Psalm 57 verse 1. ‘I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.’
David wrote this Psalm as he was being pursued by King Saul who had become jealous of him even to the point of wanting to kill him. We today have this deep cavernous resource which is the Psalms which speak into many a human emotion and experience; helping us to approach the same living God using the same words David and others penned. What may be the disaster facing us today? Yes a highly infectious virus; Yes so many now facing now real hardships as a result; Yes illness, sickness and isolations. As David was able to say in his darkest times, so can we echo these words as a statement, a declaration and a prayer: ‘I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings.’
Almighty God – God of mercy and truth. Help us be all the more eager to do what we can, say all we can and trust all we can to point others to the shelter of your wings.
1 John Ch 3 verse 7. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
I wondered at the last phrase and the context in which it sits.
I know from my own experience that I tend to form a picture of myself, based on my past. There are many things I’m not happy about, and they merge into a belief that “I am this or that”.
I wonder if you are somebody who tends to be defined by your past?
However, rather than being defined by who you were, you could be, in each moment as it unfolds, defined by who you are.
Do you see? That “even as he is righteous” means “in the act of doing”.
Another aspect of this is that when we are fully aware of what we are doing, we have much less chance of making mistakes, or better still: much more chance of achieving our goals. Awareness is happening right now.
Lord, the giver of life, help us to notice when we start to dwell in the past. Bring us back to the now so that we can encounter your Holy presence, enjoy your love and be the best that we can.
We ask this in Jesus’ name.
Psalm 136 verse 1. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever
If you have the time, read the whole of the psalm. Do you remember saying the chorus of this psalm, many times on Sunday? it certainly is a good way of reinforcing the fact that the Lord’s love for you/us/the world endures forever. The material things of lives, our circumstances etc do not endure for ever. Our love for people may ebb and flow, or disappear but one thing we can be sure of is God’s love endures forever. He is faithful. He is eternal. God is love
Praise you Lord for your everlasting love.
1 Kings Ch 18 verse 26. ‘Then they [the prophets of Baal] called on the name of Baal from morning till noon…But there was no response; no-one answered.’
This is a key passage in the Old Testament where the only prophet left alive of the Living God – Elijah – is pitted against four hundred and fifty false prophets. The king of Israel at that time, Ahab (and wife Jezebel), in chapter 16 is described as: ‘Ahab…did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.’ We think our generation is in a state!
Here at this moment and recorded for ever more, that we might also believe and know, God the Almighty displays His awesome power by breathing down fire and answering Elijah’s call for the people to decide once for all who they will worship.
As we read this incredible account ourselves, may we be in no doubt: our God is the only Lord. There are no Gods before Him. What a priceless gift of faith we are given – to be the ones today who obediently follow, worship and know Him.
Oh Lord God; how great thou Art! May we be those of whom Jesus said to Thomas: ‘…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ Amen.
Romans Ch 1 verse 1. Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle
In many of his letters to the various Churches of Asia minor Paul refers to himself as a servant. Even though he personally brought the gospel message to some of these places and established the first Christian communities there.
Servants in those times really were servants, they had to do whatever was asked of them, it most certainly was not like ‘Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey’! Yet Paul says that he is the servant of the Churches he wrote to, and that in coming to visit them his priority was to serve them. This approach stands in contrast to the attitude of many Christian leaders today, some of whom feel that it is their right to prosper and are authoritarian in their leadership.
Christian leaders are set apart to be shepherds of the flock, whose primary concern is to care for, encourage and protect the flock, basically to serve. We do this under the leadership of Jesus, who, ‘came not to be served but to serve’.
Dear Lord Jesus, help all those whom you have called to serve in your Church to follow your example, to be humble, and to seek above all the growth and blessing of the flock who they are given oversight over.
Mark Ch 12 verse 31. “And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
I wonder how many of us ponder on the different meanings in the sayings of Jesus. He talks often in parables, using metaphor and imagery, and here is a direct commandment: one of the two where he says “on which hang all the law and the prophets”.
Here he tells us to love our neighbour, and “as thyself”.
We all know that we are called to love others, but myself, I’ve often fallen short of what is required in this, and had a sense I didn’t have enough [whatever] to do the job properly. At times, I have put myself first, and at other times, last. In the latter case I have felt cross and frustrated with my poor efforts and sadly, been unkind to myself. Perhaps in being unloving towards myself, I went against God’s Holy laws.
Looking at the commandment again, since it is also likely that my neighbour is also imperfect, it seems to speak to me, saying I must love myself too – as imperfect.
Heavenly Father, Creator-God, help us to see that as you love us just as we are, so we should try to do that too, and love our neighbours as they are. Remind us of your all-conquering love for all mankind in acts of kindness, so, in keeping your commandments, we find the peace that comes from knowing we might please you.
In the name of Christ,
Hebrews Ch 10 verses 23-25. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, ….but let us encourage one another.
I don’t know about you but as the days draw in, and the weather becomes more changeable and the Covid 19 virus still plays havoc with the world I can feel my spirit slowly sinking. I’m sure this is the same for many, many people the world over. It becomes harder to hang on in there doesn’t it?
So it becomes all the more important that we hold to our faith, however weakly, and continue to support those who are finding it the hardest. An encouraging phonecall here, an email there, an offer to do something practical. Whatever it takes let us continue to love, support and pray for each other.
Heavenly Father, you created us and you know our inmost being. Enable us all to continue to gain light and life from your sustaining power.