Thoughts 4th – 10th June

Thursday 4th

Psalm 23 Verse 5       My cup overflows

For so many in this world, they have never had the experience of an overflowing cup, every day is a struggle to just find enough to get through that day. Poverty is a way of life for hundreds of millions of people, their parents lived in poverty, they live in poverty and their children will in all likelihood live in poverty.

Working as a shepherd boy it is unlikely that David was paid, it was just what he did as a member of the family, yet he talks of his cup overflowing. This idea of abundance and then yet, even more, is what these three words relate to me. David just knew that he was blessed, and this blessing was bubbling up and overflowing, that God just kept on acting in line with his promise to bless those who honour him.

Maybe this is why more people are turning to follow Jesus in some of the poorer regions of the world, than in the wealthier parts. The daily blessings they encounter are not material, but they are no less real. As they honour God with their lives, they experience the overflowing blessing of God, or as Jesus puts it,’ rivers of living water’ [John Ch & v 37-39], as the Spirit wells up inside them. With the response being thankfulness and gratitude for all that God has provided.

If only we knew it, our cup overflows daily with the blessings of God. I pray that we may recognise these blessings through the smokescreens that materialism and consumerism scatter, and that we might respond with thankfulness and praise.

 

Dear Lord Jesus, as you filled those first disciples at Pentecost, please fill us with your Holy Spirit, that we might experience a life overflowing with praise to you.

Amen

 

Friday 5th

Genesis Ch 1-2        In the beginning…………and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Rom Ch 8 verses 26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness……the Spirit intercedes for us….the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. But in truth, The Holy Spirit has been at work nonstop from the foundation of the world! The Holy Spirit has an enormous job description! There are at least 261 passages that mention the Spirit in the New Testament alone.

We may think the governments of the world have a big job to do at this point in time but the Holy Spirit has been ordering the world, empowering people, convicting of sin, speaking a gentle word, making us holy, watching over us, interceding on our behalf, being aware of every living thing in the whole world……the list is endless. Why not use a Bible concordance or the internet and look up references to the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of God?

The humbling thing is, he is with each and every one of us right now. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of his presence and notice his unseen hand in our lives. What will you notice about the Holy Spirit today and through this week? Let’s rejoice in our friend The Holy Spirit today and enjoy his presence with us.

 

Holy Spirit we are humbled by your presence with us but we rejoice in you today!

Amen

 

Saturday 6th

Matt Ch 9 verses 37-38 & Luke 10: 2       ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’

In this week after celebrating Pentecost Sunday, let us give thanks that God’s Spirit is always at work. We may be confined more than usual, but God is at work, calling and drawing people everywhere. The Spirit helps us listen and receive the gospel-the good news of Jesus Christ. Yet it is also about us: God has chosen us to be bearers and witnesses to His light and love. The need and the brokenness of the world is great. God’s love, however, is able to reach into the darkest places and bring transformation and peace.

 

Lord, we do ask that you would call and send out labourers in the places you are already at work and especially in our town and locality. Please protect and guard us against sickness and infection as the easing of some restrictions begin.

Lord in your mercy – Hear our Prayer.

Amen.

 

Sunday 7th

Psalm 23 Verse 6       Surely it might seem strange to have a reflection on just a word, but this is not just any word. The dictionary definition is ‘used to emphasize the speaker’s firm belief that what they are saying is true and often their surprise that there is any doubt of this.

This is exactly the emphasis that David places on the word, he is utterly convinced that what he is about to say is true and that he has complete confidence in it coming to pass. This confidence is based upon his experience of the God who is his shepherd, the one who provides, leads, refreshes, and guides. The God who dispels fear and offers comfort, the one who stands by him even when in the presence of his enemies, and who blesses his life beyond measure.

His confidence is in his experience of God, not a blind faith, but one rooted in his years of trusting, and in seeing the hand of God work in his favour time after time.

A man once said to me, ‘that a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument’. David’s experiences of God meant that his confidence in God was never refuted by any argument.

Dear Lord Jesus, may we not just know about you, read about you, and pray to you. But may we know you and come to experience the life-giving love that being filled with the Holy Spirit brings, and gives us the confidence to say with David, surely!

 

Monday 8th

Phil Ch 4 verses 6-7       Do not be anxious about anything. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. And the peace of God……will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Sorry, another prayer linked thought! It’s just that this seems to something the Holy Spirit keeps reminding me/us to do. Pray with faith and gratitude and live in peace, not in anxiety and fear.

I will be going back to more normal work on June 8th, Lockdown is being lifted (in some minds too quickly)! Will the R number increase? What about people’s jobs? What about the economy? What about people’s health? What about abused children being at home for so long?

So many questions? No concrete answers!

This country and this world need your/our/my prayers day in and day out.

As we pray though, instead of being filled with fear and anxiety the Holy Spirit will fill us with His peace.

 

Holy Spirit, help us to pray as you promised. Lead us in prayer. Fill us with your whole life peace.

Amen.

 

Tuesday 9th

Psalm 1 verse 3       ‘He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.’

This verse has come to my mind repeatedly over the last year. There is a worship song that uses these words (see video below this thought) I know for myself that I soon ‘run dry’ or start ‘running on empty’ as the expressions go, when I am not constantly returning to God’s word and turning to Him in prayer. These are just two important ways God loves to meet with us daily and nourish us. During the hot weather and drought, we’ve recently experienced, going on walks and coming across trees growing by streams, rivers and lakes; we can easily see the wisdom of these words of Scripture.

 

Lord, please give us a thirst for your presence. We place into your hands our questions as we wonder what the future holds for meeting, worshipping, praying, serving and loving as a community of faith hoping we can one day gather together. Hold us, lead us, bless us and those we pray for each day.

Amen.

 

Wednesday 10th

Psalm 23 verse 6        your goodness and love will follow me

I love the idea of goodness and love following us around, a bit like 2 sheep dogs constantly there never letting us out of their sight.

For David, throughout this Psalm, there is this utter confidence [hence the word surely which precedes this phrase] in God and the way in which he will act. That the ways in which God guides, leads and provides in all circumstances serve to inspire David to give his all in response. So much so that he is able to proclaim that God’s goodness and love will follow him. To be recipients of someone’s goodness and love sounds like a real blessing, but when that someone is God, wow!

To state with certainty that the blessing of God will forever follow you is a remarkable thing to say and shows a depth of faith and relationship. But this is what God invites us into! He does not invite us to religious observation or conformity, but into a loving trusting relationship, where we can say with utter certainty along with David, in the light of all I know and have experienced, your goodness and love will follow me.

 

Dear Lord Jesus, may our faith in you be so strong, may we know you to the extent that we are able to proclaim that the blessing of God will constantly be with us. And then to live in the reality of what we have spoken.

Amen