Psalm 23 verse 3 He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Who is guiding our lives, or who are we following? Most people would answer no one, but in reality, we are all following someone or something. There are so called ‘influencers’ on the internet, who I am led to believe have millions of followers, who advertisers believe have an influence in those who follow them, and therefore pay them. Individuals are followed because they are famous, or trend setters or have something that others think is worth knowing about. Most influencers in this world are getting something out of it themselves, usually linked to either finance or ego, whether it is good for their followers or not.
God desires to guide us in life along right paths because he knows best. There are numerous verses in the Bible where it speaks of trusting in God, and numerous other verses where individuals and the nation of Israel fail to trust and reap the consequences. Over 20 times in the Gospels Jesus simply says, ‘follow me’, to those who responded he became their guide. Ultimately God does get something out of it though because it is ‘for his name’s sake’, he gets our thanks and praise, our worship and adoration.
I am reminded of the words of that old song, ‘Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey’.
Dear Lord Jesus, we pray that you will guide us through all that we are experiencing today, and in all that the future holds, as we trust and obey.
Psalm 33 Verse 12 ‘Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage.’
We have thought over previous days how God, the Living Lord not only revealed Himself through, but called the people and nation of Israel. What then of our nation, our land, and our people today? Do we yearn and pray that there would be a turning back to God; a returning to His ways; and a seeking after His heart. We know, and are grateful for a rich Christian heritage in this country. Our own Parish Church is testament to generations of faithful worshippers bearing witness to His love and goodness here. Of course we do, and must pray for the current crisis, for those who have lost loved ones and for a return to peace and health for us all. But let us also continue to cry out to God that from top to bottom, young and old alike, God’s Spirit would call hearts and minds back to Him…back home to our Heavenly Father.
Lord Jesus, we bow our knee and ask that your all powerful name would bring freedom and healing to our nation. Where there is despair please bring hope. Where there is pain, comfort. May you bless our land and our homes. May our happiness be founded in You.
James Ch 2 verses 1-5 My brothers and sisters, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” Have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts.
Have you ever felt you have been treated unfairly? Perhaps in childhood at home or school, or in a work situation or in some of the clubs or groups we might be in? Of course I’m sure we all have and perhaps can still feel how we felt at the time.
It’s also easy for us to treat or talk to someone differently according to how we perceive them. Probably without realising it at the time, but maybe later we can think that perhaps we should have been nicer, more co operative etc.
Today more than ever, we should behave the same way to everyone, because we are all God’s children. Let’s also speak out if we see unfairness in the situations we find ourselves in and try and achieve justice for all
Lord, thank you that you do not discriminate and you died and rose again for us all. Help us guard our mouths from unkind and unfair comments and show your compassion and love to all.
Psalm 23 verse 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley
I am struck by the words ‘I walk’, because they seem to signify to me that there is a tacitadmission that there are times when we walk in places that God has not guided us into. This contrasts with verse 3 and the idea of God guiding along right paths. We all have a propensity to walk in the ways that we think are best, just like sheep that wander off thinking that the grazing is better elsewhere. We get drawn away following all manner of things, relationships, a desire for material gain, work, and other things, and often they are not bad in themselves.
The issue is that we take our eyes off the guide and we walk off and can suddenly find ourselves in places we never meant to be, sometimes those places are dark and forbidding. For many of us to get back on the right path means recognising that we have wandered off by our own choices, and to ask God to lead us once again. We often think we know best, but history, age and experience tell me that this is rarely true.
Dear Lord Jesus, help me to keep my eyes on you, not to wander from the path you have set before me, and where I find that I have wandered, to be humble enough to confess my failings and to call upon the Good Shepherd to lead me once more.
Luke Ch 4 Verses 38-end. Verse 39 ‘Then [Jesus] stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.’
As we take a moment to read and pray, let us look up to Jesus, who showed His authority on earth, as the Son of God. He is Lord of Creation: He stilled the storm on the lake. He is Lord over evil spirits (verse 41): He commanded them to come out. He is Lord and has authority over sickness (verse 39) and has defeated sin and death on the cross. As we approach Him now, as King, Lord and Saviour: let us also know that He longs to welcome and receive us in His arms. He longs for us to give Him all our burdens, prayers and desires. Let us come as we are. He is able.
Lord, we bring before you those we know who are sick, awaiting treatment, facing delays in care and those supporting and caring for loved ones. We pray for Doctors, nurses and all healthcare staff under increased pressure and strain. Lord Jesus, bring your love, healing and blessing.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord
Does life feel out of control or have no meaning at the moment. It’s hard waiting isn’t it?
In the Old Testament The Israelites waited 400 years for God to deliver them out of slavery from Egypt. Then when they did get rescued God didn’t take them direct to the Promised Land. There other times in the Bible before things promised by God, happened. David had to wait an extremely long time after he was anointed by Samuel before he became King.
Waiting can lead to disappointment and frustration.
But God’s timeline is different to ours. Waiting is never wasted by God. It is usually a time of preparation for his plans. Waiting can help us focus on God’s faithfulness.
Let’s wait and see where God takes us after the restrictions of Covid 19 are gradually lifted.
Heavenly Father, Thank you that waiting is never wasted by you. Help us to be patient and to trust in your faithfulness. Lead us forward into the unknown future, praising you and holding onto your guiding hand.
Exodus Ch 25 verse 1 ‘The Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give you shall receive the offering for me.’
It has been a privilege to hear about the times over the years that people connected to Wath Parish Church and in particular it’s congregation, have felt ‘prompted’ in faith to give. Examples include major repairs, articles in memory of loved ones or regular faithful giving towards the work and mission of God’s church in this place. Let us be encouraged: God sees all that we give in His service…so often rightly unseen by others but to the glory of God. What, in our more limited capacity today, as we wait on God…do we hear or feel Him ‘prompting’ us to do. Might it be a simple phone call, a message, a prayer. God can use our meagre offerings…they may be the blessing someone else receives and is in need of.
Lord, help us to listen and respond to your gentle prompting in our lives. May we ever be your hands and feet in this place, in this time. May those we touch today receive your love and blessing.