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

May 26 Day 146

His Name Has Power


Aged thirty-three, Barbara Clapham came to live in London. She decided she was going to look for a church. One Sunday morning, she arrived at HTB. The young woman who was welcoming people at the door smiled at her and asked her name. Because of that smile, Barbara came back the following week. When she walked in the next Sunday the same person said, ‘Hello Barbara.’

Because the person on the door remembered her name, she decided that she was going to come back every Sunday. That was in 1947. From then on Barbara came almost every Sunday until she died, soon after celebrating her 100th birthday. She made a huge impact on the life of HTB (including running the finances of the church for many years). I wonder whether the young woman on the door had any idea of the difference she made by remembering Barbara’s name.

There is great power in a name. Names are significant. This is true today, but it was even more so in the Hebrew culture we read about in the Bible. A Hebrew name is no mere label. The name of the Lord reveals who he is.


May 25 Day 145

How to Face Giant Problems


Goliath was a giant. He was 9 feet tall, a champion, wearing heavy armour, standing and shouting, defying the people of God (1 Samuel 17:1–11). As well as physical giants, there are metaphorical ones. A ‘giant’ is a big, seemingly insurmountable problem or issue. Right now our world is facing the giant challenge of the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19).

  1. ‘Personal giants’ could include giant personal challenges in relation to your health, marriage, family, relationships or lack of relationships, job or lack of job, or some sin, temptation, addiction, fear, loneliness, discouragement or debt.

  2. ‘National giants’ in the UK include terrorism, gang violence, homelessness, the breakdown of marriage, family life and community. There is therefore the giant task of evangelising the country, revitalising the church and transforming our society.

  3. ‘Global giants' include climate change, extreme poverty (as a result of which thousands of children die each day), preventable disease (millions dying of diseases for which we have a relatively easy cure), the need for universal primary education (almost one billion people unable to read) and the need for worldwide water sanitation (which could be funded by the amount of money that Europeans spend on ice-cream every year).

There are two possible attitudes when facing a giant. One is to say, ‘It’s so big, there’s nothing I can do.’ The other is to say, ‘It’s so big, I can’t miss!’


May 24 Day 144

How to Finish Well


You can finish well. You may have had a bad start in life. You may have messed up along the way. You may have made mistakes. You may have regrets. But you can finish well and that is what matters most.

Some start well but fall. In the recession, many of the companies, that business consultant Jim Collins had profiled in his international bestseller Good to Great, fell. Even the ‘mightiest’ of companies can fall.

In his most recent book, How the Mighty Fall, he examines the path towards doom. The first stage of the process begins with ‘hubris born of success’. As with Saul in the Old Testament passage for today, it is ‘arrogance’ (1 Samuel 15:23) that begins the process by which the mighty fall. Saul started well but did not finish well.

It is more important to finish well than to start well. In the New Testament, Saul (of Tarsus) started off very badly (as a persecutor of Jesus) but he finished well (as the great apostle, Paul).

Jesus, as always, shows us the way. His life was relatively short. He died in his early thirties, yet he finished well. He completed the work the Father gave him to do (John 17:4). This is my ambition in life. I want to complete the work God has given me to do.

How can you make sure you finish well?


May 23 Day 143

The Love of Your Life


In February 1977, Bishop Festo Kivengere was part of a group of church leaders who delivered a letter of protest to the dictator, Idi Amin, speaking out against the beatings, arbitrary killings and unexplained disappearances taking place across Uganda at that time. The next day, Festo Kivengere’s friend and leader, Archbishop Janani Luwum was murdered by Idi Amin and Bishop Festo was driven into hiding and then exile.

Soon afterwards, Festo Kivengere published a book entitled I Love Idi Amin. In the book he explained the extraordinary title: ‘The Holy Spirit showed me that I was getting hard in my spirit… so I had to ask for forgiveness from the Lord, and for grace to love President Amin more… this was fresh air for my tired soul. I knew I had seen the Lord and been released: love filled my heart.’

Love is more than a feeling or an emotion. It is a decision about how we treat one another. Jesus was the supreme example of love in the history of the world. He tells us to love God, to love one another (John 13:34–35), to love our neighbour as ourselves and even to love our enemies. He demonstrates all this in his own life through loving everyone (even Judas who betrayed him as we see in today’s passage), and laying down his life for us all in love.


