NickyGumbel ... Is there really more to life than this?
Living a different way of life, one with meaning and a certain hope for the future 
 Start your day with a few thoughts that will encourage, and bless you in this troubled world we live in.
 Compiled by Nicky Gumbel - One of the originators of the Alpha Course at ( HTB ) Holy Trinity, Brompton, London


    Pippa & Nicky Gumbel

 


Nicky and Pippa first introduced the Bible in One Year commentary in 2011 as a daily email for HTB congregation members. It has since grown into an app with a worldwide following.

Nicky Gumbel is Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), an Anglican church in central London. He is the pioneer of Alpha, an 11-session introduction to the Christian faith now running all over the world.

Nicky has written a number of bestselling books, including Questions of Life, The Jesus Lifestyle, Searching Issues and Why Jesus?

Nicky is married to Pippa. They live in central London and have three grown-up children.

@nickygumbel

@pippagumbel

For your past 6 Daily Readings

Click the Titles Below

November 25 Day 329

Know When to Kneel


Father Raniero Cantalamessa is a Capuchin monk. In 1977, he was sent by the Vatican to be an observer at a conference in Kansas City, USA where there were 20,000 Catholics and 20,000 other Christians. On the last day of the conference, after someone had spoken about the tragedy of all the divisions in the body of Christ (the church), 40,000 people knelt in repentance. As Father Raniero looked out, he saw the words ‘JESUS IS LORD’ on a big neon sign over the conference venue. He describes how, at that moment, he caught a glimpse of what Christian unity is all about – 40,000 people kneeling in repentance under the Lordship of Jesus.

He asked ‘a lay Protestant’ to pray for him to experience more of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit filled him. He experienced God’s love for him in a new way. He found himself speaking ‘in a manner like speaking in tongues’. The Bible came alive in a new way. He received a new ministry. In 1980, he was invited by Pope John Paul II to be the preacher to the Papal Household. This is what he has been ever since. He was recently made a Cardinal. Three themes dominate his remarkable ministry: unity, love and the Holy Spirit. They are distinct, but closely linked.


November 24 Day 328

Your Example


Pope Francis paused for a moment after one of his general audiences to pray, embrace and lay hands on a man with neurofibromatosis, a severely disfiguring disease. The man’s face was covered in tumours. The image of the Pope’s embrace in St Peter’s Square went viral on social media, inspiring millions by his poignant example of the love of Christ.


There is great power in example. It is hard to improve if we have no other model than ourselves to follow. A good example is not only inspirational, it also gives us a pattern to copy and learn from.

Not only do you benefit most from following the example of others, but your example is vital if you are to have any influence on other people. Albert Schweitzer, the French theologian, philosopher and physician said, ‘Example is not the main thing in influencing others – it is the only thing.’ More depends on your walk than on your talk, what you practice than what you preach, what you do than what you say.

What people see is far more important than what they hear. People do what people see. As John Maxwell writes, ‘Eighty-nine per cent of what people learn comes through visual stimulation; ten per cent through audible stimulation and one per cent through other senses... What they hear they understand. What they see they believe!’

As we read yesterday, you are called to follow Jesus’ example in your life (1 Peter 2:21). Today we see some of the implications of this.


November 23 Day 327

Where is God?


Elie Wiesel was born into a Jewish family in Romania. He was only a teenager when he and his family were rounded up by the Nazis and taken first to Auschwitz, and then to Buchenwald. In his book, Night, he gives a terrifying and intimate account of the increasing horrors he endured – the death of his parents and eight-year-old sister, and the loss of his innocence by barbaric hands.

In the foreword to the book, François Mauriac writes of his encounter with Elie Wiesel: ‘On that most horrible day, even among all those other bad days, when the child witnessed the hanging (yes!) of another child who, he tells us, had the face of a sad angel, he heard someone behind him groan: “For God’s sake, where is God?” And from within me, I heard a voice answer: “Where He is? This is where – hanging here from this gallows.”’

François Mauriac goes on, ‘And I, who believe that God is love, what answer was there to give my young interlocutor... What did I say to him? Did I speak to him of that other Jew, this crucified brother who perhaps resembled him and whose cross conquered the world?

‘Did I explain to him that what had been a stumbling block for his faith had become a cornerstone for mine? And that the connection between the cross and human suffering remains, in my view, the key to the unfathomable mystery in which the faith of his childhood was lost... That is what I should have said to the Jewish child. But all I could do was embrace him and weep.’

