Thought For The Day By Craig

The Chiefs Children

Mabel Shaw was a missionary, who in 1915 set sail from the United Kingdom bound for Africa. She was the first single female missionary to be sent by the London Missionary Society to Central Africa. Her work was to be mostly educational but there would be some ministry work involved too. Mabel founded a girls school there which is now named The Livingstone Memorial School. One day she was telling all the local children about giving a cup of cold water to the village people and when giving it, say “this is a cup of water in the name of the Chief” (that’s the children’s name for Jesus). Now offering a cup of cold water was deemed a huge mark of respect in such a hot climate. A few days later, workers were passing through the village, where they took shelter from the sun under some trees. These men were from another tribe and tensions could run high. Then something happened. Out of the school came a long line of children with water pots. They walked right up to the men and offered them the water. “We are the Chiefs children” they said, ” and we offer you a drink”. The men took the water and the children ran back to see Mabel. They were so happy and told her “we gave thirsty men water, in the name of the Chief”. In any other time, these men would have not been offered water from the tribe, but the introduction of a Christian value bridged that divide. We too can see an example of this in John 4 when Jesus sits at a well and asks a Samaritan woman for water. Samaritans and Jews did not get on and there were many Jews who saw Samaritans as heretics and the lowest of the low. Here Jesus not only asks for water but has a meaningful conversation, which was unheard of. In both stories we see that a little love and compassion can go along way to break down barriers. 1 Peter 3:8 “finally, all of you, be like minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble”.

God bless you all

Craig

Moonlight Sonata

Prior to WW2 there was a party of tourists in Germany. They were being shown a room in a house where Beethoven had lived and worked and it had the very piano that Beethoven had composed the Moonlight Sonata on. One of the tourists, a young American girl, sat down and started to play the first movement of the Sonata. When she had finished showing everyone her rendition, the tourist guide said, “you will be interested to know that the world famous pianist, Paderewski, himself was here last week”. The girl said “and I will bet you he did what I did; I will bet he sat down and played the same piece I did?”. “No madame”, said the guide, “he did not. Everyone on the tour pleaded with him to play, but he said ‘Ah no, I am not worthy'”. The self confident young girl would touch the keys Beethoven did, but the world renowned pianist was too humble to do so. Paderewski’s humility reminds me of a story in the Bible with John the Baptist. John had paved the way for the arrival of Jesus Christ and had a huge following of people. Later on he is at a large expanse of water, when his disciples tell him that not far away Jesus and His disciples are baptising people and the crowds there are huge. John replies with one of my favourite verses in the bible in John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease”. John knew that people would start following Jesus more than him and his humility shone through. Be humble not proud, Philippians 2:3 “in whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honour others more than yourself “.

God bless you all

Craig

White Feather

It was October 1915 in a Scottish Town called Carnoustie, where a gentleman was approached by a woman, who handed him a white feather in front of many town folk. He was one of thousands of men who were humiliated on the streets during WW1. Why? The handing of a white feather to a man not in uniform was a symbolic way to slander him, for not being in Europe fighting the war. This particular gentleman was on his way to the local hotel to be presented with different tokens of esteem – a rose bowl and a smokers cabinet. This man’s name was George Samson, who had just travelled home from London, after receiving the Victoria Cross for astonishing bravery 6 months earlier on the shores of Turkeys Gallipoli. As his boat landed 2000 men on the beach, they came under heavy fire. George gallantly recovered the wounded and put them below deck on the ship they came in. He kept doing this until a medic was free to assist him. George had received 19 bullet wounds in the process of helping others. He survived his wounds, but sadly succumbed to pneumonia on board a ship in 1923. He is buried on St Georges, Bermuda. This reminds me of the parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30. Here someone deliberately sows weed seed into the crop seed, and only upon harvest was the damage noticed, as the wheat and the weed stems looked exactly the same. These stories tell us to be wary of casting judgement on others. This should be God’s alone. Matthew 7:1 ” judge not that you be not judged” Instead we are reminded in Matthew 22:39 “You shall love your neighbour as yourself “.

