Category: <span>thoughts by Terry Stead</span>

We are all familiar with the Bags of Gold Parable in Matthew’s Gospel in which Jesus tells us of the master going on a journey but gave each of his three servants a different number of bags of gold.   On their return he said to two of them who returned an increased value of gold, “Well done, you good and faithful servant.”  How wonderful it would be if at the end of our lives we could have that said about us.  Being faithful is not always easy, sometimes it is not convenient, at other times we face criticism and ridicule, threats and attacks, but God has promised never to leave us alone, that just as strength will be given to us in any situation, so shall we also gain by sharing in God’s happiness.

“…Truly if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20

One website defines faith in a way that I love.  “Faith is always received from God, and never generated by us.”  That definition has actually changed the way I use the word faith as well as adding and giving me a whole new meaning to the word.  I now rethink my words when I start to tell someone that I have faith that my football team will win this weekend.  I stop and ask myself if what I am putting my faith in is actually given by God?

Now I know that not everyone will agree with me.  In today’s world a great deal of store is put into having faith in yourself and having faith that you can do your job correctly etc., but to me that still comes from God.  God gives you the faith to believe in yourself and, in fact, asks you “to love your neighbor as you love yourself”.  Note – “love yourself”.

Let me finish with a quote from the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore.

Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings to greet the dawn while it is still dark.”  That faith is God given.

Lord, I ask for your gift of faith, and the will to remain firm in the face of opposition.  Allow me to see that the real problem is not what happens to me, but rather how I react to an occurrence that makes the difference.  I need your help so that these situations will not disturb my inner peace and joy in you so that at the end of each day you will say of me “well done, you good and faithful servant”.   Amen.

By Terry Stead
Used by Permission

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How often does our preoccupation with living make us forget that we are always in the presence of God? We try and cram more and more into each of our days and often become so stressed and anxious that we don’t have enough time to fit everything in.  Sometimes it is the things that we put off doing until another day that tire us the most.  Yet it is in our everyday living that we should place God first as we continue with our work and our play.  How often do we become so caught up in the ‘everyday’ that we find we do not have enough time for God?

Our moods so often depend on how much time we have.  If we work all day and come home tired and stressed because we didn’t have time to finish all that was on our desk, or there was not enough time to finish the ironing or the gardening, or do the shopping; all these things affect the way we react to those around us.  We are often not happy in whatever we are doing.

I believe that happiness is not something for which we can search.  It is like a butterfly that is so elusive when we try to catch it, and yet when we don’t try, one may come to rest on our shoulder.  We can come to know true happiness only by living the life that the Lord would have us lead – by serving and showing unconditional love to others.  It is taking the time to slow down and listen to the still, small voice that gives us the patience and the courage to take each moment and know that we are surrounded by God’s grace.

Jesus tells us that

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

Is our life full in the way that this passage reveals?

I think of time as the thief, and so if we make time for God, the rest of our lives will come into perspective.

Prayer:
Lord, slow us down so that we may hear your Holy Spirit speak to us and discover our heart’s true longings and therefore recover our energy and our purpose for living.  Amen.

by Terry Stead
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This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” John 15:12

I have always loved walking along the beach, or through a paddock, or searching through disused quarries. Why?  Well, I love stones and pebbles.  Each one is different whether it is their size, their color, their texture or their shape and I marvel at the different strata’s that make beautiful patterns in them.  Even broken rocks have their inner beauty and it is often only when they are broken that you can see the magnificence within.  Some are smooth and easy to handle, beautiful colors and rare gems of beauty, while others are rough and hard, and have pieces which scratch and hurt me when I hold them in my hand.

That started me thinking about how stones and pebbles are like the people who we meet each day.  Some are easy to love and fit into our lives as if we have known them forever, but others have a prickly side and we are hurt by what they do and say.  Some may have been broken by situations, mental anguish, disease or disability.

Each of us are made up of many layers, just like the strata’s in the rocks that I love, and how often do we take the time to get to know the true person who is the combination of all these layers?  Sometimes we can only see the dirt and grime which hides the beauty within us, just like stones, every person has a beauty of their own.

Next time you meet someone think of the beauty of the layers that are inside, even if they are deeply hidden.

Prayer: I need your help, Gracious Lord, in the way I perceive those with whom I come in contact each day.  Don’t let me make snap judgments simply on the way they look or what they say. Allow me to look deeper and see their inner beauty and so appreciate them.  Amen.

by Terry Stead
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Fear is something that we all experience at some time in our lives. Our bodies cope by sending a surge of adrenaline rushing through us as a “flight or fight” mechanism and we feel ‘wired’.  There are so many things of which we are fearful; it may be losing our job, being in a violent relationship, or perhaps the realization of the imminent loss of a loved one.  The fear of what is happening in the world with regards to global warming is frightening to many people.  We are experiencing so many changes in our weather leading to extremes of temperature, devastating cyclones and floods.

