Psalm 127 verse 1 ‘Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.’
This and the accompanying verses made me realise this morning how our repeated prayers around the virus and its effects are so important at this time. I was in danger I think of going through the motions! Actually, more than ever, our cries to God in prayer are vital. People in need all around, those on the edge of despair, our community and nation: it is our duty yes, but also our calling as the people of God to uphold and bring all before the heavenly throne of grace. We as His children rightly put God our Father first in our lives. Our prayers today are for a turning back to Him, for His care and protection and for His mercy and power to ‘watch over’ and ‘guard’ us and ours in this time of national emergency.
O God our Father, we pray for your protection and safe-keeping over each of us this day. Give grace, strength and wisdom to all who are working to combat and tackle the cause and effects of the current virus outbreak. We turn to you and trust you, now and always.
John Ch 14 verses 16-17 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
As I look at the events unfolding in the daily news on TV, I think there is no wonder that the world is so full of despair. People are generally appalled by how so-called humans behave towards others.
As a person looking through a Christian lens, don’t you see that those people of the world who are making the news are unable to receive God within themselves because they only see what they desire, something they have not got?
And what terrible things they do, trying to change the future.
Jesus tells us that God the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of truth – is with us and will live in us, and the only action required of us is to believe in Him.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us poor sinners. Being born into the world means we start off earthly life living by its ways, and it can take a while for us to believe that the massive transformation that comes through knowing you, is brought about simply by believing in you.
Help open our minds so that we listen to the still, quiet voice within and despite our weaknesses, grow that belief that you really are here, now and always will be.
Phil Ch 3 verses 12-14 Not that I have already obtained this…….but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own……..but this one thing I do; forget what is behind me and strain forwards to what lies ahead. I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
I don’t know if you made any New Year resolutions. I didn’t! It seemed enough to try and stay afloat in this tricky Covid 19 lockdown world of ours.
But then up pops Paul with his seemingly endless zeal and enthusiasm for growth and development.
It is exhausting to read when you are down or plodding along. But at the same time it is inspiring don’t you think?
Paul is reminding us that alongside the reality of today (and the persecution of his day) we have a hope of life in Christ for the now and the hope of life with Christ after we die. A new heaven and a new earth to look forward to! And boy do we need a new heaven and earth, where Jesus is King and everyone worships him. Paul knew that true joy is found through becoming more and more like Christ, however hard the road!
Lord Jesus we praise for your presence with us day and night, We praise you for the life you give us. Help us to continue to live in you and strive for a closer walk with you.
Psalm 24 verses 3 – 4 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
Many years ago I was in a Church that split, with a number of people leaving to go to another Church because of a disagreement, which in hindsight was not such a big issue, but probably could have been handled better. On reflecting on the situation some weeks after the split this very verse came to mind and helped me to make sense of the situation.
You see there were some people who undoubtably had their hearts in the right place and wanted the best outcome, but their actions and what they said seemed questionable. Whilst there were others whose actions and words seemed faultless, but whose motives were questionable. Some had pure hearts, we might call these motives, whilst others had clean hands, we might call these actions, but neither group had both, clean actions from pure motives.
Having one without the other lays us open to the accusation of being hypocrites, of either having unscrupulous motives or questionable actions.
If we are to ascend to the presence of God then we need pure clean hearts, where our motive is to honour God and to love our neighbour as ourselves, and then to act in accordance with those motives, and none other. Anything that seeks to honour ourselves is nothing other than idolatry.
Dear Lord Jesus, cleanse our hearts, remove all that is of self and that seeks to project our egos, and may all that we say and do be to your glory and honour.
Isaiah Ch 64 verse 1 ‘Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!’
I guess we have all heard people say; ‘if only God would prove Himself…then I would believe’ or something along those lines! Perhaps these sentiments are echoed in the words from Isaiah above, where the writer’s desire is actually that the name of the Living Lord would be lifted up and that the world would see and know for sure that He is the only God. Our simple yet hard hitting and definite response should always be however that He has given us all we need to glimpse, see and understand. We just need to return to the Gospels, and find in the person of Jesus – His miracles, His words and most importantly His death and resurrection the open door to the Father in Heaven. He has spoken, He has come, He has made it possible by faith to follow through His resurrection to the Father’s side.
O Lord, every day we need you. Every person needs you. Our needy world needs you. Draw people by your Spirit we pray to meet with the Son Jesus who is living in His saints today.
John Ch 1 verses 4-5 “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Here is the news: there is war and starvation in Yemen, Christians are the most persecuted group in the world, and the Coronavirus pandemic continues to rage. The world we live in is full of pain and suffering.
If you take a moment to consider how, if negative thoughts get to you, you feel low, your body feels heavy and you lack energy.
However, if you think about the first verse above, can you see blessed meaning in the words? If you feel happy, you are full of energy – you come alive!
Happiness is temporary but the life that comes from knowing Jesus Christ is Lord is not dependent on the gifts of the material world.
Heavenly Father, encourage us by your Grace to reflect on your love for us and to feel that wonderful energy you give that enlivens and enables us to see that dark thoughts do not come from ourselves but from the world. May we practice giving thanks every day from when we wake up and until we sleep so that we come alive and stay alive in your Son, Jesus Christ.
Blessed is he who comes in name of the Lord!
Matthew Ch 10 verse 8 Freely you have received, freely give.
1 Cor Ch 6 verse 19 You are not your own!
Our life as Christians is a gift from God to us through the death of his Son Jesus. Jesus freely gave his life. He freely gave up all the glories of heaven. He did it because his nature is to love.
I don’t know how possessive you are of things that you acquired and bought and worked hard for. It is easy to think of everything that we have as ours. It is easy to forget that whatever money we have coming into our banks is not our own but God’s.
It is a habit of this world to try and get more of all sorts of things. But as the verse in Corinthians reminds us, we as Christians now belong to Jesus. Everything we have is a blessing to us but it is not our own.
When we see that everything we have is not our own somehow it makes it so much easier to be generous with ourselves and our possessions. Jesus would want us to use his gifts to help others. I’ve been quite moved by the plight of others during this pandemic. God has moved me to be more generous than usual to these people.
Listen to your own heart and what Jesus might be moving you to do with everything that he has given you.