His words point to the most profound answer to the question, ‘Where is God?’ God is in Christ. He was on the cross bearing our sins in his body. Now the crucified is among his people. Not only has he suffered for you, but he now suffers with you.

In the Old Testament, the tabernacle (and later the temple) was the place where people went to meet with God. This was God’s home as we see in our Old Testament passage for today (Ezekiel 43:5).

The message of our New Testament passage though is that the glory and presence of God is to be found supremely in Jesus. It is at the very moment that Jesus is rejected and crucified that God’s presence among people is finally and fully realised. From that point on there is no need for a physical temple. The only church building the New Testament speaks about is a building made of people (Ephesians 2:20–22), founded and built upon Jesus, the chief cornerstone. The holy temple in the New Testament is one made of ‘living stones’ (1 Peter 2:5) – in other words, people like you and me. This is God’s new home.


November 22 Day 326

How to Grow Up Spiritually


I remember that first night so well. Every time we heard the slightest sound, we leapt out of bed and picked him up. He was so tiny – not that much bigger than a hand. This was a new life. Our first child had been born. We were so proud. Three or four times a night, he would wake craving milk. Pippa would feed him regularly. Of course, he grew up. Now as I look at him, almost twice the size of Pippa, it is hard to believe that he was once so small.

New birth is an exciting moment. So is new spiritual birth. Jesus said, ‘No one can see the kingdom of God without being born again’ (John 3:3). In our passage for today, Peter writes about ‘a new birth’ (1 Peter 1:3). ‘Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for’ (v.3, MSG).

This spiritual birth is contrasted with natural birth, which led only to a ‘dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in’ (v.18, MSG).

New birth means you can now call God your Father (v.17). In fact, the whole Trinity is involved: ‘God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus’ (v.2, MSG).

Physical birth will one day end with physical death. But spiritual birth leads to eternal life – ‘a future in heaven – and the future starts now!’ (v.3, MSG). Physical life is like grass that withers. But this brand new life is conceived by God himself and goes on and on for ever (vv.23–25, MSG).

In today’s passages, we see the implications of this new birth, the various stages of spiritual growth as a son or daughter of God and how ‘you may grow up in your salvation’ (2:2).


November 21 Day 325

How to Pray with Power


I received a call from someone in our church. He wanted me to go and pray for his wife who had suddenly been admitted to hospital for an operation.

As it happened, I myself had an appointment nearby to have an injection in my shoulder. I’d had a ‘frozen shoulder’ for almost two years. However, in the previous couple of days, it had suddenly got better. I explained what had happened to the consultant. He looked at me and said, ‘It’s a miracle!’ I said, ‘Don’t frozen shoulders suddenly get better?’ Over and over again, he repeated, ‘No, it is a miracle.’ Here was a secular doctor trying to persuade a rather faithless pastor that what had happened could only be explained by the supernatural power of God!

I thanked him very much for raising my faith, as I was about to go and pray in the hospital. As I walked through the corridors, I passed a hospital porter who was singing (quite loudly!), ‘Lay your hands on the sick and they will be healed.’ I said, ‘That is exactly what I am about to go and do.’ He looked deeply shocked and surprised. He obviously didn’t think I looked like the sort of person who could possibly believe that!

I went upstairs to pray for the woman and explained why my faith was riding high. She then said she had been reading James 5 (our passage for today), which says, ‘Is any one of you sick? Call the elders of the church to pray over you… And the prayer offered in faith will make you well’ (James 5:14–15). By now the Lord had given (even me!) enough signs to pray in faith. The Holy Spirit came upon her with great power. She was not immediately healed (although she is better now), but it gave me a greater understanding of ‘the prayer of faith’.

Watchman Nee wrote, ‘Our prayers lay the track down which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.’

How then can you pray with power?


November 20 Day 324

You Can Resist Evil


With the rise of global terrorism, world leaders have spoken a great deal about vanquishing evil. But, as one writer in the Guardian pointed out, ‘Their rhetoric reveals a failure to accept that cruelty and conflict are basic human traits.’ As Albert Einstein said, ‘I do not fear the explosive power of the atom bomb. What I fear is the explosive power of evil in the human heart.'

Why is there so much evil in the world? Why is there such a battle with evil in our own lives? How can you resist the devil? What will happen to the devil at the end of time?































































































































 







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November 26 Day 330

God's Great Grace

Seeing a crowd of condemned criminals being led up to execution, John Bradford (c.1510–1555), the English reformer, is said to have remarked: ‘There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.’