When we are gripped by fear we are robbing ourselves of the potential to be all that God intends us to be.   I am not trivializing these fears, but I do want to emphasis one of God’s many promises to us.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7

Some translations read “self-control” instead of “a sound mind” and I relate more to those words.  I know that when I am fearful I cannot think straight, I panic and totally lose my direction. I no longer focus and forget that God has given me the power, love and self-control to overcome any stifling fear.  We need to commit these words of Timothy to our memory so that when we are faced with situations beyond our control, we can rise above our fears and know that we have been given the power and the love to overcome.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be strong and to turn to you when I am fearful.  When I am afraid help me to remember your promise of power, love and a clear mind so that I may always be what you wish me to be, an instrument of Your peace and Your love.   Amen.

By Terry Stead
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Lent is upon us.  A time when we reflect on our own lives as well as the death and the resurrection of Christ.  On that glorious Easter morning our sins were forgiven and we were granted eternal life.  However long we live we can never grasp the true meanings of those words or the sacrifice that was made on Good Friday.

We read the word “forgiven” and yet because we often cannot see through the darkness of our own past we really fail to grasp the full implications of what the word imparts.  We sometimes find it easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves.  Many feelings of guilt through our actions in the past blind our eyes to see the truth – that we are indeed forgiven, and loved, and cherished by a God who gave up his only son so that we would not perish.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I feel that if other people could look inside and see the real me, I would be found wanting.  We dwell on our mistakes, on the way we behave, or on anything that we see as flaws in our own being.  How often do we only see the ugly and not the beauty that God sees in us?  He delights in us and calls us his sons and daughters.  We need to see this beauty inside each one of us before we can truly see the beauty in others.  It is only as we come to know the true meaning of forgiveness can we show God’s unconditional love to the world.  We hear this text from Matthew during our communion services but how often do we reflect on what it actually means?

Matthew 26:27-29
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying

Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Personal Prayer:
Beloved Christ, I come before you now carrying so many burdens of guilt and shame, things that I dwell on that stops me from becoming the person that you wish me to be.  Open my eyes to see that I am forgiven and loved.  “Just as I am, I come.”  Amen

by Terry Stead
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woman cryinig worried upset

I  don’t know about you, but the things that stress me out the most are often the little things. Things that, if you put them in the context of things you need to worry about, would be at the bottom of the list.  Small problems like burning the toast, the hot water service breaking down or the mess of leaves on the front path.  It is often the case that these little things build up in importance and we seem to be forever worrying about something.

Other times it is work that causes the most stress and we carry that worry through to our families and friends, thus causing tension.  In some cases our families are often the cause of stress and all our time seems to be taken up worrying about their lives and our eyes are taken off God and focused on others’ problems.

In our minds we know that worrying is not going to help matters, but we do it anyway. I read a story on the internet the other day where a lady was talking to her therapist and said to him, “worrying works for me as ninety-nine per cent of the things I worry about never happen”.  Another internet story on worrying is about a man who went to the dentist and left his car in a no parking zone just so he could worry about not getting a ticket, which took his mind off worrying about the dental visit.

Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew give us assurance and hope whenever we are faced with situations where we feel the need to worry.

Matthew 6:25-27
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Wonderful and understanding God, we turn to you in times of crisis and ask for strength and calm, but often not for the everyday problems that we worry about.  Help us to trust in you and in your promises and take these words of Jesus to heart.  Praise and thank you for your continued grace and your unconditional love. Amen.

By Terry Stead


Do you want to stop worrying and start trusting Jesus?  You can start a relationship with our loving and trusting God through a simple prayer that expresses your trust and belief in him.  If you believe these words, then say this sample prayer and HE WILL come into your life.

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.  Be the healer of my soul.”

This is just the beginning.  We encourage to read the links below and get connected with a good church.  Also, consider an online mentor which we can connect you to.


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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I love God’s sense of humor.  The number of times it is a beautiful day outside and out I go for a walk, but within 10 minutes of leaving home it is pouring with rain and I don’t have an umbrella.  Other times I am sitting under a tree and a gumnut drops right on my head.  It could have dropped anywhere around me, but no, it lands square on my head.  Whenever these sorts of things happen to me I always smile to myself and imagine God is laughing along with me.

To laugh is so good for us.  It changes our mood and allows us to see the world through new eyes.  We also need to laugh at ourselves as we tend to take ourselves too seriously at times.  We should allow the laughter to bubble up from our depths and so infect others with this incredible ‘medicine’.  I always thank God that we have been given this gift of laughter.

I also think the Creator must have laughed a lot when I came into being as I have done, and will do, so many silly things throughout my life.   Now I am not advocating that we go around making fun of every situation and laughing at inappropriate times. There are so many times when we are overwhelmed with what each day offers or perhaps the sadness in the world weighs heavily on our shoulders and we find ourselves bereft of even a smile.  It is at those times that we need the strength, the compassion and the incredible unconditional love that only the Lord can give us to help us through, but there are also times if we can smile or laugh the situation will be so much clearer to see.

I have always loved this verse from Genesis after Sarah had born a son, Isaac.

