Psalm 50 verse 15 ‘…call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honour me.’
As this Psalm encourages us to do in the previous verse, let us be thankful – and today for the incredible advances made with so many being vaccinated. Throughout this period of world turmoil and upset, God’s people have prayed and cried out to God. We have been moved to pray for those whose loved ones have been lost, whose way of life turned upside down, and for so many in serious need. Let us continue to pray, and give thanks for the efforts of so many, paid and unpaid, who have helped distribute and enable clinics to vaccinate. Not forgetting the often unseen relief workers who bring much-needed relief in terms of food, provisions and care. Let us not grow weary now, to continue in prayer: especially against new variants of the virus, and for wisdom and discernment for leaders and lawmakers to steer this country and our districts towards a brighter future.
Lord, we do call upon you today. Bring protection, help for the most needy and relief from these days of trouble. We remember and praise you for you alone are the ‘Mighty One, God, the Lord.’
Psalm 48 verse 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
In a world where everything revolves around time, how do we begin to understand ‘forever and ever’? Plus, how do we reconcile that phrase with ‘even to the end’, they sound incompatible.
As I read this verse the first line speaks to me of eternity, whilst the second line speaks to me of life being transitory. The transitory nature of life is that it will one day end for each of us, but we can know God’s loving guidance with us as we journey to the end. With the end being death, we then move beyond that ‘phase’ into eternity.
It is here that our minds begin to struggle, this is because we are linear people, things have beginnings and endings, from life to books, to films to virtually everything I can think of. But what about if ‘forever and ever’, or eternity is a place outside of time, and the words ‘forever and ever’ are only there to try and help us understand that beyond death time ceases to exist?
If this is true then we are just ‘with God’ eternally, which is difficult for us to begin to understand, but what makes us think that we can know and understand everything about God?
What is important is that we allow this God to guide us through this transitory life, that at the end he might welcome us into eternity.
Dear Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see your glory, and to trust in your guiding hand, that one day we may hear you say, ‘well done good and faithful servant’.
Psalm 72 verse 19 Praise be to his glorious name for ever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
What a great prayer of the psalmist! He is so filled with praise for God that he prays for the whole earth to be filled with God’s glory.
When we think of the world at the moment it is filled with many troubles. Not only do we have a pandemic but we still have wars and famines that do not get reported. We have an unfair distribution of wealth where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The world although an amazing place is in a fallen state. If it makes us weep, think how God must feel!
Let’s pray for God’s justice and a revealing of his glory in this world. And let us praise God more in our own lives as we consider his gift of Jesus and his gift of grace and love in our lives.
We praise you, Heavenly Father. Reveal your glory and majesty to this world not only in people’s lives but in nations as a whole too! Show your love and mercy we pray.
John Ch 5 verse 24 ‘I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.’
Another of the promises spoken by Jesus: He is seen here answering the Jews, many of whom were seeking to do away with Him. Why? Because He was seen here healing a man, and that on the Sabbath day. Perhaps many of those who Jesus spoke to did not understand, were disbelieving or were just too full of rage and hate to be open to His words of life. As we hear these words from the Son of God, sent to love and save the world, may we hear and be open to their truth and be led by them to ‘eternal life’. May we also rejoice today, as hearers and believers of Him who transformed and healed this invalid who was told to ‘get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ (v.8)
Thank you, Jesus, for in you we have ‘crossed over from death to life.’ Thank you for all who have died in faith and we pray today for those who suffer daily with chronic conditions and who may struggle with constant pain and infirmity.
Mark Ch 5 verse 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[b] how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
We all have a story to tell of our faith, for some of us it is a quite dramatic story and for others, it is less dramatic but no less powerful. For some people, their coming to believe in Jesus is a process that evolves over time, whilst for others, it is a moment in time when faith just explodes into life and the transformation is instantaneous.
The man in this story had just encountered Jesus in a remarkable way, his life had been transformed, from someone living amongst the tombs who had been chained and shackled, into a rational cohesive human being. His desire is to follow Jesus, to probably join the band of disciples, but Jesus tells the man to go to his own people and tell them what has happened. Upon going back home the response of the people is amazement.
This has been my experience on numerous occasions, that when I have told my story of coming to faith there has been real interest and genuine questions. Most people think that religion is dull and boring, full of order, strict guidelines, and numerous lists of what we cannot do, and there is some truth there! But when they encounter a living breathing person who just tells them of the changes that faith has made to their lives, or about the transformation that they have experienced, then it usually provokes a different response.
Who are the people in your circle of friends, your ‘own people’, who you have never told of your journey of faith or how it has affected your life? Those are the people that God wants us to speak to, not about the wonderful Curate or beautiful building, but about what God has done for you, maybe they will be amazed too.
Dear Lord Jesus, open up conversations that will allow us to speak with honesty of the ways in which you have worked in and through us.
1 Peter Ch 5 verse 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
God’s voice cannot be heard sometimes because of our own preconceptions of who God is or what God is prepared to do for us. We are sometimes reluctant to tell him our concerns because we think they are a burden to him or perhaps he does not care. We are sometimes worried about the words that we say in prayer, that the words of our prayer somehow are not right.
Peter is saying here that we can cast all our anxiety on Jesus simply because He cares for us. It’s as simple as that! Our prayer does not have to be a good technical prayer, all we need to do is cast it on Jesus any way we can. He cares for us deeply. He does not want us to have unnecessary burdens. We are his children. He wants us to have his shalom, his peace.
Lord Jesus, I cast the great burden of my anxiety on You because you are stronger than me and you care for me deeply. Help me to take on board that you love me deeply and that you want to carry my burdens. Give me your peace.
Matthew Ch 5 verses 13 & 14 ‘You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.’
Sometimes when we read verses from the Bible, we can be jolted into hearing things afresh with a new realisation which can wake us up. Reading these words of Jesus again today, they had that effect on me. Those simple words repeated: ‘You are…’ made me realise again the influence, impact and importance we are to be in God’s world. As vessels of God’s love, as channels of God’s peace and with Christ shining out from each of us let us not forget that we are indeed salt and light in this dark world. So let us stand tall as His hands and feet, and confidently, yes boldly be the people God calls us to be.
O Lord, keep us salty and radiating the light of Christ in all we say and do. We pray that you Jesus, the light of the world, would dispel the darkness and gloom around us and bring new life and hope to those who see and receive your light.