In 1807, John Newton, best known as composer of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’, encapsulated the amazing grace of God in some of his last words as he lay dying. He declared: ‘I am a great sinner but Christ is a great Saviour.’

In today’s New Testament passage, Peter speaks of ‘the God of all grace’ (1 Peter 5:10). How should you respond to God’s great grace?

Thank and praise the God of all grace

Psalm 134:1–3

Grace is a gift, and the appropriate response to a gift is thanksgiving. Praise is the supreme form of thanksgiving, and therefore praise and worship is the appropriate response to the God of all grace.

The psalmist writes, ‘Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord’ (vv.1–2).

Lord, thank you so much that you are the God of all grace. Thank you that you, ‘the Maker of heaven and earth, bless’ me (v.3).

Humble yourselves before the God of all grace

1 Peter 5:1–14

Leaders are called to be ‘examples to the flock’ (v.3). Humility should be the mark of the Christian leader. Don’t boss others around, telling them what to do: ‘not lording it over those entrusted to you’ (v.3); ‘Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way’ (v.3, MSG).

Leaders in the church are called to be shepherds. Pope Francis says that pastors should smell of the sheep. Shepherds love their sheep, look after them and stay close to them. A leader watches over the pastoral work of others, encouraging them to use their gifts.

Peter says this is not something that should be regarded as a duty, but something that we really want to do (v.2). It should not be done out of a desire for personal gain – ‘not greedy for money’ (v.2) – but out of a desire to serve others – being ‘eager to serve’ (v.2).

Peter then says that ‘you who are younger must follow your leaders’ (v.5, MSG). Leaders should lead with grace and followers should follow with grace.

He closes his letter with three instructions for ‘all of you’ (v.5). They are a response to the ‘God of all grace’ (v.10). Grace permeates the New Testament and it permeates this passage: ‘This is the true grace’ (v.12).

Humble yourselves

Peter writes, ‘Clothe yourselves with humility towards one another’ (v.5). Whereas ‘God opposes the proud’, he ‘gives grace to the humble’ (v.5b). Humility is a choice. It is something you are required to do to yourself: ‘Humble yourselves’ (v.6). Humility is an act of the will.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. There is a strong link between humility and grace. Because grace is free, the only appropriate response to grace is humility.

Live carefree before God

Peter writes, ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’ (v.7). He ends with the words, ‘Peace to all of you who are in Christ’ (v.14). God loves you. He is a God of all grace. You can cast all your cares on him. There is nothing too big or too small to hand over to him. Thomas à Kempis wrote, ‘They travel lightly whom God’s grace carries.’

Staying peaceful is evidence that you have humbled yourself before God, and that you trust him to do what needs to be done.

Stay alert

‘Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up’ (v.8, MSG). Peter reminds his readers that they are ‘not the only ones’ suffering and that it ‘won’t last forever’, saying, God ‘gets the last word’ (vv.9–11, MSG).

The qualities commended in this passage are very different from the values of our culture. The cult of youth and beauty is replaced with an emphasis on valuing and submitting to the elderly and wise. Self-aggrandisement is replaced by humility. You are promised God’s help in dealing with the struggles of stress and worry. Instead of pursuing instant gratification, you are called on to be ‘self-controlled and alert’. These are not easy things to do – but if you do them, you will stand firm and resist the devil.

Lord, help me to be submissive, humble, self-controlled and alert. Help me to spot the work of the devil and resist him.

Today I want to cast all my anxiety on you... Thank you that you are the God of all grace.

Put your trust in the God of all grace

Daniel 1:1–2:23

Do you work in a secular environment where those around you have very different standards to your own?

The book of Daniel charts the lives and careers of Daniel and three other young men, who were able to flourish in the Babylonian Civil Service. Their example gives you a great model for how to work in a godly way, in a context where God is not acknowledged or followed. This mirrors the situation in most ‘secular’ workplaces. These chapters are therefore a goldmine of practical examples and help.

We see the four friends co-operating with their employers, but without compromise. They refuse to conform, but they throw themselves wholeheartedly into their new situation and career. They undergo three years of leadership training and preparation. They allow their names to be changed to reflect that they are now part of the Babylonian administration, and subsequently they all seem to pursue successful careers.

At the same time, they resolved not to compromise their beliefs or defile themselves. You can defile yourself today by the kind of films and TV you watch, the internet sites you visit, or the things you listen to. ‘Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine’ (1:8). (This was perhaps because the royal food had been a sacrificial offering to the Babylonian gods.) They never allowed their commitment to their new careers to trump their higher allegiance to God.

