Clergy Blogs

Periodic contributions from Revd. Giles King-Smith, Vicar of the three coastal parishes. We also continue to show contributions from the late Associate Minister Revd. Linda Walters
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Faith

Faith quote from Revd. MArtin Luther King Jnr.I’ve been thinking about faith and all that it means to me after a conversation with a student this week. I saw this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. and realised how true it was. I thought of how I felt when I first had varifocal lenses and the difficulty I had with stairs but that I needed to take that first step or I would never get anywhere or conquer the stairs.

Faith is something which is hard to explain but so important to have and my mission this week is to try and explain it in a more convincing way, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to my student.

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What does it mean to rejoice?

I’m still praying through the verses from Philippians but it seems this week that there is not a lot to rejoice about with the various things that have been happening with friends and family. Then I wondered if I actually knew what “rejoice” meant.

So I went to a dictionary to look at what the word meant it said:

“To feel or show great joy, happiness or delight about something”

That didn’t really change the way I was feeling to be honest, I couldn’t feel any of those things about the situations that I had encountered the last week. Then I thought is there a difference between the word in an early and a spiritual way so started to do a bit of research.

I found that there is a big difference between earthly happiness and spiritual joy. Earthly happiness is produced and maintained by events, by things, by experiences, often involving money and moods and materialism. Spiritual joy is a product of one’s good relationship with God through Christ and is constant. Earthly happiness fluctuates greatly as things happen or do not happen.

You can be broke and in jail yet “rejoice in the Lord.” Paul did not enjoy good living conditions when he wrote these words in Philippians. He was in chains and a condemned man, but he had a constant joy because of his faith and he wanted all believers to have the same.

This word “rejoice” cannot be understood properly if you equate it with earthly happiness. Earthly happiness depends on circumstances that change daily. This spiritual joy is a product of one’s faith in Christ, and this joy can endure changing earthly circumstances. It is that constant hopeful, peaceful, joyful state of mind – knowing that even when things here on earth are against you, God is for you – and you, by faith in Christ, are firmly attached to Him.

I’m still finding it hard but at least I can look at it through slightly different glasses which I am hoping might help.

 

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Praising God

Just before I went back to my “other” job, teaching at Ilfracombe Academy, I decided it might be a good time to revisit a book called “From Prison to Praise” by Merlin Carothers. Praying my verses the book came to mind and so I took it as a prompt from the Holy Spirit.  I’d read it nearly 40 years ago when I first came to faith at university and a friend had suggested I might like it. It’s only small so I thought I would read it before I went back to school. It didn’t take me long as I remembered as I started to read it how “fast paced” it was. It is about Carothers faith journey and how he learnt the power of praising God in every situation.

As I read it again it challenged me and made me think about what the book said and what the verses in Philippians 4:4-7 were saying to me. I confess I certainly haven’t got to the same point as him in praising God but I am finding on those occasions when I do, that I see little openings of light into what have seemed very dark situations, or just felt lifted and supported by God.

Perhaps praising God in all situations is something we should all try more often, the Bible says:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

I know it isn’t always easy in some of the situations we experience but taking small steps of faith is so important.

 

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Giving Thanks

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?

I got those words on a card from a friend yesterday and they reminded me of part of the verses I am praying through this year.

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

It has certainly challenged me about my own prayer life and my attitude to God in different ways. It is easy to give thanks when things are going well, but it gets harder when they get more difficult.

Life isn’t just about the good times the reality is we go through a series of valleys and mountaintops. The good times give us the strength to cope with the hard times, well that is the theory but for me not always the reality. I try but being oh so human I often fail, sometimes quite dramatically.

Recently I have been challenged by the blog of close friends who are going through those difficult times. Diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma in October, no cure just palliative care. Then just after Christmas their eldest son collapsed and is in ICU in an induced comma with still no real diagnosis except his brain is swollen but with no real causes evident, it’s something of a mystery to the doctors. They have said some sort of brain disease not sure if it is treatable. As I have read the blog I have been inspired in my own life by the faith they have shown. Follow the link below I am sure you will find it a blessing and a challenge.

http://tracingtherainbowthroughtherain.wordpress.com/

 

 

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New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I don’t make resolutions at the start of a New Year any more as like so many of us I know that they probably won’t last and I am only making them because it’s “what people do”. This year I have decided to take some verses of scripture and pray them each day. I have used them a number of times at PCC meetings and feel it’s time for me personally to pray them each day and see the result.

The verses are from Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I’ll let you know periodically how it’s going – and I share some of the things that happen.

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