Sunday, 25 September 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: September - Gift of Courage

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No.220)

He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” Mark 4:40



'God gives us peace when life's problems involve us in a tempest of doubt and tension and uncertainty. There come times when we do not know what to do; when we stand at some cross-roads in life and do not know which way to take. 

If then we turn to Jesus and say to him, "Lord, what will you have me do?" the way will be clear. The real tragedy is not that we do not know what to do; but that often we do not humbly submit to Jesus' guidance. To ask his will and to submit to it is the way to peace at such a time.

God gives us peace in the storms of anxiety. The chief enemy of peace is worry, worry for ourselves, worry about the unknown future, worry about those we love. 

But Jesus speaks to us of a Father whose hand will never cause his child a needless tear and of a love beyond which neither we nor those we love can ever drift. In the storm of life He brings us the peace of the love of God.

Read the scripture slowly
Reflect on its meaning slowly
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.


Sunday, 18 September 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: September - Gift of Courage

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Jane Borg (No.219)


'...we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition.'1 Thessalonians 2:2



At the vigil mass during the recent world youth day in Poland, Pope Francis called on young people today to be ‘courageous and free’ and to ‘leave a mark’ on our world. It takes courage to leave a mark!

What does courage look like for a Christian in today's society? It means standing for truth in a society where truth is reinterpreted according to one’s view; where moral boundaries have been blurred or completely removed; and where God is thought to be dead.

It means turning to God and claiming the gift of courage to live the life God has called each of us to live, exactly where he has placed us now. When we follow God’s direction and live according to his Commandments; when we witness the love and mercy of God through our relationships; when we give God the glory and not ourselves, we show courage and we will leave a mark.


Let us ask God for the courage to follow him wherever he may lead.

Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.

Jane Borg









Sunday, 11 September 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: September - Gift of Courage

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.

By Louise Crossley (No.218)

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, [after the Resurrection] raised his voice and addressed the crowd, Acts 2:14



THE COWARD DEFINES COURAGE
As reflected by the faith-filled Malcolm Davies, at the beginning of this month, courage is to go-against-the-grain or against what is popular to stand for God.

However, courage is also to be brave enough to never give up when we falter. As demonstrated by St. Peter, who denied Jesus not once, but three times, courage is to not throw-in-the-towel with the self-talk: ‘I’m damned anyway’.  Judas was that kind of coward and look what happened to him.

Still, our mistakes must not be self-justified either. Months ago, someone told me ‘we are all sinners. Even when we think of sin, we sin’.  While this is true, the statements were used only to justify a terrible sin.

Therefore, to define courage, we must first define the coward. In my view, the coward is the excuse maker; the loop-hole finder; the buck-passer; the artificial; and courage, is the contrast of this. 

Read the scripture slowly. 
Reflect on its meaning for you.
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.

  
Louise Crossley









Sunday, 4 September 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: September - Gift of Courage

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Malcolm Davies (No.217)



For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1: 7


When I was younger I worked in a team in the public service who were all young men and we decided to have a team lunch.

Some of the men wanted to go to a “topless” lunch place. I said I would not be going as it was disrespectful to women. One of them replied that women were part of creation and therefore what was I worried about. There was a lot of tension between some of the men and myself.

I agreed that women were part of creation and therefore should be honoured and respected and that for that reason I would not be going with them. They talked amongst themselves and then agreed to go elsewhere.

I was never a person to push religion on to other people but this was an opportunity to communicate gospel values that I could not ignore.

We are all called to be faithful to the gospel and that may include explaining to others in a calm and rational manner how, as Christians, the principles of the Kingdom are lived out in our lives.














Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.


Sunday, 28 August 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: August - Gift of Right Judgement

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No.216)


 When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how[a] you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.”


The word paraclete means someone who stands by to help. It can be used of a witness, or an advocate to plead our cause.

In the Gospel, the Holy Spirit is referred to as the paraclete. In the day of trouble, we don't need to fear. No less a person than the Holy Spirit of God stands by to help.

We just need to trust.

  
Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.

  
Susanne Timpani















Sunday, 21 August 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: August - Gift of Counsel (Right Judgement)

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Louise Crossley (No.215)


Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my thoughts.  Psalm 139:23

Counsel (Right judgement)
We tend to believe that good and bad is as blatantly clear as the sun and the moon. People who are polite, friendly, courteous, are good. People who are impolite, unfriendly and thoughtless are bad. 

Many times I've heard comments, as I'm sure we all have, like 'She's nice' or 'He's awful' from people, following their brief (positive or negative) encounters.

Recently I've changed my perspective. I now realise that good and bad to the mere human eye is inconceivable, no matter how it seems. Therefore, without good judgement, it would be easy to be led astray by actions confused for virtues. 

Right judgement is to fill our mind, to expose our body and to action out behaviour according to God's laws - inwardly.




In an effort to remind us to have the good judgement to not judge His children, as our eyes can only see a portion of the whole, our concentration should be on developing OUR best self.

I envision God reinforcing this gift through Kenneth Slessor's poem: William Street. 'You find it ugly, I find it lovely.'

   
Read the scripture slowly. 
Reflect on its meaning for you.
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.



Louise Crossley













Sunday, 14 August 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: August - Gift of Counsel (Right Judgement)

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Malcolm Davies  (No.214)


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
  


The primary way I have learned to know the will of God, and be graced to live out that will, is to prayerfully read the scriptures and the writings of those great Christians who have gone before us.

There are many challenges in this world and the are many complex political and social issues that come up for discussion, especially at work.

There are many persuasive arguments made by those who do not know the principles of the Kingdom of God.