However, Daniel was wise enough not just to disobey – he tried to work with those in authority over him. He asked for permission and then God, in his grace, caused the official to show favour and sympathy to Daniel (v.9).

‘God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds’ (v.17). Although these young men had outstanding natural ability – they were ‘handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning… well informed, quick to understand and qualified to serve’ (v.4) – Daniel’s real power came from God’s supernatural wisdom.

Like Daniel you are called to live a life of purity and be totally at peace. Follow Daniel’s example and be comfortable in your own skin and walk in a close relationship with God.

On the other hand, Nebuchadnezzar had enormous power and wealth. He was popular, respected and feared. There was no real threat to his security and yet he was very insecure and fearful. Be aware that beneath the façade of self-sufficiency can hide a deep-rooted insecurity.

He was so haunted by his dreams that he couldn’t sleep. In this crisis, he knew in his heart that the magicians did not have the power they claimed but were just playing games. They virtually admitted they had no supernatural wisdom (2:9–11).


Daniel recognised that God alone is the source of all power and wisdom (v.20). In a wonderful way, God, in his grace, will not only reveal things to you, but also give you the wisdom and power to understand and deal with your situation. You can learn from Daniel’s example:

Have faith in God

He believed that God would speak to him (v.16). God will speak to you as well.

Know the power of prayer

He requested a little time and then he asked his friends to ‘pray to the God of heaven for mercy in solving this mystery’ (v.18, MSG).

Combine prayer with action

He went to see Nebuchadnezzar and ‘spoke to him with wisdom and tact’ (v.14).

Learn to recognise God’s voice

When God spoke to him in a vision, he was so completely certain he was able to thank and praise him in advance of sharing it with the king: ‘Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his… I thank and praise you, O God’ (vv.20,23).

God of all grace, praise you that you are the Maker of heaven and earth who blesses me. Help me to live a life of purity in a close relationship with you. Please give me wisdom. Help me to hear your voice and speak it with confidence.

Pippa Adds

Daniel 1:12–15

‘Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food... At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.’

There is definitely something in eating healthily. Bear Grylls stresses healthy eating and look at him! (Just off to buy some vegetables!)

Verse of the Day

‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7).


Whilst Painting

in Provence is my Passion

I would rather you read these thoughts and promises

of God and apply them deeply into your heart, and to allow

Jesus to speak to you in a very real and powerful way.


In these very troublesome times we are ALL living in,

painting and paintings become very much secondary.

God does have a plan for us, but he does want

us to give our lives,thoughts, and ways to HIM....

he wants to guide us and BLESS US.

The Psalm below is a Promise but we must take it and

claim it as a gift.


Psalm 91 (The Passion Translation Bible )TPT


Safe  and Secure

91

1

When you sit enthroned under the shadow of Shaddai,

you are hidden in the strength of God Most High.

2

He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me,

the only God for me, and my great confidence.

3

He will rescue you from every hidden trap of the enemy,

and he will protect you from false accusation

and any deadly curse.

4

His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you.

You can run under his covering of majesty and hide.

His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm.

5

You will never worry about an attack of demonic forces at night

nor have to fear a spirit of darkness coming against you.

6

Don’t fear a thing !

Whether by night or by day, demonic danger will not trouble you

nor will the powers of evil launched against you.

7

Even in a time of disaster, with thousands and thousands being killed,

you will remain unscathed and unharmed.

8

you will be a spectator as the wicked perish in judgment,

for they will be paid back for what they have done !

9-10

When we live our lives  within the shadow of God Most High,

our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm.

How then could evil prevail against us or disease infect us?

11

God sends angels with special orders to protect you wherever

you go, defending you from all harm.

12

If you walk into a trap, they’ll be there for you

and keep you from stumbling.

13

You’ll even walk unharmed among the fiercest powers of

darkness, trampling every one of them beneath your feet !

14

For here is what the Lord has spoken to me:

“Because you have delighted in me as my great lover,

I will greatly protect you.

I will set you in a high place, safe and secure before my face.

15

I will answer your cry for help everytime you pray,

and you will find and feel my presence

even in your time of pressure and trouble.

I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast.

16

You will be satisfied with a full life and with all that I do for you.

For you will enjoy the fullness of my salvation !”



Any questions contact me at

dbwelsh@aol.com