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About Sheridan Voysey

Sheridan Voysey is an author, speaker, and broadcaster based in Oxford, United Kingdom. He is the author of eight books, including The Making of Us, Resurrection Year, Reflect with Sheridan, and the Our Daily Bread Publishing titles Resilient and Unseen Footprints. Sheridan is a presenter of Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show; is a regular guest on other broadcast networks across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and beyond; and speaks at conferences and events around the world. Sheridan blogs and podcasts at www.sheridanvoysey.com and invites you to find him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Correction with a Kiss

By |2024-05-24T02:33:22-04:00May 24th, 2024|

In his parable The Wise Woman, George MacDonald tells the story of two girls, whose selfishness brings misery to all, including themselves, until a Wise Woman puts them through a series of tests to help them become “lovely” again.

After the girls fail each test and suffer shame and isolation, one of them, Rosamond, finally realizes she can’t change herself. “Couldn’t you help me?” she asks the Wise Woman. “Perhaps I could,” the woman replied, “now that you ask me.” And with the divine help symbolized by the Wise Woman, Rosamond begins to change. She then asks if the woman would forgive all the trouble she’s caused. “If I had not forgiven you,” the woman says, “I would never have taken the trouble to punish you.”

There are times when God disciplines us. It’s important to understand why. His correction isn’t driven by retribution but by a fatherly concern for our welfare (Hebrews 12:6). He also desires that we may “share in his holiness,” enjoying a harvest of “righteousness and peace” (vv. 10–11). Selfishness brings misery, but holiness makes us whole, joyful, and “lovely” like Him.

            Rosamond asks the Wise Woman how she can love a selfish girl like her. Stooping to kiss her, the woman replies, “I saw what you were going to be.” God’s correction too comes with love and a desire to make us who we’re meant to be.

Tears of Joy

By |2024-05-05T02:33:09-04:00May 5th, 2024|

Leaving home one morning, Dean found some friends waiting with balloons. His friend Josh stepped forward. “We entered your poems in a competition,” he said, before handing Dean an envelope. Inside was a card that read ‘First Prize,’ and soon everyone was crying tears of joy. Dean’s friends had done a beautiful thing, confirming his writing talent.

Weeping for joy is a paradoxical experience. Tears are normally a response to pain, not joy; and joy is normally expressed with laughter, not tears. Italian psychologists have noted that tears of joy come at times of deep personal meaning—like when we feel deeply loved or achieve a major goal. This led them to conclude that tears of joy are pointers to the meaning of our lives.

I imagine tears of joy erupting everywhere Jesus went. How could the parents of the man born blind not weep for joy when Jesus healed him (John 9:1-9), or Mary and Martha after He raised their brother from death (11:38-43)? When God’s people are brought into a restored world, “Tears of joy will stream down their faces,” God says, “and I will lead them home with great care” (Jeremiah 31:9 nlt).

If tears of joy show us the meaning of our lives, imagine that great day to come. As tears stream down our faces, we’ll know without doubt that the meaning of life has always been to live intimately with Him.

Five Good Things

By |2024-04-07T02:33:06-04:00April 7th, 2024|

According to research, people who are intentionally grateful for what they have report better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness. Those are impressive benefits. Psychologists even suggest keeping a “gratitude journal” to improve our well-being, writing down five things we’re grateful for each week.

Scripture has long promoted the practice of gratitude. From meals and marriage (1 Timothy 4:3-5), to the beauties of creation (Psalm 104), the Bible has called us to see such things as gifts and to thank the Giver for them. Psalm 107 lists five things Israel could be especially grateful for: their rescue from the desert (vv. 4-9), their release from captivity (vv. 10-16), healing from disease (vv. 18-22), safety at sea (vv. 23-32), and their flourishing in a barren land (vv. 33-42). “Give thanks to the LORD,” the psalm repeats, for these are all signs of God’s “unfailing love” (vv. 8, 15, 21, 31).

Do you have a notepad handy? Why not write down five good things you’re grateful for now? It might be the meal you just enjoyed, your marriage, or like Israel, God’s rescue points in your life to date. Give thanks for the bird’s singing outside, the smells from your kitchen, the comfort of your chair, the murmurs of loved ones. Each is a gift and a sign of God’s unfailing love.

