A prayer from Pete Greig:-
With UK schools shut, let’s pray for teachers, parents and especially children to experience God’s love, joy and peace in the coming weeks.
Heavenly Father, we pray for your “perfect LOVE (to) drive out fear” from families under strain, and from the hearts of children missing their friends. (1 John 4:18)
Lord Jesus, we pray for your JOY to fill homes with kindness, laughter and new mercies each day (Lam.3:22), recognising that “a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Prov 17:22)
Holy Spirit, we pray for parents suddenly faced with homeschooling (again), that your perfect PEACE “which transcends all understanding, will guard (their) hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1 verse 1. The Bible begins with the stunning yet profoundly simple statement that in the beginning He created everything - which means that in the beginning, He was already there. He is eternal. God as creator is eternal and therefore not bound by time. That means He is in your future, and He is in your past, and He surrounds you at present! Would you now worship Him for His eternity?
Thanks be to God for His gift that is too wonderful for words. 2 Corinthians 9 verse 15. Did God have to give the birds a song and the mountains a peak? Was He required to put stripes on the zebra and the hump on the camel? Why wrap creation in such splendour? Why allow His only Son to become a helpless baby at that first Christmas? Why go to such trouble to give such gifts? Have you not been doing the same this Christmas for the ones you love? Hunting for exactly what they would want? Why do you do it? You do it to hear those words of disbelief 'You did this for me?' Well that is why God did it too. Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. This Christmas just marvel - say nothing and listen as heaven whispers, 'Do you like it? I did it just for you.'
The Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore. Psalm 121 verses 5 and 6. Psalm 121 affirms God's active involvement in every stage of our lives with the purpose of blessing us. Blessing does not mean ease. There are challenges and difficulties along the way, but even in these there is blessing. Do you know the story in Mark's gospel chapter 4 verses 35-41? Jesus' disciples came to see that life with Jesus did not mean an absence of storms, but a safe conclusion to the journey. When you look around you, do you see problems or the One who is bigger - why not trust Him today?.
I will exalt you, my God the King, I will praise Your Name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your Name for ever and ever. Psalm 145 verses 1 and 2. Our God is so good, we should be always grateful for all that He has done for us. But there is something extra special when we are able to meet together to bring Him our praise and worship. Why not come and join us on Nov 15th at 10.30am?
Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew chapter 14 verses 29 and 30. Of course, Jesus did save Peter from sinking. He was OK whilst he was focussed on Jesus, but once he looked at his circumstances he began to sink. In these strange times, why don't you call out to Jesus? His word, the Bible, has many stories and promises and invitations to trust Him. Don't focus on the circumstances around you, but focus on Jesus - He may not change the circumstances, but He has promised to walk through them with you. Will you 'come down out of the boat' and trust Jesus?
“Be patient, resting your hearts on the ultimate certainty.” James chapter 5 verse 8. We’re living in strange and uncertain times. We don’t know what’s happening in the world. We get conflicting information from every source. We don’t know how long this coronavirus is going to continue spreading. We’re not sure how to make wise decisions without all the information we need. When so many things are uncertain, we can remain certain of this one truth: God is in control. What’s the ultimate certainty? Jesus is going to come back one day. Nothing’s going to stop that. Knowing that history is under God’s control and that Jesus has promised to return should give us all the confidence we need in uncertain times. When you feel like you can’t count on anything else, count on this: God’s got this. And Jesus will come back one day soon to make all things right and new.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10. God didn’t create anything without a purpose. If you’re breathing, you have a purpose. In Christ, you have something to offer the world. God did not make you and put you here on this planet just to breathe air, take up space, and die. If you’re here, there’s a contribution that only you can make. Before you were born, God planned the good things he wanted you to do with your life. God gave you unique spiritual gifts, abilities, and experiences to help other people.
As you come to Him, the living Stone - rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him - you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter chapter 2 verses 4 and 5.These verses speak of the privilege Christians have to come to God and pray for the communities we serve through our church. Over the past 6 months we have not been able to be present in the community, but now we are out walking through the area most Saturday afternoons - asking God to bless and encourage the people in the homes we pass and to speak directly to any who need encouragement at this time. We pray that YOU may know God's help in these difficult times.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12 God's love is amazing and He wants us to be free from guilt and remorse and give us a new start every time we come to Him and ask for His forgiveness - this is all available 'to those who fear Him' and this is not being afraid of God but acknowledging what He has done for us in sending Jesus to die in our place..
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, ............. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15. There are so many wonderful promises in the Bible. This one was given to Abraham, but if you are willing to accept that Jesus died and rose again so that you can be in a right relationship with God, then He speaks it to you too.
