By Sue Hoare, St Mary’s Burnham
Ever found yourself doing something crazy cos you were scared of what other people might think? I was once in Blackpool and found myself in the queue at the Leisure Beach for The Big One. Yup – that huge roller coaster that has been used to advertise laxatives! It was a real learning place; I’ve learnt to speak up if I think something isn’t right for me!!
The history of the Kings of Israel is a bit like a roller coaster ride. There are eras of great rule; and periods of outright evil. Then, in Acts, Paul experiences the heights of great mission to new believers and the depths of constant challenge to his very existence.
The list of kings whose reigns were good or evil seem endless but it is worth noting the extremes. The faithful king, Josiah, needed to realise that everyone had to turn back to God. The words of the prophetess would probably make most of us want to give up and give in. God was so angry, and the consequences for the faithless nation so certain. The conflicting influences on Josiah must have been incredible. However he managed to hold on to his principles, despite his many dodgy ancestors and their followers. He even gained God’s favour in the process.
In the New Testament Paul is under house arrest. His appeal to the Roman authorities seems to have given him some freedom, and he chose to continue speaking and teaching. Why didn’t he pull the duvet over his head and bide his time until the Romans sorted things out? Paul’s dramatic conversion experience influenced this determination to declare the Kingdom of God and teach about Jesus.
People who can hold onto moral principles in the face of insurmountable pressure are amazing. When we believe and commit to building a living relationship with God He opens up endless possibilities because He sacrificed so much. Choosing to join the ride and try to be like Jesus doesn’t take away the challenges and negative influences in the world. But look at the lists of virtuous kings, courageous prophets and faithful disciples who have gone before, and achieved great things in God’s name, even when they were living on the edge.
When we engage with His deep knowledge of humanity, God influences our need to please others, by showing us which queue to choose.
Today’s picture was taken by…
Sarah Macfaden. Thanks Sarah!
If you’d like to take your own picture to potentially be featured on the blog, then get your Soul Survivor Bible in One Year, and take a picture of yourself – and your Bible – at some interesting or colourful location. Then email it to us at email@example.com.
The pictures will need to be a pretty good resolution (we use 640px by 360 px so at least as big as that), landscape photos work best and if you include the day of the reading in the picture then make sure you send it to us a good few days before that reading, so we have time to include it in that day’s post! We’ll credit all photographers!