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5 Powerful Prayers for
Restoration of a
Prayer 3 ~ Prayer to Restore
Systems of Injustice
“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds" declares the Lord, ”because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares."
We look for Your guidance and wisdom to restore and heal systems of injustice that continue to permeate our country and the world. Amidst racism, educational disparities, and healthcare inequalities, remind us of Your sovereignty. Unify where there is division and help us to view each other in the image of You. Forgive us for times that we have played any role in perpetuating systems of injustice, and soften our hearts to listen and hear from those who are different than us. Thank you for Your restorative power that can heal broken hearts, systems, and indifference. Teach how to continue to glorify You in our actions, attitudes, and minds.
In Jesus’ name,
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5 Powerful Prayers for
Restoration of a
Prayer 2 ~ Prayer to Restore
“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise”
Thank you for being a restorer of broken friendships, marriages, family divisions, and peers. As we surrender our inadequacies and shortcomings to you, you will intervene for us. Give us the wisdom and reassure us that you are our ultimate provider and will equip us with all we need to restore our broken relationships. Remind us that we cannot restore anything or any relationship without the power of the Holy Spirit. Provide us with a willing heart, patience, forgiveness, and strength to trust You with all aspects of restoring relationships. You are in control. Help us to seek Your Word and way for direction.
In Jesus’ name,
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5 Powerful Prayers for
Restoration of a
Prayer 1 ~ Prayer to Restore our Minds
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will”
When our minds are distracted and overwhelmed by our personal and societal circumstances, renew and restore our minds daily. During times when we cannot think clearly, strengthen and direct our minds to your Word for hope and encouragement. Help us to keep our minds focused on You. Restore mental clarity and balance when anxiety rises. Restore positive thoughts and affirmations in our minds so that we can be beacons of hope and love. Give us the courage and discipline to continually seek your Word to renew our minds.
In Jesus’ name,
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
A Prayer from Revd Barbara Glasson, the President of the Methodist Conference:
If we are ill, strengthen us.
If we are tired, fortify our spirits.
If we are anxious, help us to consider the lillies of the field and the birds of the air.
Help us not to stockpile treasures from supermarkets in the barns of our larders.
Don't let fear cause us to overlook the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves.
Fix our eyes on your story and our hearts on your grace.
Help us always to hold fast to the good,
See the good in others,
And remember there is just one world, one hope,
One everlasting love, with baskets of bread for everyone.
In Jesus we make our prayer,
The one who suffered, died and was raised to new life,
In whom we trust these days and all days,
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REFUGEE WEEK 2020 -
WHO IS YOUR NEIGHBOUR?
Here is a reflection for Refugee Week by Matt Forsyth, who part of the Churches Team at 'All We Can' (an international development and emergency relief organisation which is an integral part of the Methodist family).
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REFUGEE WEEK 2020 - HOPE
This reflection for Refugee Week is by Inderjit Bhogal, who is a Theologian and Methodist Minister. He is also a former President of the Methodist Conference.
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REFUGEE WEEK 2020
During this week we think and pray about refugees and migrants who have had to leave their homes, livelihoods and countries. An unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are children under the age of 18.
These are not just numbers, they are people, made in God’s image, like you and me. They are our neighbours.
All We Can, the Methodist Church in Britain and World Development & Relief are responding across the globe, enabling vulnerable communities to access the support they need. We are working to maintain essential health services, deliver soap and hygiene items and provide vital community healthcare education to Rohingya refugees living in the camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
THIS IS ALL WE CAN'S RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN REFUGEE CAMPS:
'God gives grace to the humble.'
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
HUMILITY & GRACE
I was reading my Bible recently when the phrase ‘God gives grace to the humble’ (Proverbs 3:34b) just jumped out. A couple of days later I could not remember where I had read it, so I popped it into Google. Immediately two scriptures were brought up:
‘God opposes the proud, but shows grace to the humble’ James 4:6
‘God opposes the proud, but shows grace to the humble’ 1 Peter 5:5
Then I remembered Jesus’ parable in Luke 18:9-14 when Jesus compares the prayers of a Pharisee and a tax collector. The former a pillar of the religious establishment and the latter a despised collaborator. The Pharisee, confident in his own righteousness, prayed ‘I am thankful I am not like other men, such as this tax collector, and I fast and tithe. The tax collector prayed ‘God have mercy on me a sinner’.