God bless you all

Craig

BOOKS AND CASH

John Harvard was born in England in 1607, to a butcher and tavern owner. In 1625 the bubonic plague decimated his family, as he lost 7 siblings and his dad. He went on to study at Cambridge University and in 1635 he was ordained as a minister. He married in England and then in 1637 he and his wife emigrated to New England. Once established, John became an assistant preacher and was quickly considered to be one of the most brilliant scholars in the country. In 1638, at the age of 31, he died from tuberculosis. In his will he left half of his estate, £700 and 400 books to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which was set up to help advance learning. That huge sum of money constructed a substantial building on the site to aid in their learning. That college is now known as Harvard University and its alumni include 8 US Presidents, 188 living billionaires and 108 Olympic medal holders. His death looked like a waste, but in fact the opposite was true, it was a blessing. This is similar to the disciples when Jesus died. They thought He was going to defeat the Romans and establish an independent Israel. His death looked like a waste, but 3 days later, the opposite was true, when He rose from the grave. John 11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and I am the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whosover lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

God bless you all

Craig

NOBEL PRIZE

Alfred Noble was a talented man from Sweden, who lived in the 1800’s, and succeeded in holding 355 different patents, one of these being dynamite. This brought him considerable wealth, which he invested back into developing a more powerful form of dynamite. When his brother died in an accident, the leading newspapers in Sweden made a mistake. They had thought it was Alfred who had died, and they printed his obituary. Alfred was shocked to read about his own death and obituary in the paper the following morning. It read “The merchant of Death is Dead: Dr Alfred Noble, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday”. Horrified by what people thought of him, he turned his attention to doing good. He thus created the Noble Prize. He now had a chance to influence the world for good and it is regarded as one of the most prestigious awards available. This reminds me of the story of the Apostle Paul. He was originally known as Saul of Tarsus, who was a highly educated man, that spend his time hunting down the early followers of Christ and imprisoning them or condemning them to death. Following his conversion on the road to Damascus, he went on to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is considered to be the most important person after Jesus in the history of Christianity. Both these men turned from evil and transformed the world. Psalm 34:14 “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it”. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father except by me”.

God bless you all

Craig

ANSWER THE CALL

Firefighters take incredible risks. In the UK there are those employed as fulltime firefighters and there are also those who join the retained service. They are subjected to the highest levels of training so that they are ready for that call. That call in itself could be anything from a false alarm to a high rise building with multiple occupants stuck due to a fire. They are also seen as heroes and role models for children (and adults). The cool kit that they wear and the fire engine with its flashing lights. But they are also normal people who stand ready to answer that call at all hours during the day and night. Few professions require that sacrifice. I recently read of a story in the USA about firefighters attending a call to a 3 story apartment fire. Whilst fighting the fire on the 3rd floor, things took a turn for the worse and two firefighters were trapped. As they encountered a sheer wall of flame, the more senior of the two placed his colleague on the ground and then lay on top of him to shield him from the flames and heat. Sadly, this man passed away as a result of his injuries, but it was not in vain, for the person he laid down his life for, survived. He paid the ultimate price for his friend to live. John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”. This story also reminds me of another person who gave His life for others. Mark 10:45 “for even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many”. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life”.

God bless you all

Craig

MY FORTRESS

In the Scottish Borders lies one of the most intriguing and atmospheric castles in Scotland. The huge single structure was built in 1240 during a turbulent time in the Nation’s history. Not only was there internal clan warfare but there was border warfare and war with the English Kings. In 1388 the very powerful and much feared Douglas family took control. The castle walls were 45 feet high and over 6 feet thick. The entrance was protected by two sets of portcullis (these are extremely strong iron gated doors) and the ramparts were high enough for commanding views of the whole area. If you take yourself back to these turbulent times, this fortress would have offered protection, shelter, peace of mind and confidence that you would be safe and secure no matter what was at the other side of the walls. Life can often be like those turbulent days in the Scottish Borders, throwing up times of uncertainty, anxiety and worry, health issues etc. It is at times like this that we need a safe haven, a fortress like Hermitage Castle Psalm 91:1-5 “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him will I trust” surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust; His truth shall be your shield and buckle. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day” Psalm 91:9-11 “because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation, there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling”. As for your enemies, such as failure, mental health, illness.. Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed”.