By seeking to understand the scriptures through study of the Bible and the writings of great Christian writers such as Augustine, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena and Thomas More I have been able to apply their understanding and judgement to issues I have had to face.

All of these great Christians were people of prayer, study and service and that is what I have strived, with the grace of God, to imitate in my life. In that way I have come to discover the will of God and been able to follow his directions.


Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.

Malcolm Davies













Sunday, 7 August 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: August - Gift of Counsel (Right Judgement)

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Jane Borg (No.214)
  
'…be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2


When we have a decision to make, especially if it involves a moral response, we can feel this battle inside us – which way should I go? What action should I take? Should I give into temptation just this once?

I still think of the Disney cartoon with the little devil with the pitchfork. He sits on a character's shoulder while a little angel sits on the other, each whispering into the character's ear. It can feel like that, especially if we are not spending regular time with God so that he can teach us the right way to walk and the right decisions to make. Even if we do pray, these decisions will face us all the time.

Luckily one of the gifts God gives us through his Holy Spirit is the ability to judge whether a thought, word or action is leading towards God or away from God.

Let us pray for an increase in that gift so that we can move closer to God and bless others with every decision we make.


Jane Borg












Sunday, 31 July 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: July - Gift of Understanding 3

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani No.213)




Life's path is never straight.  There may be smooth stretches, but they don’t last. A dead end causes our plans to screech to a halt. A fork in the road forces us to make an unexpected decision. A hidden obstacle trips us up.  If we fall hard enough, the injury is not only painfully inconvenient, but sometimes it signals the end.



Or does it? Would it make any difference if we followed the voice of a trusted Global Positioning System? (GPS) This examines all the possible routes and – within its robotic limitations – directs us away from the no through roads and back onto the path.

If we switched on our inner GPS, by sitting in quiet prayer, we are likely to hear the Voice of God. However, there is one significant difference. When we listen to the Voice of God, He might alert us that we’ve typed in the wrong destination.

If we trust in the Lord with all our heart and rely not on our own understanding, and acknowledge Him as we face all these detours, He'll take us to where He planned to all along. A deeper relationship with Him, where there is never an end.

Jesus said to His disciples, 
"I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life." John 5:24 Amplified Bible


Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you.
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.


Susanne Timpani


Sunday, 24 July 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: July - Gift of Understanding 2

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Louise Crossley (No.212)


I have always endeavoured to make sense of experiences. As most people do, I understand people according to their behaviour. This is where understanding may get misinterpreted.  When we attempt to understand with our mere human minds, we decide, or more harshly, judge, at the same time.
We judge self by insisting on understanding experiences and why they happened.  

We judge others by understanding that their behaviour puts them into either the good or the bad basket. 

Sometimes we even judge God by understanding that when bad things happen to good people it isn’t fair.

Psalm 139:17

While understanding when we get-off-track in life is important so we can realign, I think there is much more to this skill.

Understanding, as a gift from God, is to comprehend that while we may have all the evidence in front of us, we do not have the qualifications to interpret life fully. This means we are not qualified to understand others.
We must acknowledge that Jesus died for all our sins so the sins of others is only His business. 

We must identify that the Holy Spirit is inside all of us and we can call on Him at any time.  
We must realise that the Trinity, if we look at it with human eyes, makes no sense at all so to try to understand it that way creates doubts.  

But, in the same way as understanding is more than meets the eye, the Trinity is too, and all we need to understand is that it is our salvation.
Therefore, understanding is simply and extraordinarily the knowing that we don’t know. 

It is to trust that only God can look into our hearts and into the hearts of others.
In essence, to realise that only God knows all and to fully trust in that, is the gift of understanding.

Read the scripture slowly.  
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness.  
Pray for God's blessing upon you.







Sunday, 3 July 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: July - Gift of Understanding 1

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Malcolm Davies (No.211)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.


When I was single, life as a Christian seemed relatively easy as I had few financial commitments, or obligations to take care of a family, and could do what I liked when I liked.

Of course I sought guidance from the Spirit, but primarily I only had to consider what was important to me.

One of the wonderful things about subsequently being married to a committed Christian was seeking the Lord together.

In seeking the Lord, we were of one mind to seek first the Kingdom of God and to make the decisions in our life that would allow us to love and serve the Lord.

In practice, that meant where we worked and lived would be where we could live out our faith. That meant not applying for jobs and therefore having less income than I could have earned because I wanted to be available to my family and the Church.

God has blessed us because we have tried, however imperfectly, to put him first in our lives.

Seek the Lord at every change in your life and trust him.


Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.












Sunday, 26 June 2016

10 Minute Daily Retreat: June - Gift of Wisdom 5

Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No.212)

5 If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.

 6 But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind;

7-8 and every decision you then make will be uncertain, as you turn first this way and then that. If you don’t ask with faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer



Do you find it difficult to make decisions? Or do you find yourself jumping into a new situation and then wonder how you got yourself there?

How many times do we find our minds being 'unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind'? v7

Do you have a mentor in your life who will calmly tell you to go away and 'pray about it'? Sometimes I find that response infuriating. I can't hear myself think, let alone sit still and listen for the voice of God.

I'm not sure how many decisions I've made where I've felt a definite nudge from God telling me yes or no. Yet the simple act of turning up for prayer makes us available to receive the perfect spiritual gift.

God 'is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him.' v 5

Reaching out to accept the gift activates its power to help us manage those waves. 'But if you 'don't ask with faith, don't expect the Lord to give you any solid answer.' v 8


Read the scripture slowly.
Reflect on its meaning for you. 
Listen for God's voice in the stillness. 
Pray for God's blessing upon you.

Susanne Timpani