Jesus said ‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’
The Pharisee was full of himself, in other words he was full of pride. Here is a danger for us Christians, because we are in God’s family, we can become complacent, so overconfidence or self can creep in. The antidote to prevent this, is to keep focussed on our Lord Jesus and the immense debt we owe him. Thus, our prayer should be like the tax collector ‘Lord, have mercy on me’.
Now look at the benefit: grace! We can never earn or deserve grace, yet when we come to God humbly, we receive this wonderful gift. Being humble is a vital part of living according to the Spirit and not in the flesh.
May you continually experience the grace and favour of God.
John Parker June 2020
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REFLECTIONS FROM LOCKDOWN
The first 2 weeks of lock-down I was self-isolating due to Coronavirus-like symptoms. Friends, family and church were most helpful. In shopping, phoning up to see how I was and praying for me. I thank God for you all.
When I was better, and able to go out once again, I experienced such freedom, particularly on my walks. Everywhere was so peaceful. No noise of traffic. You could hear the birds sing clearly. The weather was sunny and clear, making the countryside so beautiful and picturesque. And all this, on my door-step. I felt what a wonderful God we have! Creating all this. Has He given us this time to appreciate what He has done? Has he given us time to be with our close families more? Even so, this may be difficult for some? It`s as though He wants us to be more intimate with Him. Communication between neighbours have been better, especially on the 75th Anniversary of VE Day and on walks.
Being single has its advantages, in that you can do what you want when you want, like catching up with programmes I had recorded ages ago on TV. In lock-down, you find you rely on God being your friend/house-mate leading you in your plans for you for the day. What is helpful for me are the Zoom meetings, being able to see everyone on Sunday services – thank God for technology. I also found the virtual Spring Harvest on YouTube helpful, when first thing in the morning I joined in the devotional by Pete Greig which I enjoyed. Then I found that the Prayer course we are doing on Wednesday evenings is by the same person and, oh I find him so easy to listen to and his book so easy to read – well recommended. The prayer meetings on Thursdays are special too. It`s another time to see everyone and pray for our church, one another, other situations and being close to our God.
The disadvantages of lock-down are being on one`s own if you are unwell – there is no-one there to make you a cup of tea! I particularly miss my singing with the choir and the worship band. I do occasionally play my recorder but it is not the same. Some songs come into my head, especially lately this old hymn “Near my God to Thee” which can be found on YouTube by various singers/choirs. Although a funeral-type hymn, it helps us to con-template death, whether physically, spiritually i.e. death to self, in a more positive way. I again think God is asking us to be more intimate with Him. I also miss walking with my rambling group, where I can go further afield, do longer walks and have social contact with others.
I hope this lock-down will come to an end soon. And, God willing, a vaccine/cure can be found quickly. Virtual contact is fine but there is nothing to beat face-to-face connections in the flesh. In the meantime, let us keep together, phone a person or two a day to wish them well, and take care, keep safe and God bless.
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Every so often over the last few weeks, I have felt a sense of tremendous loneliness even when I’m with my family. The weight of global events and the uncertainty of the current situation has borne down on me in a way that I have found hard to discuss at home and has brought a sense of being isolated with my thoughts and fears.
It is in these times that I have brought to mind the promise made by the risen Jesus to His disciples before His ascension to heaven - ‘remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28.20). This promise is made by God again and again in the Bible - ‘Fear not, for I am with you’ (Isaiah 41.10), ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ (Hebrews 13.5). We are even promised that there is nothing in creation that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8.38-39).
It is a helpful and wondrous thing to remember that no matter what is happening to us, no matter how lonely we feel, we are never alone - God is with us always. I hope and pray that this knowledge can bring comfort and encouragement today.
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
At the end of his gospel, Luke gives an account of 2 of Jesus`s followers talking with a stranger as they walked to Emmaus. Later they recognised that the stranger was actually the risen Jesus! `Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road while He opened up the Scriptures?!` (Luke 24:32) They were so impacted and on fire that, though it was nearly dark, they rushed back to Jerusalem to broadcast the wonderful news that Jesus was alive – they had seen him!