May 22 Day 142

Take Time to Celebrate


A glimpse of heaven’ is how one twenty-seven-year-old woman described her experience of our annual church holiday (Focus). She also described the year she missed it in order to go on an exotic holiday: each day she could only think of how she longed to be at Focus. This year, of course, we have had to postpone Focus all-together because of the coronavirus. That makes anticipation of next year’s event even greater.

This is the time when the whole community comes together in a festival of celebration, worship, thanksgiving and praise. We often experience a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is a time of spiritual growth when we listen to visionary and practical teaching from the Bible on how to live our lives. It is a time of laughter and fun as we meet together for a week-long party: playing, picnicking, singing and dancing. We make new friends as well as having a great holiday. It really is ‘a glimpse of heaven’.

It takes time but celebration is an important part of life.


May 21 Day 141

Good Government?


Government is the system or group of people governing an organised community, often a state. It usually consists of legislative, executive and judiciary. Government is the mechanism for deciding state policies and the means by which those policies are enforced. Historically, forms of government have included theocracy, autocracy (such as monarchy), oligarchy, aristocracy and democracy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government).

Sir Winston Churchill once said that ‘Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’

Governments have their ups and downs. Our politicians are human beings with human weaknesses like our own.

There is a certain ambivalence about all human government in the Bible. There are parts where human government is affirmed as God-given (for instance, in Romans 13), and others where it is pictured as being under demonic control (for instance, in Revelation 13). Together they represent the reality of human government. Governments reflect the mix that is in us all of what is good and true alongside what is sinful and flawed.

However, be assured that one day there will be a new type of government – the kingship of Jesus (John 12:12–36).  








































































 

















 





























































May 27 Day 147

The Power of Unity

In Buchenwald concentration camp, 56,000 people were put to death by a totalitarian regime that saw the Christian faith as a threat to its ideology. One block of cells in the camp was reserved for prisoners who were deemed especially dangerous or notable. Paul Schneider, a Lutheran pastor who was called ‘the preacher of Buchenwald’, was placed in this special block because even from the small window in his cell he loudly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ – in defiance of the orders of the Gestapo guards.

Otto Neururer, a Catholic priest whose work on behalf of the Jews and other so called ‘undesirables’ had made him a threat to the Nazi warlords, was also put in this block. He too ministered in Jesus’ name to his fellow inmates in the concentration camp until he was crucified upside down.

In unity, these two men, one a Catholic and the other a Protestant, bore witness together to their common Lord – Jesus Christ. Unity is so powerful.

The people and the land

Psalm 68:7-14

David reflects on the exodus, Mount Sinai and the conquest of Canaan. These were some of the high points of the history of the people of God when they were genuinely united.

This passage is all about recognising where that blessing and unity ultimately came from – God. It is a psalm of thanksgiving and praise to God for all the things he has done. It celebrates his leadership (v.7), his power and provision (vv.8–9), his generosity, his justice (v.10) and his victories (vv.11–14).

God had led the people to the promised land. Yet today, in this very same area, the challenge of unity is great. The search for peace in the Middle East remains one of the greatest challenges facing our world.

Lord, thank you for your love for everyone. I pray for peace and unity in the war-torn countries of the Middle East. Thank you that you are the source and foundation of unity.

The church and the world

John 17:6-26

In the Gospels, we frequently read about the prayer life of Jesus. But only on rare occasions are we informed at any length of what he prayed for. In this great prayer of Jesus, before he goes out to face the cross, we see his priorities.

Jesus prays not only for his disciples, but also for those who will believe in the future – that is to say, he prays for the entire church – which includes you and me (v.20).

This prayer is dominated by the theme of unity. Jesus prays not only for unity among his disciples (v.11), but also for the church (v.20). He prays for a unity like that which unites the Trinity: ‘that they may be one, as we are one’ (v.11, AMP).

1.     The motive for unity is the great commission of Jesus

Jesus prayed for complete unity so that the world may believe (v.23) and know unity with God (vv.21,24). One of the greatest barriers to belief is disunity in the church. In politics, the moment a political party becomes disunited, it loses popularity. It happens in the secular world and even more so in the church. Jesus says that he protected his disciples and kept them safe ‘so that they may be one’ (v.12). Now he prays, ‘protect them from the evil one’ (v.15) who will seek to divide them.

When churches fight each other, people lose interest. Conversely, when churches do unite it is so attractive. It is the source of joy. The followers of Jesus are not supposed to be miserable. Jesus prays ‘that they may have the full measure of my joy within them’ (v.13). Joy comes from unity. Disunity is a joy-stealer. Unity is powerful.