Genesis 21:5-6  (NIV)
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of laughter.  Show us times when we can make someone else smile and so make them feel special, just as you make us feel special.  Help us to laugh at ourselves and that in so doing we may infect others with this release of stress and pain.  Thank you, also, for your infinite patience with us.  Amen

By Terry Stead

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by Terry Stead

Isn’t our memory an amazing thing?  I am at an age now where I am finding it very hard to remember people’s names, or words to poems, in fact I forget most things.  But one of the things I do remember is a line a poem by Dorothy Frances Gurney “You’re closer to God’s heart in the garden than any place else on earth.”  It is a poem that my mother used to recite to me over and over as she showed me the beauty and intricacies of a beautiful rose or delphinium or other flower, which she loved.

Although we don’t have to be in a garden to feel close to God, it is a marvellous place to praise our Creator.  We can marvel at the beautiful colours of the flowers, of the leaves of each plant, and yes, even the weeds that grow so abundantly.  We can thank God that we are surrounded by so many beautiful things upon which to gaze and also thank him for the perfumes that waft to us through the air.  All these things should make our hearts sing in praise.

Sometimes, though, I think that we are all so busy focusing our eyes on where we are going or what we are doing that we sometimes miss all this beauty.  Take some time out over the next few weeks to really see what is around you and give thanks and praise to our wonderful Creator.  You may wish to use a simple one sentence prayer like this.

Prayer:

We marvel at your creation, Lord, and ask that you accept our praise and our thanks.

John 1:3
Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him.”

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by Terry Stead

One of the things I have always loved to do is kick off my shoes and sit in the grass – to actually lie on the grass is even better.  You can feel the coolness of the green blades and also feel the earth beneath you.  To me it seems as if I am actually attached to God.  Now I know that God is always part of me and I give thanks for that every day, but when I am there on the grass I feel that I am physically connected to the Living One.

I sit or lie there and my mind goes back to the wonderful story of creation in the first book of Genesis and what an incredibly exciting, wondrous story it is.  Everyone has read and also listened to many sermons where this story has been shared.  We believe God created our universe and yet I think we need to sometimes become immersed once again in just how exciting and wondrous the world around us is.

So… back to lying on the grass, relaxed, and if I keep still and listen I can hear birds singing out to each other and maybe male crickets rubbing their wings together cheerfully.  The warm breeze catches the leaves of the plants around me and out of the corner of my eye I see a flower blazing yellow against the bright green of its leaves and perhaps a red and black lady bug is walking very busily among the petals.  To me, all these things are every day miracles and I can revel in creation and know that we are made in God’s image and likeness.

If you have time this month read again the 1st Chapter of the book of Genesis and relate it to all that is around you.

Prayer:
Creator God, how wondrous is your creation.  We marvel at how everything has its place and season.  Help each of us to become more aware of what is happening around us so that we can appreciate the everyday miracles which are before us.  Amen

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by Terry Stead

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, at this time of year we so often get caught up in the mad frenzy of buying presents, writing cards and catching up with friends and family that we forget the true meaning of this Advent Season.  Help us to stop and reflect on the gift of your birth to all of us.  Teach us how to slow down and see the wonder and the glory of this time.  Amen

Bible Readings:

Week 1 –   Matthew 4:18-22
Week 2 –   Revelations 21:1-7
Week 3 –    Luke 1:5-25
Week 4:     Isaiah 49:13-26

Prayer Points:

–  Reflect and rejoice in the miracle of Christ’s birth
–  For those whom Christmas is a sad reminder of days past
–  Volunteers who help share their Christmas meal with others
–  For all who are lonely
–  Your own personal prayer points

Closing Prayer:

Dear One, during this Christmas month when my life seems to be permanently set on the spin cycle, please show me the miracles that surround me every day, so that I may become filled with joy and reflect on how enormous was the gift of your life on that first Christmas morning. Amen.

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by Terry Stead

This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,“ The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” Matthew 3:3

The wonderful time of Advent is upon us. A time when we eagerly anticipate and await the birth of Jesus.  Unfortunately, it is also a time of busyness when we rush around madly trying to find just the right present for a family member or friend.   We get impatient when we have to stand in queues to pay for our purchases and often become terse with shop assistants.  Smiles don’t seem to be as prevalent and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to stop and talk.  Each year the list for presents seems to grow as our children marry and grandchildren come along and so we worry about how much money we are spending and what will happen when we have to pay the credit card bill.  And so the meaning behind “waiting” fades into the background.

We should be waiting with expectation; watching with eagerness and a focus on just what this birth will bring – a fulfilling of God’s promise in Jesus Christ.  We should be reading God’s word and exploring what this tiny baby means to us, now and will mean to us in the future.  We need to be preparing the way for Jesus in our hearts.  His birth brings with it salvation and forgiveness of sins to all who confess their wrongdoings.  He brings eternal life and a place in God’s Kingdom for each one of us when we finally leave this earth.

So — rejoice as you anticipate, prepare and await this glorious birth.

Prayer:
Loving and Gracious God, we come before you this day full of excitement and anticipation awaiting the birth of your dear Son.  It is so hard to imagine that we mean so much that You would give us this most precious gift.  Help us at this time to slow down and dwell on the meaning of this wonderful event so that we can truly give thanks and worship You with our whole hearts.  Help us, also, to separate the secular meaning of Christmas (Xmas) from the real meaning and so make it CHRISTmas in our hearts as we wait.  Amen

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