John Wesley had his heart strangely warmed when he went reluctantly to an evening meeting in Aldersgate on the 24th May 1738. What had caused that? Listening to someone read Luther`s `Preface to the Epistle to the Romans`. It was a revelation to John and unlocked the very essence of the gospel of salvation contained in Paul`s letter to the Romans. No longer was John merely a methodical, faithful, driven, believer but he had a personal assurance of his salvation in his heart by a touch of the Holy Spirit. And this through hearing familiar Scripture opened-up/explained in a new way.
When anointed preachers or teachers open up God`s word it can be transformational. Having come to faith in my early 30`s I was always hungry to absorb Scripture – God`s word really was my `daily bread`. A few years later, when Miriam was about 5 or 6, we started going to Easter People (A Christian annual Conference held at the seaside). At one such event I was listening to the evening preacher from a packed balcony and I could feel myself getting all warm inside. When he gave an appeal at the end for anyone who wanted to receive the Holy Spirit, I knew that was for me. I had to battle along the row and down the stairs and join the many people going forward. When prayed for – the tears came, tears of joy and assurance. What a blessing! One which opened a new door in my relationship with Jesus.
God`s word tells us that He loves to give His Holy Spirit to those who ask; it follows on from the `Ask, seek and knock` verses in Luke 11.
I mentioned that Romans is a book about Salvation. It is also one which highlights the Holy Spirit, who of course is part of our Salvation.
Romans 5:5 `God has poured his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.`
Romans 8:15 `For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship,. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father”
In our Zoom worship on 31st May Ollie shared what an impact it had on him hearing a Christian worship song which contains the words “I am a child of God”. Listen to it now and let God minister to you. Any questions? Please get in touch.
Love, joy & peace by yours in the name of the Lord Jesus.
DID NOT OUR HEARTS BURN WITHIN US
O Thou who camest from above
The pure celestial fire to impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love
On the mean altar of my heart!
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
The National Methodist Choir in Great Britain have set up something called 'Virtual Church Choir' and are inviting people from across the globe from any Church denomination and background to join together in worshipping God virtually!
Watch the following videos to get a taste! The first video is an introduction to the song and the second video is the song itself!
DAY 11 ~ PENTECOST
On the Day of Pentecost, God sent His Holy Spirit, as Helper and Comforter, and enabled the disciples to proclaim – in different languages – the wonders of God so that people from all nations could understand.
This shows us that the Spirit of God is present for every situation. When we share our faith with our friends, we can ask the Spirit to help us ‘translate’ the good news of God’s love so that they can understand how it affects them in their situation.
At Pentecost we remember that the Holy Spirit is living in us. Let’s not get too used to that amazing fact! What a privilege we have. The Spirit awakens us to the love God has for us and helps us to love others.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?
Holy Spirit, thank You that You are living in me, showing me God’s love and helping me share that love with others.
The next time you have an opportunity to share your faith and talk about the love of Jesus, consciously remind yourself that the Holy Spirit lives within you.
DAY 10 ~ SILENCE
Silence has always been a big part of spiritual practice, but many have never tried it!
Solitude and silence can help us hear from God, because we can easily lose sensitivity to that still, small voice in all the noise and activity of our lives. In silence, you realise how little you hear that voice at other times.
Silence can be hard. Life is busy and finding a space and time for silence can be difficult. You have a thousand thoughts, like “what’s for dinner?”! But the beauty of silence is that it’s not God speaking through someone else, such as in a sermon or a Christian book, but God speaking directly to you.
He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:11-13
Try silent prayer for five minutes – even if it’s difficult! Make a note afterwards of anything God seemed to say to you, through thoughts or feelings that came into your mind.
DAY 9 ~ CELEBRATE
How joyful God is when He welcomes
us back. We can have such skewed ideas
of God as if He is an angry dictator or fault-finding headteacher. But actually,
God is love and His attitude towards us is compassion and grace. Even when we are far from Him, He is willing to run and meet us, the way this father did.
