Category Archives: Monthly reflection
Good Morning all- I hope this month’s reflection finds you well- to begin sadly I have to report that our Deputy Branch Leader Andrew Robinson will step down from his role next week as he is leaving the Constabulary to transfer to the City of London Police. Andy has been an excellent support to me over the last few years and his assistance to me in running the Branch has made my life much easier; n behalf of the Branch Andy we wish you well in your service with the City and pray that the Lord guides you in your new work environment! I would ask that everyone remembers Andy in prayer as he moves on and me as I take on the running of the Branch single handed! On another note a team from the CPA are off to the CVM Gathering next weekend so please pray for us as we share our experiences of being Christians in the Police service with men from all walks of life!
Jumpers for Goal Posts
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
So everyone here we go again- ‘Jumpers for Goal Posts, Three Lions on my shirt, England expects everyman shall do his duty, this time we can do it, best team since Euro 96, Goal Line technology, flat back four?, Is Southgate ready/good enough, Is the team too young?, the season is too long, will they cope with the change of climate?, Hope we don’t face Germany in the Penalty shootout…… etc, etc, etc!
Yes it is once again time for the Football World Cup and the excitement has begun to grow right across the world for the four yearly festival of football which is being held in Russia starting this week! The advertising campaigns have hit full speed with every product being hailed as ‘perfect for watching the world cup’. Pubs, clubs and bars across the UK are investing in big screens, extra serving staff and security in preparation for us all sitting down to watch England win the world cup……….?
I would imagine that these preparations are being made in some if not all of the 32 nations represented at this World Cup with the hope of each nation being carried by their players! The truth is however that for 31 of the 32 teams the competition will end in disappointment- there can only be one winner and even a runners up medal comes with a tinge of disappointment; this is the nature of competitive sport! We learn from a very early age that winning and losing is part of playing sport; the ability to win or lose with grace and a smile is something my parents taught me from an early age- it is something I am teaching my children! It is how we face winning or losing that ultimately makes us a winner or a loser!
The truth is that in all sport whether individual or team based there are more losers than winners- in athletics only the top three in the final of any event receive any kind of reward- everyone else goes home empty handed; in team sports there is only one champion in each cup competition and in every league; yet every season those who didn’t win are back, with a clean slate competing to win!
In sport and in life we can never predict how things are going to go- we hope and we plan to succeed, we try our hardest and give it everything but sometimes things simply do not work out as we expected. It is in these moments when things have or are going wrong that we as Christians need to find a way to respond – I was recently watching a film called ‘Facing the Giants’ which tells the story of an American football team and their coach who are facing trials both on the pitch and off of it- it is well worth a watch! In the film the coach encourages his team at one point saying-
‘I want God to bless this team so much people will talk about what He did. But it means we got to give Him our best in every area. And if we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him. Either way we honour Him with our actions and our attitudes. So I’m asking’ you… What are you living for? I resolve to give God everything I’ve got, then I’ll leave the results up to Him. I want to know if you’ll join me.’
What this says to me is that we praise the Lord no matter what- win or lose and not just in sport!!
I recently had the great pleasure to meet Debbie Flood a former British Olympic rower and Christian Sports woman. She told us her story and relayed to us how she had feared that she had lost everything-
‘ Do you ever wonder why your life has gone down a certain path and ask yourself what on earth am I doing here? In the aftermath of losing my Olympic trial in 2000 I was in that place. Aged 18, I had a plan for my life; to row full time for two years, compete in Sydney at the Olympics, and then become a veterinary surgeon. However God had other plans. I had just lost my place in the team and my dreams and hopes had disappeared.’
Debbie went on to explain that after feeling lost and rejected that she had two options- to give up on the plan God had for her or to redouble her efforts and carry on- She decided to carry on rowing and rather than go to the Olympics as she had hoped she had an amazing year where she won trophies and awards at the Henley regatta – she described that year as ‘the most amazing of her international career’.
Debbie went on from that year to win three World Championship Gold medals and Two Olympic Silvers…. Good job she didn’t give up!!
When we fail it is heart breaking whether it is in the world of sport or in our personal or working lives- Having lost in a cup final and failed a driving course I know how it feels! That feeling of heartbreak is however temporary- and we can get past it! We must remember that that one failure does not define us- it is merely a temporary setback in the bigger picture of our lives.