Psalm 72 Leaders

By |2024-04-02T02:33:06-04:00April 2nd, 2024|

In July 2022, Britain’s prime minister was forced to step down after what many felt were lapses in integrity (the newly appointed prime minister stepped down just months later!). The event was triggered when the country’s health minister attended an annual parliamentary prayer breakfast, felt convicted about the need for integrity in public life, and resigned. When other ministers resigned too, the prime minister realized he had to leave. It was a remarkable moment, originating from a peaceful prayer meeting.

Believers in Jesus are called to pray for their political leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2), and Psalm 72 is a good guide for doing so, being both a ruler’s job description and a prayer to help them achieve it. It describes the ideal leader as a person of justice and integrity (vv. 1-2), who defends the vulnerable (v. 4), serves the “needy” (vv. 12-13), and stands against oppression (v. 14). Their time in office is so refreshing, it’s like “showers watering the earth” (v. 6), bringing prosperity to the land (vv. 3, 7, 16). While only the Messiah can perfectly fulfill such a role (v. 11), what better standard of leadership could be aimed for?

The health of a country is governed by the integrity of its office bearers. Let’s seek “Psalm 72 leaders” for our nations and help them to embody its qualities by praying it for them.

Remember the Creator

By |2024-03-11T02:33:30-04:00March 11th, 2024|

I recently read a novel about a woman who refuses to acknowledge she has terminal cancer. When Nicola’s exasperated friends force her to face the truth, the reason for her avoidance emerges. “I’ve wasted my life,” she tells them. Though born with talents and wealth, “I made nothing of my life. I was sloppy. I never stuck at anything.” The prospect of leaving the world now, feeling she'd achieved little, was too painful for Nicola to contemplate.

I was reading Ecclesiastes around the same time and found the contrast stark. Its Teacher won’t let us avoid the reality of the grave, “the realm of the dead, where you are going” (9:10). And while this is hard to face (v. 2), it can lead us to value every moment we have now (v. 4), intentionally enjoying our food and families (vv. 7–9), working purposefully (v. 10), taking adventures and risks (11:1, 6), and doing it all before the God we’ll one day answer to (v. 9; 12:13–14).

Nicola’s friends point out that her faithfulness and generosity to them proves her life hasn’t been a waste. But maybe the Teacher’s advice can save us all from such a crisis at the end of our lives: Remember our Creator (12:1), follow His ways, and embrace every opportunity to live and love that today He provides.

Angels on the Walls

By |2024-02-07T01:33:34-05:00February 7th, 2024|

When Wallace and Mary Brown moved to an impoverished part of Birmingham, England, to pastor a dying church, they didn’t know that a gang had made the grounds of their church and home its headquarters. The Browns had bricks thrown through their windows, their fences set on fire, and their children threatened. The abuse continued for months; the police were unable to stop it.

The book of Nehemiah recounts how the Israelites rebuilt Jerusalem’s broken walls. When locals set out to “stir up trouble,” threatening them with violence (Nehemiah 4:2–8), the Israelites “prayed to . . . God and posted a guard” (v. 9). Feeling God used this passage to direct them, the Browns, their children, and a few others walked round their church’s walls, praying that He would install angels as guards to protect them. The gang jeered, but the next day, only half of them showed up. The day after that, only five were there, and the day after, no one came. The Browns later heard the gang had given up terrorizing people.

This miraculous answer to prayer isn’t a formula for our own protection, but it’s a reminder that opposition to God’s work will come and must be fought with the weapon of prayer. “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome,” Nehemiah told the Israelites (v. 14). He can even set violent hearts free.

Deep Friendship in Christ

By |2024-02-02T01:33:40-05:00February 2nd, 2024|

There’s a monument in the chapel of Christ’s College, Cambridge, dedicated to two seventeenth-century physicians, John Finch and Thomas Baines. Known as the “inseparable friends,” Finch and Baines collaborated on medical research and traveled together on diplomatic trips. When Baines died in 1680, Finch lamented their “unbroken marriage of souls” that had lasted thirty-six years. Theirs had been a friendship of affection, loyalty, and commitment.

