This week's theme

Vanity of vanities

Today's reading

Eccl 1:16 - 2:11

Today's prayer

A prayer of St Augustine in modern language: You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they can find rest in you.

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Futher thought 2

For further thought

Consider what life has been like over the last couple of years and how your values have changed/not changed because of those experiences.

Who needs a boat, when you can walk? Is that a helpful question for reviewing and refreshing aspects of life where you are feeling a bit stuck or overburdened?

What ordinary opportunities for welcome and refreshment do you enjoy? What simple hospitality can you offer to other people today?

What attitudes and actions might characterise a lifestyle that makes generosity to others its priority?

How hard is it not to sneak some satisfaction in being proved right, or to say to those who doubted you, I told you so!?

Spend ten minutes with God in prayer: no words, no agenda, just a time of quietness.

Watching, listening to or reading the news today, notice whether or not people who make tough decisions are treated with understanding and fairness.

How easy has it been in your journey of faith to hear and respond to Gods call, and are you still listening?

Have you ever wondered what God might want you to do? Why not try asking now?!

Gods people struggled to remain a holy people. Can you empathise with their dilemma based upon your own experience?

Wars have been a part of history since the earliest days of humans on this planet why might that be and are they inevitable?

Have you ever given thought to the source of the food you eat and the clothes you wear, and might that inform your future choices?

If water is so essential for life, is there anything you can do as an individual or family to reduce the amount that is wasted?

Read Micah 6:8, reflecting on the person God calls you to be. How can you bring his justice and mercy into a hurting world?

How can you follow Jesus example of humility and emptying himself in your life today?

Find space today to reflect on Pauls but nots. Ask God to whisper his breaths of hope through the truth of these words of scripture.

Read some writings of Amy Carmichael, reflecting on her tenacious courage in the most trying of times. Hear the whisper of hope through her words.

Reflect on how creation groaning to be made whole points to the great hope you can take hold of in your painful present.

Take courage when you live with your scars, because Jesus went there too. How will you take hold of Jesus words of peace today?

Can you think of a time when you decided not to be honest because you thought it would risk too much? What happened? If you would have done it differently, how would you do it now?

Can you think of any times where you couldnt see the benefit of the process at the beginning, but recognised it afterwards?

When youve struggled and come through, what was it that gave you hope to continue?

Is there room at your table for someone who could use an act of kindness?

Is there anyone in your life who might be in need of a godly advocate?

Jacob could have easily considered himself a victim after that night. What do you think stopped him?

Share in your church group experiences where people you hadnt noticed became important in their care of others.

Look for images, songs or movies that could be helpful to understand the need of faithful witness of Jesus in our world today.

Think of examples of righteousness today. Is it limited to being politically correct? Any way to go beyond that?

Any migrants or foreigners in your community? How much do you know about their culture? Just search on the internet and work to find ways for inclusion.

How is your local community responding to environmental challenges? Any projects or programmes you could join to learn more, share your interests, contribute to the common good?

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This week's writer

Mandy is a Methodist minister who lives in Bristol. She is the Education Officer at the New Room (John Wesley’s Chapel), the oldest Methodist building in the world. Twitter: @NewRoomBristol @mandbristol. Mandy has used the NRSV for these

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International Community

'IBRA Bible reading notes is a good tool for the employees to have the daily devotions based on the text of the day that can guide the Reader to be a witness bearer in one’s own situation. Introducing new believers to regular Bible reading is what IBRA is able to add strength to our efforts and we are grateful for this partnership.'

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IBRA celebrates 140 years this year!

The knowledge and appreciation of the Bible carries on the 140-year-old IBRA tradition of encouraging people around the world. 

Read about our rich history and the origins of our founder Charles Waters, bank manager and Sunday School teacher – not a scholar, preacher, or public speaker – who had a gift for organisation and a vision for making the Bible accessible to all.

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