'I am the LORD and there is no other'. Isaiah 45:5. What do you think about God? Our view of God is the most important thing to get right. The way we view God affects the way we live our life. It affects every choice we make. It affects our view of ourselves. It affects the way we treat other people and the value we give to them. The Bible is where God reveals Himself to us so that's where we need to look. Why not choose to read the Bible and ask God to reveal to you who He is, what He thinks of you, how you should respond to Him and how you can share that with others.
'Rejoice in the LORD always'. Philippians 4:4. Sometimes we are happy and sometimes we are sad depending on our circumstances. Joy is a smile on the inside. so how can we have this when we feel sad, how can we rejoice then? should we rejoice when bad things happens? True joy comes from Jesus and when we know Him that Joy is given to us and as we grow closer to Him, the joy grows. the source of our joy is also the object of our joy. Jesus paid the penalty for my sin on the cross. He is perfect and loves me. so I can delight in Him at all times and know a joy that is beyond understanding in my heart whatever the circumstances around me. you can know that joy too if you trust Jesus wholeheartedly
'For the Son of man came to seek and save the lost'. Luke 19:10. If you feel like life is a bit like a maze without a map. Or life is monotonous with no purpose. Or you just feel like you are making choices and losing your way in life. Or if you are doing OK but feel there must be more to life. Jesus tells us He came for you, not to make it difficult for you but to seek you out and save you. He has done the work. Like Zacheus the man Jesus is talking about in this verse you simply need to say sorry for all your wrong, for all the times you've gone your own way. Say thank you to Jesus for dying on the cross, taking the punishment that you deserve and ask Him into your life today and everyday you are saved. It's great news, what a Saviour, why not trust Him, He has made it possible for you!
'So if the Son sets you free you will be truly free'. John 8:36. Freedom is something we all like to have, to do what we want, go where we want, be with who we want, watch what we want, eat what we want... Over the past few months that freedom has been severely resricted. So if our freedom in these things can be restricted so easily what does it mean to be truly free? It means our hearts are free. We can enjoy a life of peace with God without our lives being slaves to our desires, doing things we often dont want to do. Jesus died to pay for our freedom from sin. This is the great truth Christians believe that sets us free and gives us a certain hope of Eternal life. It also gives us the freedom to live our lives without carrying the baggage of all of our hurts and mistakes. You can know the truth, turn from your sin, trust Jesus with your life and enjoy this freedom. Why not?
'In the beginning God created'. - Genesis 1:1. The Bible starts with these great words. How did it all begin? Whats it all about? The Bible simply starts by stating 3 great truths. The rest of the Bible builds on these. 1. There was a beginning,.there was a point where everything began, even time itself. 2. God is Eternal. He was there before time began. This is hard to believe but if God exists then He must be Eternal because nothing is greater or more poweful than God to make Him. 3. There was a creation. This world was made in the beginning with a plan and a purpose by an all powerful creator God. We see a world in a mess but thats not how God made it. People make choices and spoil it. We need to turn back to our creator, say sorry, trust Him everyday. He made us to look after this world, to love each other but most of all to know and love Him. If you dont know Him why not ask Him to reveal Himself to you today?
I am the Vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing'. John 15:5. Another wonderful promise of the Bible - if people are willing to come to Jesus and believe He is the Son of God and that He died to make us right with God, then we will 'bear much fruit'. But if we do things without Jesus then they will have no lasting impact on the world.
'God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.'
1 Timothy 2:4. Church is not for me! God's not interested in me! It's ok if you want to follow Jesus but it's not for me! If you want to believe it that's great but I dont need too. I have heard these statements many times as maybe some of you have. It maybe how we feel but actually it's not true, its not the message of the Bible, which comes from God. He wants everyone to know the truth. He wants to save everyone from death and offer them hope and a good future here on earth and for Eternity with Him in Heaven. That's why Jesus came. This is what He wants for you! This is how much He loves YOU. Why not trust Him today?
'He has set eternity in our hearts'. Ecclesiates 3:11. We are made to live forever. Why are we never fully satisfied with stuff, however good it is. We are always left looking for more, wondering if there is anything better, wanting to achieve it again or reach the next goal. It's ultimately a futile chasing after fulfilment and happiness because that's not what we are made for. We are made ultimately for a relationship with God and only then can we be content. There's a hole in my heart that can only be filled by you (Jesus), because God is the source of life. Stop striving, trust Him, know true peace and achieve all that you were made for.
When we are feeling down and not able to do things, we know that God does not make us timid but gives us energy. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full'. John 10:10 Jesus came not to take things from us or tell us all that we can't do like so many people sadly portray Him and His Church. It's the thief, the devil whose sole purpose is to destroy our life, to make us feel guilty, ashamed, worthless... Jesus came to offer us hope, forgiveness, peace and the opportunity to enjoy the life you were created for. He doesnt promise an easy life but He does promise the best. Why not put your trust in Him today?