Look how it says, ‘But while he was still
far off ’ – the father didn’t wait for the son to come all the way to him, but he went and made up the distance. God does that. God doesn’t just wait – He comes out to us in His love and He stretches His arms in welcome.
God is stretching His arm out right now, moving down the road waiting for your friends to come home.
So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
Loving God, please get my friends on the road where they see You running to meet them. Thank You that You welcome us with joy however far or however long we have been away.
Think of how you have been hurt by someone, or disagreed with them. How could you reach out and meet them where they are, just as Jesus does for us?
DAY 8 ~ ADORE
We expect there must be something that can separate us from the love of God. But God is saying, ‘I don’t care where you are, what you’re doing, how far away you are: my love for you will not change.’ Sometimes we think that God’s love is dependent on the way we act. But God is saying, ‘Listen, not even the heights of this earth could separate me or stop me from loving you.’ Christianity is first a relationship with God through Jesus, not first a series of activities!
The love of God is ultimately expressed in the Cross of Christ, which stands for all time as the sign and assurance of God’s unchanging love.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Loving God, thank You for Your love from which nothing can separate us, and which does not depend on our efforts. Please reveal this love and the peace it brings, in the lives of the five people I am praying for.
Think about how you can show someone that they are loved and known by God.
DAY 7 ~ HELP
When St John says, ‘Dear children’ he’s speaking to everyone, all the children of God. He says we shouldn’t just say we
love people if we’re not doing anything to show that love – that if we have material possessions and yet we don’t show any pity for our brother or sister – how is that love? Not to say that that’s the only way to love people, but that’s a very practical way to love people. How generous are we as Christians? How caring are we as Christians? How hospitable are we as Christians, especially when it is not in our self-interest?
If we don’t act, it’s almost as if we think we deserve to be in a better position because it’s only by God’s grace that we’re not in the position of the one in need. Jesus himself says: ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Everything that we do to people, we do as if we do it to Christ.
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
1 John 3:16-18
Loving God, thank You for Your costly love. Please may my five friends understand something of the strength of Your love for them. Help us to use our resources well.
How could you use what you already have to show others how alive and active the love of Jesus is?
DAY 6 ~ PRAY FOR
What would the world be like if everybody loved each other? Imagine that! Of course love is difficult because our human nature, although capable of great love, is imperfect. Our selfishness keeps getting in the way. The Christian church is called to be a community of acceptance, forgiveness and love. This is not a cheap, easy, rose-tinted, naïve love. It is the stuff of revolution. As Mother (St) Theresa said, ‘I only love God as much as I love the person I love the least’. It is only possible with the Father’s love, Christ’s example and the Spirit’s power. And God teaches us to love as we pray.
To pray is to love.
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:7
Loving God, help me to know You more. Through knowing You, may I show You more and love as You love. Please show Your love to my five friends – through me and others who love You.
How could you remind yourself to pray for your five friends? Could you set an alarm on your phone every day to pray that they may come to know your Jesus’ love?
DAY 5 ~ OFFER
The loving God pursues us. He leaves the ninety-nine to find the one. From a rational perspective, He would do better to guard his ninety-nine and forsake the one that He’s lost because that would be more profitable. But actually, God’s love doesn’t seek profit – every individual sheep is worth pursuing.
Sometimes we can be exclusive about the people that we want to show love and care to. In verse 2 we read: ‘the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them”’.
But the Jesus that we claim to follow had
no requirement for those he ate with. The sinners and the tax collectors were people that he came to find. Jesus went to Matthew’s house – Matthew the tax collector – to have dinner with him. Jesus went out of his way to spend time to eat with a group of people whom society rejected.
In the same way, Jesus left Heaven and came down, not only to dine with us but also to die for us. He has done everything to find us.
'Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
Loving God, thank You for coming to find us with Your love. Please reveal your love and peace to my friends.
Depending on where you are in the world, you may not be able to invite loved ones to church. But church was never a building, but the people of God. Therefore, in what ways can we leave our comfort zone and imitate Jesus by reaching out to them?
