HCC Community - Thoughts and readings February 2021
As we cannot meet together as church at this time we have provided a place where we can share our thoughts and readings, as we normally do in our Sunday morning meetings. Please click here to submit your own thoughts and they will be added to this page.
The theme of the sharing on Sunday 28th February was freedom: In the letter to the Galatians we read that the Galatians had lost their freedom. We can become trapped by our circumstances and how we feel about ourselves and can lose our freedom. We were challenged to think about those things which accumulate on our soul and take the edge off our joy and freedom, for example mistakes we've made, circumstances of life and things people say to us - rather like an unwrapped, sticky sweet picks up fluff in a coat pocket. A picture was shared of barnacles attached to a boat, the barnacles will build up and get heavier unless they are intentionally scraped off. How do we prevent that build up? We need to share our feelings and concerns and care for one another. The illustration of a well cared for and polished car was shared - when the car is lovingly polished it will prevent the dirt and dust sticking to the car - if we care for our souls and don't let those barnacles grow in the first place, then they won't become a problem. When we are living in the Spirit with an awareness of what Jesus has done for us, living in the eternal now, then we will become aware of the 'barnacles' and not tolerate anything sticking to our souls that will pull us down. We also need to keep moving and walking with the Lord to prevent that build up. In Tim's talk 'A just God' he asks what we do with the injustices of life, whether we let them stick to our souls or live in the freedom that Jesus brings here and now.
On Thursday 25th February Merle wrote her latest nature blog, 'A lesson for the learning': 'Quite unintentionally we gave our neighbours a problem. Every year we prune one of the ivies growing on a fence in the garden to keep its resemblance to an open fan. However, during the winter I noticed that the ivy was coming over the top of the fence from our neighbour’s side. That was a disaster!' Click here to read Merle's blog.
The following thoughts and readings were shared during our Zoom church meeting on Sunday 21st February 2021: The themes of the sharing were walking with the Lord and yearning for God's company. That is how we will know God's will for each day. The following readings were shared: 'In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.' (Romans 8:26-28) 'He has made it clear to you, mortal man, what is good and what the LORD is requiring from you— to act with justice, to treasure the LORD's gracious love, and to walk humbly in the company of your God.' (Micah 6:8 International Standard Version) 'Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.' (Genesis 5:23-24) During our time of communion Tim read Mark 14:32-36. It is the Spirit within us who guides us in all we do and enables us to know God's will for our lives. Tim's talk is a very practical explanation of seeking God's will - click here to go to the Sunday talks. Kelly has written a helpful article about seeking God's will for her family life during the current winter lockdown, entitled 'Cabin fever'.
The following thoughts and readings were shared during our Zoom church meeting on Sunday 14th February: During our sharing time we thought about God's promises and whether we believe them and take them to heart. We were encouraged to ensure that we live in unity, in love and in a place where we can hear from God and support one another. Tim led communion and spoke about Luke 22:39-45 and the inner strength and obedience that Jesus demonstrated as he approached the cross, and the hope and encouragement that gives us. The following readings were shared: 'Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.' (Romans 12:10) 'Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.' (Ephesians 5:18-20) 'I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.' (Psalm 32:8) 'The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.' (Zephaniah 3:17) 'His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' (2 Peter 1:3-11)
Merle has written an article for the 'Understanding family' section of the website on five 'S's' which form the building blocks to raising happy children: 'These five ‘S’s’ form the building blocks to raising happy children. Safe: From the baby’s first cry of ‘here I am’ when they enter this world, we as parents are responsible for providing a safe environment for them. They will get to know their parents by touch, cuddles, being wrapped up snuggly and the recognition of their voices.' Click here to read Merle's article.
John's latest article for the Halesworth Community News is entitled 'Are you looking?': 'Are you one of those people who, when you are receiving an injection in your arm, has to watch - or do you look away? Turn on the TV and what do you see - someone getting the jab. Do you look? We are all different. How far we have come in our medical expertise.' Click here to read John's article.
On Monday 8th February Merle wrote her latest nature blog, 'A costly interruption': 'Last week my sister-in-law sent me a video clip of two robins building a nest in the winter jasmine which grows close to her back door. She wrote, “A blackbird came to view the residency, but the robins told him he was too late, they had got there first!!! On Monday the robins had sadly vacated the nest, maybe evicted by the blackbird.” Click here to read Merle's blog.
On Sunday 7th February Julie an article entitled 'Background noise' and asks how we can stop the negative cycle of thoughts and feelings from taking root: 'During this current lockdown I’ve been particularly aware of the ‘background noise’ of my thoughts. I live on my own in a quiet cul-de-sac and I’ve been working on my own in a closed library building so there is very little actual background noise in my life at the moment, other than what I choose to watch or listen to.' Click here to read Julie's article.
The following readings were shared during our Zoom church meeting on Sunday 7th February: The theme of the sharing was that we can choose where to put our focus each day, we can choose not to fear, but to actively draw near to God and seek his peace. It's important to be patient with ourselves and comfortable with ourselves in order to live in God's peace. We can cope with our circumstances because of God's love, not in our own strength. 'For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.' (Ephesians 2:14) 'So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.' (Isaiah 41:10) 'Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.' (Philippians 2:1-5)
On Thursday 4th February Merle wrote her latest reflection entitled 'Seize the moment': 'Yesterday we woke up to flooded gardens, flooded roads and the prediction of further rain to come. However, at midday, the gloom was dispelled by the sudden appearance of early spring sunshine. My immediate response was, ‘We must make the most of this!’ Click here to read Merle's reflection.
On Thursday 4th January Laura wrote an article entitled 'Sufficient for the day': 'On Sunday I shared a few thoughts from a book I’ve started reading – ‘God does his best work with empty’ by Nancy Guthrie. I’ve only read the first two chapters so far, but it’s one of those books where you could quote almost every sentence! Julie prompted my thoughts by sharing from John 1:16 about being given grace that is sufficient for each day.' Click here to read Laura's thoughts.
The following readings were shared during our Zoom church meeting on Sunday 31st January: The theme of the meeting was that we can joyfully relax in the Lord. We do not need to worry about tomorrow because, if we walk with the Lord and are still before him each day, we will experience his grace. We can trust him because he will provide what we need. 'Leave all your cares at the feet of the Lord and measureless grace will strengthen you.' (Psalm 55:22 The Passion Translation) 'Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.' (John 1:16) 'When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.' (Psalm 94:18-19) 'Be still, and know that I am God.' (Psalm 46:10) David read Ezekiel 36:25-27 as he led communion and spoke about God's great sacrifice and our gratitude to the Lord who's given us a new heart and a new spirit because of Jesus' death on the cross. 'I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.'