First Hand Experience (April 2017)

It is always so much more compelling to experience something first-hand.  Witnessing that goal scored when standing a matter of yards away is much more memorable than seeing it screened on the TV.  Talking face-to-face with a person has more impact than hearing second-hand about a someone’s opinions.  When we see somebody in the flesh and talk with them, we can pick up the facial expressions or the tone of voice in ways it is not possible if talking over the phone, or if being passed a message through a third party.   We all know also how important when we are talking with somebody, to have their full attention.  There is nothing more off-putting than somebody glancing out of the window, or looking at their mobile phone when we’re trying to hold a conversation with them. We want the person to be fully listening to us, to pay us their full attention, to place us in the centre of their focus for that period.

I wonder if we treat God a bit like that?  I wonder if we rely on second-hand spiritual experiences to sustain us in our Christian walk?  We listen to preachers who tell us what to think.  We ask others to pray for us, or for our nearest and dearest.  That is like getting a third party to do our spiritual work.  Maybe we read books about other people’s encounters and adventures to inspire us. 

But God is wanting to meet us one-to-one. 

He wants time with us face-to-face,

without a middleman. 

How much time do you allow yourself to have a face-to-face encounter with God, nobody else saying what should be said or done, just you and God? That is a truly important part of our spiritual lives, essential for all of us.  And it can completely transform lives!

I find it easiest to draw close to God when I have been looking at His Word, the Bible. 

That helps orientate me to how He thinks, it helps me see the world through His eyes. And very often the words of the Bible speak directly to me of my situation.  I find that having a daily habit of prayer and bible reading is essential for my Christian walk.  I have known people whose faith has slipped.  It has usually started with them praying less often, they do not read the Bible properly.  Then, they start attending church less often, and then they slip further, and before you know it they have not been near church for months.  A daily habit of prayer and Bible reading is like an insurance against that happening to us.

It can be hard work setting such a discipline in our busy lives, but it is essential for all of us.  Some people find Bible reading notes can help them in maintaining that discipline.  On p…. there are details about the notes we can order for you, through the Parish Office*.  If you have never used them before, please prayerfully consider whether now is the time for you to start.  But whatever methods we use, it is even more essential that each one of us ensures we have quality one-to-one time with God, no middlemen, just personal first-hand experience.

Tina Upton

* Parish Office: 01244 376085


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