Wellbeing Thought for Saturday 20th March 2021

Saturday 20 March

Reconciliation

Often forgiveness is a step towards something greater: relational reconciliation. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12.18). However, as this verse implies, relational reconciliation isn’t always possible. Sometimes the other person isn’t interested. In some cases (like when a person has been abused and the abuser shows no signs of change) it isn’t advisable. In those cases, do get help as you go on a journey of forgiveness, while also putting up clear boundaries.

Joseph’s story (Genesis chapters 37 and 39 to 46) is a powerful example of reconciliation. Having been abused and sold into slavery by his brothers. Yet, at the highpoint of the drama, he is able to forgive them, having seen his brothers’ repentance, and they reconcile. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50.19-20). This story contains several key wisdom principles:

(1) Be reconciled to the right people. Be prayerful in who you undertake reconciliation with.

(2) Be reconciled at the right time. Joseph waited for two long years to see whether his brothers’ repentance was genuine. When the offence is major, it is best to proceed with caution. At other times, when the issue is minor, it is best to seek reconciliation quickly.

(3) Be reconciled in the right context. When Joseph made himself known to his brothers, he did it in person and in private – too much is done hastily and online today.

(4) Be reconciled with the right attitude. Joseph was ready for reconciliation at this point – free from bitterness and revenge. We need to go on a journey of forgiveness if we want to see lasting reconciliation.

> Is there anyone you need to be reconciled to? Pray that God will turn harmful situations into good, just as he did for Joseph. If you are unsure how to proceed, talk to a wise and trusted friend or mentor.

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Wellbeing Thought for Friday 19th March 2021

Friday 19 March

The journey of forgiveness

Studies have shown that forgiveness improves mental health and relationships, increases self-esteem and lowers anxiety and depression.

“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” (Matthew 6.12)

Our unwillingness to forgive can have a devastating impact on our relationship with God and can lead to harmful bitterness. Because of what Jesus has done, we can receive and release forgiveness! That doesn’t mean it’s easy – sometimes the healing process can take a longer time.

Another thing to consider is how easily we are offended. At times we will disagree and hurt one another, but in healthy relationships we are prepared to work things out and move on. In fact, as we weather these storms, our relationships will grow stronger.

> Reflect on areas of unforgiveness or bitterness that you may have. Ask God first to forgive you for holding an offence. Then choose to begin the journey of forgiving the other person. Invite the Lord to heal and help you.wellbeing banner with text small.jpeg

Wellbeing Thought for Thursday 18th March 2021

Thursday 18 March

Loving others

 

Putting others first is at the heart of healthy relationships! As Christians we have Jesus as a model – the most unselfish person who ever lived, who gave his life so we can receive the extravagant love of God the Father. As we grow in knowing this deep love of God for us, we can learn to love others deeply.

How can we love others better?

(1) Be present: The most desired gift of love is focused attention. Central to this is affirming, non-judgmental listening. Learning not to interrupt or immediately give advice is a discipline worth cultivating.

(2) Be positive: Affirmation and encouragement have huge power.

(3) Be honest: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” (Proverbs 27.6). We all have blind spots and need others to help us see them!

(4) Give wise counsel: One of the greatest gifts we can give and receive from each other is Holy Spirit-inspired counsel.

> Look at these four areas and consider which you most need to grow in. Ask God to fill you with his love, power and wisdom to empower you to become a better friend.wellbeing banner with text small.jpeg

Wellbeing Thought for Wednesday 17th March 2021

Wednesday 17 March

Growing in relational health

Dr John Townsend suggests that there are three types of relationships that energise us: COACHES, COMRADES (such as family members and friends who provide mutual growth and support), CASUALS (low commitment, but enjoyable relationships). We need enough people in these three categories to give us the energy for other important types of relationships (colleagues, people who need our support, etc.).

How do we develop these important relationships?

(1) Invest time.

(2) Be vulnerable. (Jesus asked his three closest friends to be with him at his most vulnerable moment in the Garden of Gethsemane).

(3) Set appropriate boundaries. Not all relationships are good for us and even the good ones need appropriate limits. The only people who will have an issue with you establishing boundaries are those who benefitted from you not having any!

> What changes might you want to make in the light of these three points?

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Wellbeing Thought for Tuesday 16th March 2021

Tuesday 16 March

Levels of Connection

 Not all relationships are or should be on the same level. We have four spaces for relationships: an intimate space for close friends and family, a personal space for conversations with friends, a social space for acquaintances, and a public space. These circles of connection can be seen in the life of Jesus: Jesus had THREE close friends (Peter, John, James), TWELVE disciples, 72 leaders whom he involved in his ministry, THE CROWDS, who he ministered to.

