05 July 2021

Image by redcharlie

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  

Ephesians 1 : 3

Have you ever experienced a moment of deep fellowship and worship of our Lord Jesus, a time when you have had to go down on your knees or sung or danced in joy in worship of our Lord?  In 2 Samuel : 6 David gave instructions for the Ark of the Lord to be brought up to the City of David.  David and all the House of Israel sang and made music with their whole hearts in thanksgiving.  Kind David leapt and danced with his whole being, praising God for their deliverance from Egypt.

In the Letter of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians, he starts his teaching with the words quoted above.  God chose us in Christ to be distinctly different, to be holy and blameless before God, giving Him unconditional and unrelenting love, our full worship of the Son of God, through whom we are made children of God.  How can we not react to this amazing knowledge with our whole heart and being?  Paul is offering us a vision of such love that it is hard to believe it also applies to each and every one of us. God’s love was so great that He sent His only Son to suffer death on a cross for the forgiveness of all our sins.  He has chosen us from the beginning of time.  God knows our secret fears and anxieties, our doubts and wounded pride.  In response to that He has extended His amazing grace and love to us.

At a time like this when we are anxious and fearful, for loved ones, where so many are ill and many have died, we need to turn to our loving Saviour who knows all about suffering and take comfort.  He is our ultimate Healer.  We need to hold each other up in prayer for His loving, comforting and healing arms Will surround us all.

Prayer:

Almighty God, help us to remember that we owe everything to You.  You are in control of our past, our present and our future. You are our Father, our Saviour, our Comforter and our Healer.  We offer up to You our praise as we pray for Your healing of all our anxiety, fears, worries, hurt and loss.  In thanksgiving we offer to You our praise for Your loving kindness.  You have washed away our sins, and in Your mercy, You offer us healing.  May we serve you through all our days.  Praise be to You,

O God!  Amen

06 July 2021

Image by Tadej Skofic

I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me;
hear me when I call to you.
May my prayer be set

before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands

 be like the evening sacrifice.

Psalm 141:1-2

Within the last two days I have lost two colleagues that I was close to, to Covid. Many others that I know, died as a result of this pandemic, but because these two brothers and I walked through some difficult times together, their deaths have touched me deeply. I continue to search for signs of God’s presence in these strange and unfamiliar times. The number of our own congregation who tested positive for this virus, and others who struggle with different ailments, has had me wrestling with God. Sometimes I’m a bit like the Jews in Babylon, how can we sing the Lord’s song in this strange circumstances? Most of the time I seek to be like Abraham, seeking the assurance of God’s presence in unfamiliar and strange times. In the moments of my deepest struggle, I turn to Psalm 121. The Psalmist realizes that it is not the beauty of the hills or the mountains, but it is from God that his strength surfaces during  his stressful and despairing moments.

Abraham, walking with the stress of having to sacrifice his son, Isaac, somehow walks with the vision of God’s presence in his life. Abraham’s response to Isaac about the sacrifice, reveals Abram’s absolute trust in God. God provided all Abraham needed to get through the rough and even faithless moments of his life. God is limitless in providing us with the assurance of God’s presence. God revealed God’s presence to us through the incarnation of Jesus. So I continue to walk like Abraham, knowing that between now and mount Moriah God will reveal Godself.

This is the faith and the hope with which I continue to live each day.

Prayer:

O God, we often do not know how to pray.

Life’s stresses, demands and uncertainties, leave us searching for words

to tell You how much we need Your presence.

We fill the air with words, and sometimes we feel that You did not hear us.

Forgives our doubts and our lack of faith.

Empower us that we may keep following Jesus and His teachings.

In good times and bad, may we seek Your face.

In the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

7 July 2021

Image by Julian Hochgesang

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
   whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
   of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27

Reading:
1 John 1

John describes God as light in whom there is no darkness. Light is the character of God. In Genesis 1:3 the first words that God says is" Let there be light, and there was light.
James call God the Father of lights and Timothy states that God "dwells in unapproachable light.
The light of God is His holiness, righteousness, and goodness, which is directly opposite to the darkness of evil and sin . God revealed His light in His Son. In John 8 Jesus declares that He is the light of the world and he encourages those who believe in him to be light-bearers so that they would see God and glorify him "Matthew 5:14-16
Often we fall short of being the light beareres that we want to be. Our own sins and shortcomings and the darkness of the sinful broken world we live in sometimes threaten to overwhelm us.
But it is in our darkest moments that the light our Saviour shines the brightest. His life and light illuminates all and can never be overcome John 1:5
John Piper wrote that “The light of Christ is the brightness of God shining on the retina of the human soul.” Through  the light and life of Jesus  we can have fellowship with the Father.
The God of  of light in which no darkness exist A God of truth whose Holiness brings His absolute majesty and glory in such a way the angels have to cover their feet and their faces.. A Father who never leaves us, who gave us His Spirit to guide us in wisdom, who has restored the relationship between humankind and himself through the sacrifice of His Son.
As His children we no longer walk in darkness but in light. May we always strive to reflect His light in all that we do to the glory of His name.

Prayer:

Father in you  there is no darkness.

We pray that Your light presence fill the dark places in our lives

In You there is hope for hearts that feel defeated. 

Lord, may your love and compassion touch those who are in pain

We thank you for your love and the comfort that you bring

Help us to be a reflective light for others to the glory of your name

In Jesus name we pray

Amen

8 July 2021

Image by Priscilla Du Preez

Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;

save me and I will be saved,

for You are the One I praise.  

Jeremiah 17 : 14

When we consider the power of Praise, we need to consider that we would miss one of the greatest experiences of life if we have never lifted our heart and mind in the act of praise and thanksgiving.  Many consider this act of praise to be a somber time, rather than a joyous time.

The writer of Psalm 47 tells his readers to “Clap your hands with joy --  praise God with loud songs!”  It is impossible to clap your hands and sing with your whole heart, in praise to God, and still maintain a heavy heart.  If You are currently in a difficult time, one can still praise our Lord for being present with you in that situation.

True praise of the Almighty God should not depend on your feelings.  I remember visiting a Traveler’s’ Chapel on a pass in Switzerland, feeling somewhat nauseous as a result of the windy road we had just travelled.  As I walked into that Chapel I was overwhelmed with a feeling of great awe.  The only thing I could do was to go down on my knees and praise God.  When I thought about it afterwards, there was nothing spectacular about the Chapel, but I knew the Lord was present there.  By the way I forgot that I was feeling nauseous!  When we praise God, we will experience His uplifting power.

You do not necessarily need the assistance of a Church Choir or beautiful piece of organ playing, though they can certainly help.

If we hold a word of scripture which is filled with praise in our mind, we can simply praise God for His wonderful presence

Prayer:

Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary;

praise Him in His mighty heavens.

Praise Him for His acts of power;

praise Him for His surpassing greatness.

Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise Him with the harp and the lyre,

praise Him with tambourine and dancing,

praise Him with the strings and flute,

praise Him with the clash of cymbals,

praise Him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!  

Alleluia!  Amen. 

 Psalm 150