2.     The means of unity is the Holy Spirit of Jesus

Jesus prays for your holiness. Jesus prays, ‘Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth’ (v.17). Holiness comes from the truth. The truth is found in God’s word. That is why it is so important to soak yourself in God’s word.

Holiness comes as you welcome the Holy One, the Spirit of Truth, who comes to dwell within you.

Jesus prays, ‘that I myself may be in them’ (v.26). This is the most extraordinary truth of the New Testament – that Jesus comes to live in you by the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit lives in all Christians of whatever church or denomination. The Holy Spirit unites us.

3.     The mark of unity is the love of Jesus

Jesus prays, ‘that the love you have for me may be in them’ (v.26). What higher love can you have than the love that God the Father has for Jesus his Son? Jesus’ prayer for you is that you should have the same love that God the Father has for Jesus in your heart for other Christians, for other parts of the body of Christ.

4.     The measure of unity is the visibility of Jesus

Sometimes people speak about ‘invisible unity’. But Jesus didn’t pray for invisible unity. Nor did he pray that we might be ‘almost united’. He prayed that they may ‘be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me’ (v.23). He wants the church to be completely and visibly united.

One day it will be (see Ephesians 1:9–11). In the meantime, as we build bridges, work together and come together with other Christians from different parts of the church, as hearts and minds are bonded together in communion with Jesus, we can see, as in Buchenwald, visible signs of our invisible unity.

Lord, thank you for the way the Holy Spirit is drawing us together. May we see increasing signs of visible unity so that the world will believe.

The friends and rivals

1 Samuel 19:1-20:42

In politics, business or even in church life, two people who are great friends can at the same time end up competing for the same job. How should we handle the tension between our ambitions and our friendships?

The friendship between David and Jonathan was remarkable. They were rivals for the throne. They had every reason to be envious of each other and to hate each other. Yet Jonathan loved David ‘as he loved himself’ (20:17). This type of love, which Jesus commanded, is the highest love one person can have for another (Matthew 22:39).

On the other hand, Saul was filled with jealousy. Jealousy starts with comparing ourselves to others – comparing our achievements with those around us. Jealousy has the power to deprive someone temporarily of their senses. When Jonathan points out to his father, Saul, that David has not wronged him and has benefitted him greatly and it would be quite wrong to kill an innocent man, Saul says, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death’ (1 Samuel 19:6).

Logic and reasonable argument may convince a person who is filled with jealousy at the time. However, jealousy is so powerful that once it gets a grip of a person, as it did with Saul, there is no stopping it. As Shakespeare put it in Othello, ‘It is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.’

David and Jonathan loved each other. Jonathan ‘was very fond of David’ (v.1) and he ‘spoke well of David’ (v.4). Jonathan even said to David, ‘Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you’ (20:4). What a great commitment to make to a friend! Their commitment to each other took the form of a ‘covenant’ (v.16), which included even their descendants (v.42). And Jonathan ‘made David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself’ (vv.16–17).

As a result of his jealousy ‘Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan’ (v.30). Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David (v.33) and he ‘got up from the table in fierce anger’ (v.34).

The difference between Saul’s anger and Jonathan’s anger was that Saul’s was unfounded and produced by jealousy. Jonathan’s anger was righteous anger; ‘He was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David’ (v.34). Anger is not always wrong – but examine your motives carefully.

David and Jonathan were not ashamed of showing their affection for each other: ‘… they kissed each other and wept together’ (v.41). Crying can be seen by some as showing weakness, but they had no shame. In crying openly and showing their love for each other. This is a powerful model of friendship, love and unity. Marriage is one of God’s answers to loneliness. Close friendship is another.

It was this love and friendship that enabled Jonathan to be totally loyal, supportive and protective in spite of the fact that he was a rival candidate to the throne.

Lord, help us to be willing and able to love our friends and neighbours as ourselves. May people find the answer to loneliness in the love, affection and unity of church community.

Pippa Adds

1 Samuel 19:1–2

‘Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David and warned him…’ (1 Samuel 19:1).

David was having a tough time as many of us have experienced over the last few months. He had been faithfully serving God and Saul his king. Yet whatever he did he couldn’t please his boss (Saul). The only thing David could do was to keep on doing what was right. He didn’t seek revenge or justice. Eventually, God did vindicate him and he will vindicate us.

Verse of the Day

‘Your word is truth.’ (John 17:17)


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