God bless you all

Craig

HOUSTON … WE HAVE A PROBLEM

These were the words spoken on board the Apollo 13 spacecraft in 1970 when it was on its way to the moon. At 205,000 miles, it was a long way from home when they heard a bang somewhere inside the spacecraft. At first they didn’t know what it was, but then they realised that it was an oxygen tank that had exploded along with a power pack. The crippled spacecraft was now losing power and oxygen, and the flight turned into a battle of survival. Against all the odds, a heroic ground crew raced against time to bring them home. You see, without the battery there was no power source, and without the source there was no current, and without the current there was no way for the computer to work and the oxygen to be fed. We can learn something from this too. How often are we so busy that we burn out, get stressed, our anxieties increase, which then has an impact on our energy and ability to function. It is important that our power pack stays charged so we can live healthier lives and function better. There is a power source that never needs recharged and will never fail you. Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength”. Ephesians 6:10 “Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might”.

God bless you all

Craig

LIFE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES

One of the most famous lines from an iconic film in which Tom Hanks takes the viewer on the journey that is Forest Gump. From wearing braces on his legs, having a below average IQ and getting bullied. As he grows up he faces more challenges, joins the army and ends up in Vietnam, finding two new friends called Dan and Bubba, winning medals, creating a famous shrimp fishing fleet, making money on stocks and meeting several presidents. Forest throughout his life faced many challenges, hardships and also found success. His attitude was always positive, no matter what he faced, and he sums this up nicely in the quote; “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what ya gonna get”. The box was full of chocolates that all looked the same shape and colour and as there was no identifier key, you just had to pick and see. Life is just like that box of chocolates, you are never sure what is coming. No matter how hard you try to plan for things to work out a certain way, often there are times you end up in situations you were not expecting. Sometimes life is delicious and sometimes not so good. Ecclesiastes 7:14 “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.” How do we cope with the not so good times? Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths”.

God bless you all

Craig

BY CHANCE ALONE

Max Eisen was born in March 1929 in Slovakia to Jewish parents. Growing up there with him was his parents, two brothers and a sister, along with approximately sixty members of his extended family. It was the morning after the Jewish Passover in 1944 that the entire family were savagely removed from their homes and sent by cattle cars bound for Auschwitz Birkenau. Upon exiting the cars they were subjected to vicious blows, chaos and crowds of people screaming. Ten minutes later, Max was ordered to turn to the right while the rest of his family were ordered to turn left. That night Max sat alone, by chance, as his entire family had gone to the gas chambers. One day Max received such a brutal beating from a guard that he was dumped in the camp hospital. By chance a Polish prisoner who was a doctor operated on him, saving his life and saving him once again from the gas chamber. Max was 15 years old. This is a powerful story about being alone and second chances despite all the odds and hardship. Its also a story of triumph as he survived the war and currently resides in Canada. This also reminds me of another story of someone being left alone and then providing others with a second chance, just like that doctor in Auschwitz. When Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, all His friends abandoned him and left Him to face the authorities alone. Mark 14:50 “And they forsook Him, and fled”. Its also a story of triumph as He died on the cross to forgive us our sins and then He rose from the dead, for which we are promised everlasting life. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” If you are feeling alone today, rest assured there is hope. Psalm 73:23 “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”

