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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.

Worship First

By |2024-07-13T02:33:20-04:00July 13th, 2024|

I’d never planned to start a non-profit organization about adult friendship, and when I felt called to do so, I had so many questions. How would the charity be financed, and who should help me build it? My greatest help on these matters ended up coming not from a business book, but a biblical one.

The book of Ezra is essential reading for anyone called by God to build something. Recounting how the Jews rebuilt Jerusalem after their exile, it shows how God provided funds through public donations and government grants (Ezra 1:4-11; 6:8-10), and how both volunteers and contractors did the work (1:5; 3:7). It shows the importance of preparation time, with rebuilding not beginning until the second year of the Jews’ return (3:8). It shows how opposition may come (ch. 4). But one thing in the story particularly stood out to me. A whole year before any building began, the Jews erected the altar (3:1-6). The people worshiped “though the foundation of the Lord’s temple had not yet been laid” (v. 3). Worship came first.

Is God calling you to start something new? Ezra’s principle is poignant whether you’re starting a charity, a Bible study, a creative project, or some new task at work. Even a God-given project can take our attention away from Him, so let’s focus on God first. Before we work, we worship.

Life’s Pilgrimage

By |2024-06-27T02:33:07-04:00June 27th, 2024|

More than two hundred million people from a variety of faiths undertake a pilgrimage each year. For many throughout the ages, a pilgrim’s task has been to journey to a sacred place to receive some kind of blessing. It’s been all about reaching the temple, cathedral, shrine, or other destination where a blessing can be received.

Britain’s Celtic Christians, however, saw pilgrimage differently. They set out directionless into the wild or let their boats drift wherever the oceans took them—pilgrimage for them being about trusting God in unfamiliar territory. Any blessing was found not at the destination but along the journey.

Hebrews 11 was an important passage for the Celts. Since the Christian life is about leaving the world’s ways behind and trekking like foreigners to the city of God (vv. 13–16), a pilgrimage echoed their life’s journey. By trusting God to provide along their difficult, untrodden path, the pilgrim grew the kind of faith lived by the heroes of old (vv. 1–12).

What a lesson to learn, whether we physically trek or not: for those who have trusted Jesus , life is a pilgrimage to God’s heavenly country, full of dark forests, dead ends, and trials. As we journey through, may we not miss the blessing of experiencing God’s provision along the way.

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.

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