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
hat an amazing time of year this is. On Thursday 21st it was Ascension Day when we remember that 40 days after the resurrection (Easter Day) Jesus ascended and went into heaven. Before he left, he told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them. This happened 10days later at Pentecost, which is on 31st May. “Pente” being the Latin for 5, and we get words like pentangle meaning 5 sided. Next week I will write about Pentecost. This week however, there are two other important dates, but this time for Methodism. 21st May 1738 Charles Wesley became a Christian. Three days later on 24th May John his brother, and the better known of the two, had an experience which he wrote of in his journal saying “Heavy-hearted, I reluctantly attended a group meeting that evening in a Moravian chapel on Aldersgate Street in London. It was there, while someone was reading from Martin Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, that I felt that my heart was "strangely warmed". I felt I did trust, Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins.”
At the time John Wesley was 35 years old and an ordained priest in the Church of England. John had a head knowledge of the Bible and of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but he had never had an encounter with Jesus, never asked Jesus into his life, never asked for salvation and for the forgiveness of his sins. What happened was a transforming of his life when he came into the personal relationship with God, through Christ Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. He was born again, not as the Bible tells us in John 1:12-13 “Yet to all who receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but of God.” Born again, for some people is a very contentious concept. Jesus talks about being born again in John 3:3-8 when talking with Nicodemus.
“In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”” How can a man be born again when he is already old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born.” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So, it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John and Charles Wesley (Charles was the hymn writer) went on to found Methodism and were extremely influential in the 18th century, all because the Holy Spirit blessed them and they were “born again” in into God’s family and in serving Jesus they served the people of their day.
This year Pentecost and John Wesley’s conversion day fall together symbolically illustrating
the power and the importance of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. For without the Holy Spirit we are just doing “things” in our own power, perhaps important and necessary “things” but with the Holy Spirit directing and guiding us our works take on more relevance and are part of God’s plan for this world. The lives of the Wesley brothers and all who before them and all who have come after them have shown this.
Friends, are you “Born again”?
Are you filled with the Holy Spirt?
Would you like to know that your sins are forgiven?
They can be if you ask Jesus into your life. Try it. It does work.
Please get in contact if you have questions, phone Sheila on 01695 628033
Sheila MacInally (Queens Hall Mission Minister)
DAY 4 ~ SORRY
What’s beautiful about the Christian story is that God loved us before we came to
the realisation that we’re not perfect or righteous in our own strength, and before we turned to accept His love.
The love of God we see shown in countless Bible stories comes from a broken heart.
It is a love for someone which feels like an ache in the pit of the stomach. The kind of love which would do anything, however irrational it may seem to others, to find what is lost. As we shall read in tomorrow’s reflection, it is the love which risks everything for the sake of one who is lost.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
Loving God, I am sorry for the times when I have not loved others as You love. Thank You that, before I thought of confessing, You had forgiven me. I confess all that is not right in my life today and ask for the forgiveness You so lovingly give. May this love transform my friends’ lives also.
During this week, how can I lay aside something important to me, so as to better serve one of my friends?
DAY 3 ~ THANKS
It is so powerful that even when we didn’t know God and didn’t really care about God, He loved us. He doesn’t love us because we do things right or dislike us because we do things wrong. The revolution of His love for us is that it can’t be earned. He just loves us. It is a pure gift.
In the same way God loves us before we knew it, He works for all whether they know it or not. God is working in everyone’s life. Some people see it, some people don’t. God’s love acts for all – but what God wants more than anything is for us to recognise it and welcome it. The calling of Christians
is to be those who point out how God is already at work in their lives; it is a calling to be channels, not creators of God’s love.
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins... We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4.9-10, 19
Loving God, thank You that before we loved You, You loved us first. We recognise Your love for us today and choose to love You too. Thank You for my friends. Please open my friends’ eyes to Your love and action for them.
It is easy to take people for granted. Are there ways today that you can demonstrate to those you are praying for how grateful you are for them being in your life?
DAY 2 ~ PRAISE
Love is lived out. Love is not just a declaration. It is commitment in action. That God feels love for us is absolutely amazing. It is humbling. He’s always seeking to shape our lives by His love and he’s patient and kind with us.