The great news is that Jesus set up a community that we can all be part of: the church. Not everyone has a healthy family or close circle of friends, but we can all become part of Jesus’ family! Pastor Rick Warren says, “Being included in God’s family is the highest honour and the greatest privilege you will ever receive. While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. In God’s family you are connected to every other believer, and we will belong to each other for eternity.”

> Thank God for the key people in your life.
> Consider joining a church if you are not part of one. Consider joining a small group in your church, if you aren’t part of one yet.

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Wellbeing Thought for Monday 15th March 2021

Monday 15 March
Not good to be alone

 Loneliness is one of the greatest problems we are facing today. It is bad for our health. In the biblical creation account God says, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2.18). And so he created ‘another’ – a woman and wife for him. While this passage celebrates the special place of marriage, it has a wider application: we are not designed to be alone.

However, in many relationships we can experience
(a) no connection: through circumstances or choice we fail to connect, to be invested in other people
(b) bad connection: a pull towards a person who is making you feel bad or ‘not good enough’

(c) pseudo-good connection: it can make us feel good for a time without meeting our deepest needs.

The goal for relationships is (d) true connection: you can be your whole self and both parties are invested and ‘safe’ for the other.

> Think about the four types of relationships above. Which describes most accurately where you are right now? Ask God tohelpyou develop healthy, live-giving relationships.

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Wellbeing Thought for Sunday 14th March 2021

Sunday 14 March
Relationships matter!

There is healing power in relationships. We are hardwired to need one another. It’s often through our relationships with others that we survive life’s lowest moments.

The Bible says that God himself is a relational being. There is one God who exists in three ‘persons’ – the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. At the heart of this divine community is eternal love and concern for each other. And we are made in his image!

At the heart of biblical wellbeing (or shalom / peace) is relational harmony with God and with others.

> Consider your relational ‘dial’. Who do you love being with? How could you deepen the relationships that are most life-giving?

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210314 Mothering Sunday Service

It’s Mothering Sunday! This service is brimming with encouragement, with your contributions, and with helpful insights into relational wellbeing. Join us for Church Coffee on Zoom afterwards.  [Find all the links below the video]

 

Church Coffee on Zoom:
Meeting ID: 836 9097 1697
Passcode: Coffee

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES:
A special Mothering Sunday Craft…

BONUS CLIP on relational wellbeing…

Amy Crouch: My Tech-Wise Life…

A special prayer for Mothering Sunday…

Wellbeing Thought for Saturday 13th March 2021

Saturday, 13 March

God’s school of financial wellbeing

 

If God had a school with different levels of learning about principles of financial wellbeing, the foundation class would be called ‘Perspectives’ and contain two lessons:

  • Stewardship: God is the owner and we are the stewards of everything he has given us. We can seek his guidance in managing our resources his way.
  • God’s plan: God has a plan for our financial wellbeing, focused on Matthew 6.33 – seek first his kingdom and everything else will also find its place. This helps us to avoid a poverty mindset or a materialistic mindset.

Next would be the class ‘Practices’, with three lessons:

  • Spend carefully. Learn contentment and rein in spending, live within your means.
  • Save wisely: without fear-based hoarding, set aside money for emergencies and long-term goals
  • Give generously: This is the ultimate goal and a key to our wellbeing.

There is, however, an advanced class: ‘Surrender all to God’. It is the most liberating, trusting that ultimately God will take care of us.

Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29–30).

> Where are you on your financial wellbeing journey? Which perspectives or practices do you need to attend to? What is the one thing you will focus on over the next months?
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Wellbeing Thought for Friday 12th March 2021

Friday 12 March
Pray

Praying for provision is embedded in the Lord’s Prayer: We pray “hallowed by your name” and one of the names of God in the Bible is Yahweh Jireh (Genesis 22.12), which means ‘the Lord provides’. Then, after re-aligning our lives with the prayer “Your kingdom come, your will be done”, we can confidently pray, “Give us today our daily bread”.

  1. Be in the will of God: it means a lifestyle that is in line with God’s Word and the leading of His Spirit. Put in place the principles explored this week. A key part of God’s provision comes by us working diligently and honourably.
  2. Believe it is God’s will to provide for you. Let go of a poverty mindset.
  3. Be specific. Ask specifically for God’s provision.
  4. Be persistent. If you believe your request is in the will of God, don’t give up praying.

> Take a few moments to pray for specific needs – whether it is for yourself or for others.wellbeing banner with text small.jpeg