As Christians we have an ever present Lord and Saviour who we can call on at all times- we can rely on him to be with us when everything seems to have gone wrong- it maybe that God has a better plan for you…. I have seen this in evidence in the lives of people around me who have let God guide there steps- as we see in the scripture above from Proverbs that we need to let God guide us to where he needs us!
So this month be encouraged that if you feel you have failed- don’t let it define you- give it to God, Praise him, honour him with your words and actions- give God everything and leave the results up to him!
Oh and ‘Come on England!’
‘Have you got your coat?’
The Armour of God
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV)
‘Have you got your coat?’- A question asked by parents all over the UK and wider world to I suspect most of their children; and if you are really fortunate sometimes your children will actually answer!
I think I ask my daughter Abigail this question every day before school- and every day there seems to be a different reason as to why she doesn’t need to wear it- ‘I’m not cold’, ‘It isn’t raining’, ‘I don’t like the colour’…… and so on!
The truth is however that some days you just need your coat, or your hat, or your umbrella…. Especially this week when the ‘Beast from the East’ has arrived!
It was at the beginning of this week that Abigail declared to me when I picked her up from school after a netball match that she was ‘hot’ and that she didn’t need her coat on….. as we walked away from the school I think we got about 50 metres before she changed her mind and rapidly applied her coat!
There is a famous quote – “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” (Ranulph Fiennes).
Whilst I don’t all together agree with that quote it does highlight that we sometimes have to think about what we are wearing- for example this week my uniform has been augmented by a walking ‘base layer’ (Long Johns in old money) an extra t-shirt, slightly thicker fleece, my big boots and my ‘big traffic jacket’- (that only comes out in weather like this week!), woolly hat, scarf and gloves!
My uniform choices reflect the fact that it is currently -4 with snow falling as I look out of the window of my office! It would however be foolish of me to wear that amount of uniform in the middle of a heat wave in August as I might overheat a bit….. (you see I am hopeful of a hot summer!)
As a motorcyclist I also recognise the value of protective equipment- the law says I have to wear a motorcycle helmet, but as for the rest of the protective equipment- it is a choice for you how much you wear. We have all seen the person riding in a crash helmet, shorts, t-shirt and flip flops haven’t we?! I again make a choice when I ride my bike to wear motorcycle clothing with armour in various places, motorcycle boots that are designed to protect my feet and lower legs and sturdy motorcycle gloves to protect my hands- it seems to me as a motorcyclist and as a Roads Policing officer to make perfect sense. As Police officers we often are sent into situations where we may be at risk- how many of us have been given a ‘PPE’ (personal protective equipment) warning!?
When we think about our walk as a Christians God provides us with a list of ‘protective clothing’ to wear to help us through the struggles of life-
‘Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’
For us all we have to make a choice to put on the things that the father gives us to help and protect us- we can choose to be truthful or lie, to righteous or sinful, be ready to share the gospel or choose not to, we can be faithful and rely on the Lord to protect and shield us or turn to other things to try and get help and we can take the time to read and meditate on the word of God or we can never open our bible….
We have to be wise and make good and positive choices whilst relying on God’s word…. Just as in the quote above we can also put on inappropriate things and try to rely on them- these things will never wholly satisfy you I promise! They may make you feel good, safe or happy for a short time but ultimately they will let you down- the only things we can truly rely on are the promises of God because those promises give us a future and a certainty based upon the wonderful sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross on our behalf.
So this month as we hopefully move into Spring and you dig out the spring and summer clothes think about putting on the things of God, trust him and listening when God gives you a ‘PPE’ warning or asks ‘Have you got your coat?’.
We ask for your help in remembering to put on your full armour every day, for you give us all that we need to stand firm in this world. Forgive us God for the times we’ve been unprepared, too busy to care, or trying to fight and wrestle in our own strength.
Thank you that we never fight alone, for you are constantly at work on our behalf, shielding, protecting, strengthening, exposing deeds of darkness, bringing to light what needs to be known, covering us from the cruel attacks we face even when we’re unaware.
We love you Lord, we need you today. In the Powerful Name of Jesus.