One thing that God can really challenge
us on is whether our Christian lives show something different which is worth living for. If there’s nothing that looks particularly necessary or attractive about being a Christian, then what’s the point? We should go out of our way to try and demonstrate God to as many people as we can, not just in our prayers but in our actions and in our praise to Him. We should be loving people and full of God’s goodness, joy and grace. They may not call it ‘God’ at the time, but there’s something special about you which is your relationship with God. The fruit of that relationship is a loving nature.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13.4-7
Loving God, thank You for the way You love us. Please help me by the power of Your Holy Spirit to love as You love, so that my five people may come to know You.
In the next few weeks, how could you share the joy and love that we can find in Jesus with one of your friends?
DAY 1 ~ JESUS
John 3.16 is one of the best-known verses in the Bible because it emphasises God’s love for everyone. Jesus didn’t just love those who are easy to love, He loved the people who hated Him, who despised Him; He loved the people that others looked down on. He didn’t just love some people – He loved the whole world.
This speaks about the action that God took to show His love towards us – it shows us how love is an active word. God loved us so much that He chose to send His beloved child for us. Not because of anything that we did, not because we deserved it; but because He’s a loving God. God’s love is selfless and sacrificial and shows us what we are worth to Him. If God can love anyone, the least we can do is to do the same.
'For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.'
Loving God, thank You that You gave Your Son Jesus for me, and for all people. Help me accept the love that You showed me in sending Your Son. I pray for my five friends. Please open their hearts to Your love. And teach me to love more truly.
Ask yourself: is there anyone that comes to mind who God may be bringing to your attention?
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
a word in time
He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
I am writing this reflection towards the end of the second week of the 2020 coronavirus lockdown in the UK. This is a challenging time for our nation and the world, a time of massive upheaval in what normal life looks like for us all. Priorities have changed immensely whether that be in the home, with family, in work or in being or knowing one or may of the amazing key workers. Our social interaction has changed overnight to the majority of the population being at home for the foreseeable future, interacting only by phone or online and to only leave home for necessary shopping or exercise. Keeping ourselves up to date with the news or how these changes to life are 'flattening the curve’ and the numbers of lives lost becoming more incomprehensible each day.
The psalmist in Psalm 40 describes a desolate pit and miry bog that could easily be likened to our current situation in the UK, a time of separation from personal interaction with friends and family, a trauma and grief that we are currently experiencing as a nation whilst life and sometimes work ploughs on. However, as the psalmist recognises, there's a step change in setting our feet upon the rock and making our steps secure in our trust in God and the amazing humanity he created, and this will put a new song in our mouths. A song that in my mind that has been expressed, through the medium of clapping and the banging pots and pans, unifying our country in its appreciation for NHS and other key workers by applauding them our homes on a Thursday evening. This outpouring of love and appreciation for people risking their lives on a daily basis to look after those in need in this difficult time gave me the same feeling as F1 commentator Murray Walker when he said "I’ll have to stop because I’ve got a lump in my throat" and is a new song on the hearts of the population who’s priorities have changed almost overnight.
To reflect on the Singing the Faith song for today "Walk in the light", the good that God is bringing out of this unprecedented situation in my mind is one of unity, even if the journey to faith for many some may be slow, the changing of priorities and focus, we as Christians will pray, is one that we trust God will work in people's hearts to revel his love shown to use through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
George Dixon-Gough, ONE Programme Development Officer
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
In this time of crisis it is good to know that the best is yet to come! The weather has been lovely throughout most of the last nine weeks and looks set to continue, especially now the “lockdown” is gradually being relaxed. Summer is around the corner, the days have lengthened and hope is a very present expectation that life might return soon to some sort of normality.
Revelation 22:12 says, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”
The final chapters of the Bible answer conclusively all those who have asked throughout history, “Why doesn’t God do something about this mess?” We are certainly in a mess during this Covid 19 pandemic. I wonder, have you asked this question? Has someone you love contracted the virus? Has someone died who meant a lot to you? Have you found the “lockdown” difficult, emotionally, physically, or spiritually? Not everyone has “sailed” through this time. Separation from work, family and friends and from many leisure activities has coursed many problems for people. Are you one of them?
