] Samuel didn’t understand the voice he was hearing and what it meant it took a while to gain the understanding needed to really listen. In Luke [2] Jesus spend time to listen to others, to learn and to understand, even though this meant missing out on leaving with His parents.  Often Listening takes time and sacrifice if we are to understand what the person is saying to us. Listening is also a gift to others, because it helps them understand what they are trying to share.  So this week try to give the time to really listen to someone, give of yourself in love.

[1] 1 Samuel 3 1-10     [2] Luke 2 46

 

 

1 Samuel 3 1-10

The Lord Speaks to Samuel

Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.

One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle[a] near the Ark of God. Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”

“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.

Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!”

Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”

Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.

10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

 

Luke 2  46  & 8 17-19

Luke 2 46

46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.

Luke 8:17-19

17 For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.

18 “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”

 

Matthew 13:11-13

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.
They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.