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NewS Highlight

Message from Rev Stephen van Shalkwyk

 little while ago now, one of the leaders at Bay Life introduced me to the writings of Sheridan Voysey, author and radio presenter.  As a Christian wrestling with contemporary life, Voysey has offered some remarkable insights on adult friendship and Christian life.

This month I was delighted to read a short booklet Voysey has written called, “A resilient Life: Strength for Today from the Sermon on the Mount”.  In it he points out that it is those we least expect who are most blessed: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those denied righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, peacemakers, those persecuted for righteousness’s sake, and the reviled (Matthew 5:3-11).

God doesn’t exclude anyone from being able to be blessed.  Because of God’s blessing and with God’s help we can learn the resilience necessary to stand in the face of life’s storms in the same way that the house in Jesus’s story that was “founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:25), endured.

Voysey notes 4 significant factors which resilient people practice constantly:

  1. Positive emotions - resilient people are able to build on the positive feelings of hope and peace, while managing stress, anger and sadness.
  2. Accomplishment - doing something well, whether it is a hobby, craft, relationship, sport, or work gives the kind of satisfaction which encourages people to ‘keep on keeping-on’.
  3. Relationships - people who endure generally have one or two (and sometimes more) key friendships.  Deep connection with family and/or community grounds us in the face of the trials and tribulations; and lastly
  4. A deep sense of meaning, found in belonging to, and giving ones’ self to a cause greater than us.  Knowing that we are part of something which will out-live us connects us to a future beyond the limits of our individual life and it often keeps us looking up and looking around.

It turns out that we can nurture these practices even when we feel weak, or vulnerable, or beaten-down.  And it is by nurturing these important parts of our spirit that we find both courage and opportunity to rise again.

Voysey’s real genius is the way he teases out important life-lessons in forgiveness, letting go, dealing with worry, building up courage, and faith from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).   He uses real-life examples and shows how you and I can better build our life’s foundations on the steadfast values of Jesus.

 If you would like to “fill up your cup”, head over to and read it for yourself, I’m sure you will be blessed

God bless you, Stephen


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