King David and Jonathan had a friendship equally as close. They shared deep mutual affection (1 Samuel 20:41), and even made vows of commitment to each other (vv. 8–17, 42). Their friendship was marked by radical loyalty (1 Samuel 19:1; 20:13), Jonathan even sacrificing his right to the throne so David could become king (20:30–31). When Jonathan died, David lamented that Jonathan’s love to him had been “more wonderful than that of women” (2 Samuel 1:26).

We may feel uncomfortable today likening friendship to marriage, but maybe friendships like Finch and Baines’ and David and Jonathan’s can help our own reach greater depth. Jesus welcomed His friends to lean against Him (John 13:23–25), and the affection, loyalty, and commitment He shows us can be the basis of the deep friendships we build together.

Serving Others for Jesus

By |2024-01-15T01:33:19-05:00January 15th, 2024|

Actress Nichelle Nichols is best remembered for playing Lieutenant Uhura in the original Star Trek series. Landing the role was a personal win for Nichols, making her one of the first African American women on a major TV show. But a greater win was to come of it.

Nichols had actually resigned from Star Trek after its first season, to return to her theater work. But then she met Martin Luther King Jr., who urged her not to leave. For the first time, he said, African Americans were being seen on TV as intelligent people who could do anything, even go to space. By playing Lieutenant Uhura, Nichols was achieving a greater win—showing Black women and children what they could become.

It reminds me of the time James and John asked Jesus for the two best positions in His kingdom (Mark 10:37). What personal wins such positions would be! Jesus not only explained the painful realities of their request (vv. 38–40) but called them to higher goals, saying, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (v. 43). His followers weren’t to seek personal wins alone but, like Him, use their positions to serve others (v. 45).

Nichelle Nichols stayed with Star Trek for the greater win it provided for African Americans. May we too never be content with a personal win alone but use whatever position we gain to serve others in His name.

The Day after Christmas

By |2023-12-26T01:33:25-05:00December 26th, 2023|

After all the joy of Christmas Day, the following day felt like a letdown. We’d stayed overnight with friends but hadn’t slept well. Then our car broke down as we were driving home. Then it started to snow. We had abandoned the car and taxied home in the snow and sleet feeling blah.

We’re not the only ones who’ve felt low after Christmas Day. Whether it’s from excessive eating, the way carols suddenly disappear from the radio, or the fact that the gifts we bought last week are now on sale half price, the magic of Christmas Day can quickly dissipate!

The Bible never tells us about the day after Jesus’ birth. But we can imagine that after walking to Bethlehem, scrambling for accommodation, enduring the pain of giving birth, and having shepherds drop by unannounced (Luke 2:4–18), Mary and Joseph were exhausted. Yet as Mary cradled her newborn, I can imagine her reflecting on her angelic visitation (1:30–33), Elizabeth’s blessing (vv. 42–45), and her own realization of her baby’s destiny (vv. 46–55). Mary “pondered” such things in her heart (2:19), which must’ve lightened the tiredness and physical pain of that day.

We’ll all have “blah” days, perhaps even the day after Christmas. Like Mary, let’s face them by pondering the One who came into our world, forever brightening it with His presence.

Christmas Dilemma

By |2023-12-17T01:33:27-05:00December 17th, 2023|

David and Angie had felt called to move overseas, and the fruitful ministry that followed seemed to confirm it. But there was one downside to their move. David’s elderly parents would now spend Christmases alone.

David and Angie tried to mitigate his parents’ Christmas Day loneliness by posting gifts early and calling on Christmas morning. But what his parents really wanted was them. With David’s income only permitting an occasional trip home, what else could they do? David needed wisdom.

Proverbs 3 is a crash course in wisdom-seeking, showing us how to receive it by taking our situations to God (vv. 5–6), describing its qualities as love and faithfulness (vv. 3–4, 7–12), and its benefits as peace and longevity (vv. 13–18). In a touching note, it adds that God gives such wisdom by taking us “into His confidence” (v. 32). God whispers His solutions to those who are close to Him.

Praying about his problem one night, David had an idea. Next Christmas Day, he and Angie put on their best clothes, decorated the table with tinsel, and brought in the roast dinner. David’s parents did the same. Then, placing a laptop on each table, they ate together via video link. It almost felt like they were in the same room. It’s become a family tradition ever since.

God took David into His confidence and gave him wisdom. He loves to whisper creative solutions to our problems.

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