'having nothing, and yet possessing everything'.2 Corinthians 6 v10. During this time for many of us what we have has been taken away from us. Maybe income, health, job, holidays, freedom, school, clubs, ... and we are wondering what life is all about. The truth is we can take nothing with us when we die. So how can we possess everything. This verse came to life on a trip to Uganda back in 2005 where I saw people who had so little but were happy. The reason was that so many of them had the only thing that really mattered - a right relationship with God. God who created them, loves them and through Jesus has forgiven them and restored them. He wants to do this for you as well.
As we continue through these challenging circumstances where our usual routines and practices have been taken away, it’s helpful to remember that we can still have certainty of our place in heaven through Jesus Christ.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Is lockdown wearing you down? Then why not put your hope in the Lord as encouraged in the Bible in Isaiah chapter 40 verse 31 :- 'But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.'
In these days when we are being made aware that the world does not treat everyone the same, we know that Jesus loves and cares for all. In the Bible, Acts chapter 3 verse 6 says:- 'Then Peter said "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk."' and the lame man walked!
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin Hebrews 4:15
In these challenging times we have time to look at our lives and what do we see? I see a mess. I see that I struggle to do right and fail. This verse is great because it tells us that Jesus understands what we go through as He also went through the same struggles. Even greater is that He didnt get it wrong like me. Because of that He can save us from it and offer us hope if we trust in Him. Why not trust Him completely?
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
There are some amazing promises in the Bible. Here is one of the most impressive. God is the only one who can save you, not from Corona virus (though He can if He chooses), but from death itself. He died to forgive your sin if you ask Him and trust Him. Then the God of Heaven will rejoice over you with singing.
As Christians, we seek to 'glance at our problems and gaze on God'. This helps us to recognise that God is so much greater than our problems. In the Bible, the book of 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 3 says:-
'Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.'
Psalm 95 verse 1 in the Bible encourages us to :-
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
We don't know if you have been thinking about Jesus more during this time of Lockdown, but may we remind you of some words Jesus spoke in Revelation ch3 verse 20:
'Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door (of his/her heart), I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.'
In these difficult times where there is so much to worry about, so much sadness, so much loss the Bible provides words of guidance and encouragement available when we turn to God in prayer. I encourage you to turn to God in prayer today and rest in his peace that he offers you.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
A challenge from the Bible:-
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him amd He will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6
More encouraging words from the Bible:-
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for YOU in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 17
As these days of lockdown drag on, the Psalmist David has so many words of encouragement in the Bible.
'The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.' Psalm 9 verses 9 & 10
A reminder from the bible of what is on offer for those who trust in him...
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”
Psalms 5:11 NIV
It exercises your face muscles.
It boosts your immune system.
It reduces stress.
It kills time between disasters.
The Bible says in Proverbs ch 17 verse 22 'A cheerful heart is good medicine'
Through this challenging time as Christian believers we are called to worship him even through these times where we are not able to meet together. Whilst we may struggle with why the current situation has come about, let us remember what we as Christians believe, that Jesus died to save us and therefore let’s worship him for that!
“Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” Luke 24:52-53 NIV
Do you have a Bible (a book or an app on your phone)? May we invite you to read Mark chapter 15 so that you may understand verse 39 of that chapter - 'And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how He died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"'
David the shepherd-boy, thousands of years ago had some good advice for tough times. This is what keeps us going, how about you?
Psalm 16:8 “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”
Help me find the joy in each new day,
and laughter in every adventure.
When I’m tempted to grumble and frown,
please nudge my funny bone
and tickle my ribs
until I see the funny side if the situation.
The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy
Psalm 126 v 3
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
It can be stressful to be around family 24/7 so this verse gives some good advice for dealing with that – we need to practise our patience and remember these are people we love
As we continue to pray and light a candle at 7pm every Sunday whilst we are in lockdown we remember that there have been many times through history where humanity has needed to call on the Lord in prayer, as can be seen from this verse in Psalms. It is fine, in fact it is good, to call on the Lord in prayer when we need him most. #candleofhope
“Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.”Psalms 4:1 NIV
This first verse is from Philippians and reminds us to think positively, despite all the negative news regarding the coronavirus and being told we are not allowed out. Let us think about all the blessings we do have for example family, friends or a comfortable house to live in. Finally let us remember the hope that we have through Jesus Christ.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Philippians 4:8 NIV
After refurbishing our building, we started this group up again and our numbers have varied. At times we were about a dozen adults, sometimes only two or three. We have lots of toys and opportunities for mums/grans/carers to chat whilst the little ones play. We break for tea and toast. If you think this is a valuable resource which should not be lost, why not come along on Friday mornings between 9.15 and 11.15am during term time.
At present this facility is going unused, why not come along and join us between 9.15 and 11.15am during term time. We have internet access for those who want to use it. Some instruction is offered in a friendly relaxed atmosphere. If you want to use a computer or learn how to do new things, why not come along.