Thoughts 2nd – 9th Apr

Thursday 2nd

1 John Ch 4 verse 18             “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

There is the sense in this verse that love brings liberation and freedom.  That it sets us free from fear, which has the sense of oppression and control.  At this time many across the world are oppressed by fear and anxiety relating to COVID-19, concerned should they or a family member contract the virus, and what the implications might be.  Even though loved ones might offer words of comfort and support, for many the underlying fear does not depart.  For fear to depart we must have trust that what we fear will not happen, or that should it occur then there is an answer to the situation.  The passage our verse comes from (click here) makes it clear that if we acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, then God, who is love, lives in us.  This then becomes an issue of trust, do we trust the anxiety, which is everywhere, or do we trust in God who has come to dwell within us?  Knowing God loves us and trusting in him are the keys to being at peace in every situation.  Be it COVID-19 this month, or a health issue or family crisis the next.

Dear Lord Jesus, give us the courage to trust in the words of this verse.  To give thanks for your love which dwells within us, and to claim for ourselves the peace which passes all human understanding.

Amen

 

Friday 3rd

Psalm 22 (click here)

This is one of the Psalms of Lament and the words of verse one were spoken by Jesus Himself on the cross:  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  As I read this, my thoughts echo some of your words to me over the past few days along the lines of ‘how long will this go on?…when will this all end?’  Of course, we just don’t know and we do not have any answers.

This year especially, I pray we can each use this time, in the silence, the quiet and the peace of this season in our lives to try and look beyond our own ‘temporary’ inconvenience and withdrawing from the world to think beyond our own very present needs.  As we approach Holy Week, may our thoughts turn to embrace the sheer agony, horror and abandonment that Jesus felt on the Cross, remembering that He took our place by dying ONCE for us all on that first Easter.

As we cry out to Him with our own questions, uncertainties and prayers, may we know His forgiveness, freedom and peace in our hearts.

Dear Lord Jesus, Saviour of the World, how can we ever grasp the enormity of your sacrifice for us?  Thank you that it was for me, us and all the World that you endured the Cross.  Have mercy on each of us and help us to welcome you afresh into our homes and lives today.  

Amen.

 

Saturday 4th

Romans Ch 3 verse 1              “Everyone must submit themselves to the governing authorities for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

What do you think about governments and authority? Are you a natural rule obey-er or a rebel?!

No matter what our politics or our beliefs about what is being done about COVID-19 is enough or not, God uses human governments and is ultimately in control.

I would not like to be in authority and answerable to the whole country. Leaders of the government, finance world, health services, councils etc need a lot of wisdom, patience and good health.

Dear God, today we ask that you would give all our leaders wisdom, discernment, strength and resolve. Keep them healthy, safe and rested so that they can continue to guide us through this troubling time.  Give our government leaders wisdom about what needs to be done to stop the virus and stabilise our economy.   Give our medical leaders insight into the care of people with COVID-19.   Give our civic leaders inspiration, courage, joy and strength to meet the needs of their communities.

Amen

 

Sunday 5th

Lamentation 1 verses 1-12a

This passage speaks into a time when Judah’s sin and rejection of God have brought judgement upon them in the form of invasion of the city of Jerusalem and many taken into exile by the Babylonians.  Verse 1 says: “How lonely sits the city that once was full of people!”  Perhaps in these days where our own streets seem strangely deserted, we are coming the closest to understanding and grasping just something of the sense of loss and bewilderment this picture portrays.

The people of Judah tried in vain to seek help from neighbouring countries such as Egypt in order to be rescued.  Of course, we are able to look with hindsight to the coming of Jesus Christ as the one who God sent ultimately to save the world from its sin and wrongdoing.  Jesus came for each of us to be our Redeemer:  may our trust be firmly in Him rather than in the things of this world which may not give lasting hope.

Dear Lord Jesus, we think today of our lonely streets, towns and meeting places which now lie strangely silent.  We cry out to you and pray for that day when we might be able to meet together again and for an end to this time of infection and isolation.  May our hearts’ cry be to seek and find in you the Way the Truth and the Life. 

Amen. 

 

Monday 6th

Acts Ch 4 verse 12                  “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

It is the phrase “for there is no other name under heaven“, that strikes me as I read this verse.  The New Testament, on several occasions, refers to the significance of the name of Jesus, and the power of speaking out his name in prayer and on other occasions.  This verse makes plain that our salvation comes through no other medium, but by the person of Jesus Christ.  I am a fan of Songs of Praise, which is on BBC TV on Sunday afternoons.  Last Easter Sunday, 2019, the programme was one of the most moving that I have ever seen, and I watched it again this afternoon by virtue of YOUTUBE.  In it, the singer Laura Wright sings the song ‘Beautiful Name’, which is all about the name of Jesus.  On every occasion that I have watched the programme I have been moved by this song. Below is the link to the programme, it is worth watching all of it as it is so uplifting, but the song ‘Beautiful Name’ is 10 minutes & 43 seconds into the programme.

 

 

Dear Lord Jesus, we give thanks for your name, and most particularly for the salvation that comes through it.  A salvation that helps us to experience the very life of God, and deposits within us a hope that stretches beyond death’s door.

Amen

 

Tuesday 7th

1 Corinthians Ch 12 verse 27             “Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.

We may not feel like part of the body of Christ (i.e. the church), at the moment because we are unable to meet in a building or at anyone’s home. Nevertheless, we are part of not only our local church but the worldwide church. I suspect that because of the coronavirus crisis there are more people praying than ever before and we are part of that. It does seem at the moment as well there are more people taking part in Facebook and online church than would normally attend the physical church.

We are part of Christ himself, along with millions of others and possess his Holy Spirit. Let us rejoice in that today.

Dear God, thank you that we are part of the body of Christ along with all our friends at church and the many Christians worldwide. Thank you for The Holy Spirit who dwells in each of us. Thank you that we can all be part of praying for this world and for each other. Please encourage all who are involved in leading your church in Wath, the Diocese of Sheffield and all over the world. Allow this season to strengthen us all and to remind us of how much you love this hurting world.

Amen

 

Wednesday 8th

Luke Ch 22 verses 54-end

Verse 54 says:  “Then they seized him and led him away…But Peter was following at a distance.

As we have said many times, this period in our lives of enforced separation from physical contact with each other also gives us the opportunity to reflect on our lives, our service of others and most importantly our relationship with our heavenly Father.  Have a look at the reading above-it is a very moving account of the Apostle Peter’s willingness to follow Jesus following His arrest; yet at a distance.  It then follows on to his threefold denial of Christ as Jesus predicted he would.

It is all too easy for us to be weighed down by regrets and feelings of condemnation, as no doubt Peter was, as we reflect and maybe think, especially now, of the people we wished we’d visited or the words we should have said or the things left undone.  We now are prevented from doing much at this present time anyway!

However, just as Peter was later reinstated and sent out to ‘feed and tend my sheep’ by Jesus after He was raised from the dead [John 21 15-19] so may we hear Jesus calling, forgiving and loving us afresh to be able to begin again as His disciples filled with His love, joy and peace.

Dear Lord Jesus, forgive us when we disown and forget you.  Help us this day to dedicate our lives to you afresh.  Give us the strength to stand up for you and follow in your footsteps that lead to life everlasting. 

 Amen.

April 1st, 2020 Written by Mike - On behalf of Rev. John Parker