God bless you all

Craig

LIVE BY EXAMPLE

Today I was out in the car on a quick errand when I noticed a father and his young son out together. The dad was carrying a black bag and the wee boy was holding a litter picker. The dad was teaching by example. This got me thinking about an article I read on George Clooney and his parents. George grew up with famous parents and was always in the spotlight, not short of money and was always surrounded by other famous family friends. His dad would receive bag fulls of fan mail and these letters would often be from people who had fallen on hard times. At Christmas his dad would pull out one letter and they would all go and buy presents for this family. On Christmas day they would visit this family for an hour, clean up their house and hand out the presents. Only when they got home would George be allowed to open his Christmas presents. Later in life George realised the importance of what his dad had done and, using his father as an example, he now does this for others. Proverbs 1:9 “What you learn from your parents will bring you honour and respect, like a crown or a gold medal”. 1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”.

God bless you all

Craig

UNBROKEN – AM I?

I watched a remarkable and heart-breaking film called “Unbroken” directed by Angelina Jolie. It’s a true story about an American Officer who, during WW2 was shot down over the Pacific Ocean. Over the next 47 days and 2000 miles his life raft was attacked by sharks and shot at by Japanese planes. Eventually he washed up ashore, only to be taken prisoner and subjected to horrific torture by a Japanese Officer. This is a film about struggle, trials and facing adversity in a place where hope hung by a thread. This man’s name was Lewis Zamperini and he was not a Christian at the time but he held onto hope. Isaiah 40:31 “But they that WAIT upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint”. What does this mean? If you are tired of the struggle and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or are just tired of a certain situation, then wait on God and He will give you strength. According to the Cambridge Dictionary – WAIT “until something happens”. This would be to expect. EXPECT “to believe something happens”. This would be to hope. HOPE “wanting to see it happen but don’t know if it will”. This would mean faith. FAITH “confidence in God to deliver”. If Lewis Zamperini can do it in a brutal camp and be answered, then so can anyone. Try Him today.

God bless you all

Craig

THE LAND OF NARNIA

One of my favourite set of books is “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C S Lewis. In particular, I love the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When I was young, my mind would often drift off to these lands beyond our realm where I would meet magical creatures and set off on adventures with them through lands of mystery and wonder. These memories are so special to me because of what they represent, and not just to me but also to millions of others. One of the most beautiful quotes in any of the books is the following which was taken from “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, “It isn’t Narnia, you know” sobbed Lucy. “Its you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live never meeting you?” “But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan. “Are – are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund. “I am”, said Aslan. “But there I must have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a while, you may know me better there”.” Do we know this other name? Matthew 16:16 “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God “.”

God bless you all

Craig

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

I recently heard a tale about a soldier who survived the Great War. He had sent a telegram back home to his parents saying that he was coming home and looking forward to seeing them. He explained how he longed to live a peaceful life. The last paragraph said that he would be bringing a friend with him and that his friend needed help as he was missing an arm and a leg. Eventually the young man received a reply from his parents saying that under no circumstances could they look after this man and that it would be too much work as they lived on the second floor and it would be tricky. A few weeks went by and the parents had not heard anything back from their son. Then one day they received a visit from the police saying their son was dead and that he had killed himself. The police told them their son was a double amputee, missing an arm and a leg. Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you have the right response for everyone”.

God bless you all

Craig

ADVICE FROM A FARMER

The other day I heard a comment “do not look back unless you are planning on going there “. This got me thinking back to a story I had previously heard about a farmer and his son. The farmer had told his son it was time he learned to plough the fields. He explained that the first furrow was the most important and if you get it straight it will be your guide for the rest. The farmer also told him to pick a point at the end of the field and aim for that. Off the son set and half way through, boredom set in and his mind drifted. Once he realised what had happened, the furrow was crooked and useless. If only he had listened to his dad. How often are we guilty of looking back (past relationships, failed businesses, past hurts etc). Take the farmers advice, pick a point ahead and keep going. Philippians 3:13 “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead”.

