The time is now!
Good evening! I hope you are all well! We are fast approaching this year’s National CPA conference which begins tomorrow in Essex; I am looking forward to a blessed time meeting up with CPA members from across the UK. We are blessed to have four branch members attending this year’s conference and we will of course make sure you all receive an update of what is discussed and shared at conference- I would ask that you remember those of us who are attending in prayer for our journeys, the decisions that are made in business meetings and for our Branch Deputy Andy Robinson who will be one of the worship leads this year. On Thursday May the 5th it is the national day of prayer for the police service and all of you are invited to join us at 1pm in the canteen at HQ for a time of prayer for the service as a whole, our family of forces and our chief officers- I will be contacting the Force command team next week to let them know they are in our prayers and that we will be in the canteen next Thursday so feel free to come along! I hope you enjoy this month’s reflection and the bank holiday weekend where ever you are spending it!
The time is now!
‘Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” ‘Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison and go to visit you?”
‘The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Matthew 25: 34-40
‘Help Me Please’….. These words are ones that none of us should ever ignore! Very often however those words are replaced by something like ‘I am Ok’ or ‘I am good’!
Being able to identify when someone is crying out for help isn’t easy I know- But when we do identify it what should our response be?? Well speaking as someone who really needed help some years ago I can tell you that hearing ‘Well have a good day; see you soon’ is not what you want to hear! What I really wanted to hear was ‘Let’s pray and then talk about what I can do to help you’.
Sometimes the signs that things aren’t right stare us in the face- whether it be tears or obvious signs of upset- Other times it can simply be a feeling that ‘something isn’t quite right’– something you just can’t put your finger on. I have experienced both in recent months- on one occasion someone physically collapsed in front of me as I spoke to them and broke down in tears as I listened to what they were going through. On a separate and more recent occasion I was speaking to a friend and just got a feeling that something wasn’t quite right with them- I made sure I got to speak to them alone; when I did it became very clear that there were a number of issues that were causing them significant troubles- On both those occasions my response could have been to listen and do nothing……
Well as you would expect I didn’t simply stand by and do nothing I did what I could in each set of circumstances to try and help the people involved! Having identified an immediate need in each situation I did what I could to try my best to help them- my intervention may have only relatively small in the worlds eyes but as described above in Matthew 25 when we help those around us it reflects the love and message of the Gospel to the people involved and to those looking in from outside!
In Galatians 6:9-10 we read:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
In simple terms what the verses are telling us is that we all must show Love and care for those around us – we know that in Matthew 22 we read:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’
Love remains at the centre of the entire Christian message and loving your neighbour does actually include your neighbour- i.e. those who are near to you daily! We show love care and concern by-
- Sticking with someone through tough times.
The song goes ‘When the going gets tough; the tough get going!’ When someone we know is going through really tough times they will look around for people to lean on- this is the time when we need to stand up and be counted- turning tail and running away when it gets a bit tough doesn’t show Love- Love is about showing sticking power especially in tough times!
‘Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.’
- Reaching beyond our comfort zones.
Reaching beyond our comfort zones means self-sacrifice; it means sometimes taking a massive step of faith and offering to help with something you wouldn’t normally! It can sometimes mean asking someone if they would like you to pray for them- which can be for some a real challenge- but we are called to step into situations as Christ would and that can be uncomfortable! Sometimes we have to be aware that all the person needs is to hear is that we have heard what they have said and have it acted upon it immediately. I have had that exact situation where a colleague stopped me at work and told me all about a situation in their life. It was clear that they had sought me out and when I said ‘Let’s pray about this now’ it was exactly what they wanted to hear! (And it did turn out alright in the end!) We also have be alive to the possibility that the help needs to be practical- whether it be offering help or on occasion financial support- the same thing you do today could be the one thing they really need! Remember that we read in Luke 9:23:
“If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
- Offering encouraging words.
Words of encouragement and love need to be spoken – because they can have a great impact. We can make such a change in a situation by saying just the right thing as just the right time- For those of you who have or have had children think about when your child looked or felt uncertain and the effect that a small amount of encouragement had on them! I am often seen in the company of a ‘Personal Trainer’ helping me with my fitness- Although he does shout at me he never shouts ‘You are too slow’ or ‘You are looking weak today’ (even if that is what he is thinking) he shouts encouraging words to spur me on to try harder or do better!
From the Message Bible- “The right word at the right time is like a custom made piece of jewellery.” Proverbs 25:11
- By putting their needs above our needs.
Putting the need of others first is at the heart of the Christian message of the gospel- Christ placed himself in our place on the cross to pay for what we had done- a true act of selfless giving! We read in Philippians 2:5-8:
‘In your relationships with one another, have the same mind set as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!’
Sometimes putting the needs of others before your own can be as simple as getting up and making them tea in bed even when you want to lie in! It can be lending your friend a car as their car has suddenly broken down- Or it can be on occasion buying that homeless person a meal with the money you had set aside to buy your own- putting their need first, being selfless, loving and giving!
The important thing for us is to respond to need- when we identify that need we mustn’t standby or put off trying to help- we should respond to that need immediately if we can and let the person know we are there for them- sometimes we have to spend our time helping people over the longer term I know but we must show the Love to people that Christ has shown for us! We remember that Christ died for us when we were sinners- not because we were good enough or deserved it but because he loved and loves us totally!
So be encouraged to remember that when something happens or a situation arises that the ‘Time is Now’ to pray or help, encourage or step out in faith to make a real change in people’s lives!