The best is yet to come! There will be a vaccine found, the virus will eventually die out, life will find its balance once more for each and every one of us. So, if the best is yet to come, how will it be achieved? John is the writer of Revelations and he is shown, by God, that he and we, will all know about the “best” when it comes. Life often throws us a curved ball and suddenly we are unable to see the future. But with Jesus in the last chapters of Revelation we see that there will be a time of rejoicing after the hardship faced at the end times. We don’t know when those times will be but we are called to live by faith resting upon the testimony of Jesus and believing when he said he will come again and take us to be with him ( John 14:1-6).
The best is yet to come, can refer to the end of this virus, or a situation you find yourself in BUT it does also mean that Jesus is going to come again and the things of this world will pass away and those who name Jesus as their Lord and Saviour will live for ever in heaven with Jesus and our Father, God for all eternity. Now that is something I’m looking forward too! Many people have been accessing worship service sites and prayer sites recently, looking for answers, Friends, the final answer to all our problems is Jesus. It doesn’t mean we will suddenly cease to have troubles, illness, or suffer disasters, no, what it means is that with Jesus we have the blessed assurance that we will live with HIM for ever because we have asked him into our lives.
We say why does God allow tragedy to happen? Why doesn’t God intervene? God has given each one of us free-will. We can choose to make our own decisions. Wherever this Covid 19 pandemic came from, whether it be bats at a live animal market or escaped for a laboratory, its genus is man, not God. But we can step out from the blame culture and be restored by asking Jesus into our lives and have the assurance the best is truly yet to come – life eternal in heaven with God the Father, Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, the best is yet to come.
Do you want this peace?
Do you want this assurance?
Do you want to know that Jesus loves you?
Do you want to be forgiven of the past and your sins?
Jesus can do all this for you. Yes, for you!
Please phone me, Sheila on 01695 628033if you would like to speak with me.
I pray the healing love of Jesus in your lives, now and always.
Sheila (Minister of Queens Hall)
THE BEST IS YET TO COME
'Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to each person according to what they have.'
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
have just had my copy of ‘Christianity’ magazine delivered and I was sitting in the sunshine reading it when I was reminded of Sheila’s sermon on Sunday. One particular article started – ‘The coronavirus is so called because it visibly resembles a crown (corona in Latin).’ Sheila reminded us of the crowns we wear as Christians – crowns of beauty and splendour – and the crown we will receive in glory.
John Lennox (writer of article) goes on to say ‘… hope is found in another corona: the crown of thorns that was forced on Jesus’ head at his trial before his execution’. Yes, as we face one crown (the coronavirus) that is claiming to rule, we know we find hope in the Prince of Peace who went willingly to his death wearing the crown of thorns for us – his death and resurrection that brings us to Salvation. Hallelujah!
Let me end by quoting the last sentence of John Lennox’s piece ‘A Christian, then, is not a person who has solved the problem of suffering but one who has come to love and trust the God who has suffered for them.’
Love and Blessings,
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
I knew this, but it is easy to forget. I was at a conference last year and the speaker said ‘If you want to converse with God you have to ask him questions, and conversation really flows when you have follow-up questions.’
Recently I was due to chair a meeting on Zoom and I wanted to start off with a short time of devotion. So, whilst out jogging I asked God ‘What would you like me to say?’
This word came to mind and would not leave, it was the word ‘frustration’.
As I mulled this over and I realised, at times, for me life is frustrating. For instance, I missed not being able to play with Emmanuel, especially on his third birthday, it is difficult to get a feel for how we are doing at The Brick because I can’t drop in, etc. I then realised perhaps others were feeling disconnected.
So, I started the meeting by saying I had some small frustrations at the moment and I then read a scripture and prayed. Then, I asked everyone at the meeting how they were finding things. It was edifying to get some understanding of how Covid 19 was impacting others. From there it simply flowed about how Covid 19 was changing us as an organisation. It was a very beneficial meeting.
All because God gave a one-word answer to a question.
Don’t be inhibited about asking God questions.
John Parker 2.5.20
Over 65 different churches and Christian groups in the UK have taken part in an online music video that has got over 2 million views
Representing hundreds of Christians in the country, worship singers from the UK have performed 'The Blessing', originally by Christian couple Cody Carnes and Kari Jobe, Chris Brown and Christian worship group Elevation Worship.