God bless you all

Craig

SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

One of my all time favourite films, which tells of the unlikely friendship between two prisoners in a notorious prison. They realise that in order to survive they require hope and without it there is only despair. My thoughts lead me to Brooks, an elderly prisoner who was serving 50+ years and his best friend was a crow called Jake, who he had cared for since it had fallen from a nest as a baby. Brooks gets parole but on the outside his bedsit is no bigger than his cell, he is treated unkindly by a worker in the local supermarket where he packs bags and his rheumatoid arthritis is aggravated by his job. After writing a letter to his friends explaining his despair and extreme loneliness, he ties a rope to a beam in his room and hangs himself. This poor man felt so lonely, unwanted and that his life had no purpose that he took his life. Mental health is something that is all too real today but there is One who cares and He cares more than we think. Psalm 139:13-14 “For you created my inmost being, you knitted me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” So the next time you feel dispondant, lonely or rejected, remember God formed you and you are wonderfully made, He loves you with an everlasting love and He sent His only Son to die for you.

God bless you all

Craig

MEASURING TAPE OF LIFE

When you look at a ruler or tape measure, it is defined by a starting point and an end point, whatever its length. For example, when I used to go to school I had a 30cm ruler for technical drawing and the other day I used a 4m tape to size up new doors. Whatever size of ruler you use it has a start and an end point with the measuring points in between. This is how God sees our lives, He knows the starting point (our birth) and He knows the end point (our death). To Him, that’s how clearly He sees us. If you have any uncertainty about things or have important decisions to make, ask Him. Even if at this time you don’t believe in Him, give it a shot – He knows the answer. Psalm 139:1-4 ” O Lord you have searched me and know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely “.

God bless you all

Craig

LESSONS FROM MY DOG

I often look at my dogs and observe their interactions and playfulness. They bring a joy you can’t explain and are just, one of the family. I wake up and Winston, our Cavapoo, is with me when I have my quiet time before I start my day. When I come home from work he is at the gate or window frantically wagging his tail, ready to greet me with a shoe in his mouth. He shows loyalty, unconditional love and selflessness. These qualities remind me of Mark 12:30-31 ” love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The Second is this: love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these”. Here in this passage we see loyalty (to God), unconditional love (with all your heart, soul, mind and strength) and selflessness (love your neighbour as yourself). The greatest life lesson, lived out in the life of a dog.

God Bless You All

Craig

BE MY GUIDE

In 1856, on the Isle of Skye, was born a John MacKenzie. He worked from a young age as a pony man for the local hotel, taking tourists up to Loch Coruisk. When he was 10 he climbed his first Munro and for the remainder of his life he led thousands of tourists through the mountain ranges of Skye, without a single accident. Why? Because he knew the way first hand and they listened to his instructions. When he passed away he was mourned by many. Isaiah 30:21 says ” whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way; walk in it.” Whether or not you know God, if you feel your life is veering off track, ask God for guidance for he is the greatest guide you will ever meet. He will always keep you right.

God Bless You All

Craig

HAYFEVER

My wife, Louise and I were out for a walk last night with the dogs. It’s a chance for us to catch up when I get home from work and enjoy the weather. Lately I have had itchy eyes due to the pollen but I have kept putting off taking an antihistamine. My wife saw me rubbing my eyes and turned to me and said ” why do you continue to suffer when you have the answer?” When I got home I gave in and took a tablet and within an hour my eyes felt much better. For many of our earthly problems there is another answer. If you too have something you are suffering from, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual, the remedy is in Jeremiah 29:12 “Then you will call to me and ask for help and I will answer your prayers”.

God Bless You All

Craig

A DOG’S COLLAR

This morning as I was having my cup of tea, I noticed one of our dog’s collars on the table. Our dogs wear these so that if they become separated from us and they are found by someone, this person can know their name, and who they belong to. They will also be able to get in touch with us so that we can be reunited with our beloved dogs. As a believer in Jesus Christ, its important for us to wear our collar, so that others may know who we belong to and that they may know how to get in touch with our saviour Jesus.

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”

God Bless You All

Craig

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