''LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY''
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As I woke this morning, I thought... Now what will today bring?
Of course, none of us can be sure about that even though we have plans for the day and maybe you have a set routine for Saturdays.
Our picture today looks a lot like a well-known walk in Jersey, one I have taken many times. It is pretty straight as it was once the track of a railway, hence its name, The Railway walk. It is a great walk and at the end is Corbiere lighthouse.
It reminds me that life can be like that... you know the way you should go, you can have faith that it is the right path and at the end is the light.
Whilst we remain earth bound, we must walk the straight path, keep our eyes on the light, until the day when we see the Lord face to face.
This time last year I was attending Synod with others from St. Francis in Spain. How different it will be this year as we sit in front of our computers on Tuesday and Wednesday to have Synod by Zoom.
Our scripture this morning is very well known and much loved. We are told that as followers of Jesus, we will, as an outcome of our faith produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit. One of them is faithfulness. Faithfulness is not a word much used in a general way these days in life. Maybe it was at one time; we heard of the faithful employee who worked for the same firm for 40 years, we heard of the faithful companion, the faithful couple married for years etc.
How are we called to be faithful these days?
We are called to be faithful to the Lord; our commitment to him and following his ways are lifelong and constant.
When we do that, we will automatically fulfil others ways of faithfulness; faithful to the Church, faithful in love for others, faithful in doing good and faithful in reading the scriptures. There will be times when we will not produce as much fruit as the Lord would want; perhaps we need pruning or feeding. Ask the Lord to do what he will with your life and he will without a doubt cause us to produce an abundance of fruit.
I have been thinking a bit about how life has such a lot of twists and turns. One day all seems well and the next there is a problem to get through.
We all want the well part, don't we? I am aware that there are some of us who will be reading this who are having some difficult times. God is with us in those times just as he is with us when life is all rosy and going well. We can trust his promise that we will not be overwhelmed or consumed. His mighty to save.
As he protected Daniel in the lion's den, David before Goliath and Moses from Pharoh so he will protect us from the trials we have to face in life. I don't think it is easy to just trust but that is what we called to do. As the hymn says 'trust and obey, there is no other way '... well not that leads to peace and happiness. Our journey in life is a journey of faith.
Today I hope you will join me in praying for those of us who are having a difficult time, are sick, afraid or confused.
I read a quote somewhere " If you have nothing but you have God, you have everything"
We are in times when it could be easy to be totally dissatisfied with life; no freedom of travel, no freedom of association, so much seems to have been taken away. It is true, in one year the world is a very different place and what we once took for granted is no more.
Now is the time to hold steady, dig deep, keep going and keep trusting God whatever our present circumstances.
In today's scripture reading the prophet Habakkuk commits to trusting and praising God regardless of his physical conditions, regardless of disaster around him. He knows that his real security is with the God of his salvation.
It is not easy always to take that attitude; when we are weak, sick, tired, frightened and life is not seemingly going well it all seems hard and God far away but God is still with us. The easiest way I know to change our mindset is to start remembering all God has done for us, our salvation, his goodness and to start praising him. Amazingly when you do that fear subsides, gratitude increases, peace comes and joy will lift your heart.
May be our own quote could be " I have God so what else do I need"
When I was a young teenager almost every Saturday, I could be found in my local library in the travel section. I dreamt of travelling the world.Well, I have seen some of it, but not all; every place I have visited is so different and wonderful and there is so much more to see. Truely only the God of the universe could have created it all. Especially now whilst the whole world seems to have come to a standstill, I am now an armchair traveller. The wonders of the internet! It is amazing that God's hand formed the world and us for a divine purpose.
Even in the remotest place on earth God is there waiting for those who would seek him. His desire is that none should be lost and that all should be at one with him (and of course each other) Did you know that St. Francis Church has followers on Facebook from around the globe? Somehow, they have found us and get benefit from our postings. The internet has made the world a much smaller place and we are now connected in ways I couldn't have imagined from my library days.It is easy to only look to our own horizon and forget those people and places far away but we are part of them and they are part of us. Let us keep the nations and peoples of the world in our prayers for they are our brothers and sisters.
I hope this weekend has brought you joy. I understand that for most of you there will not have been an opportunity for worshipping physically together but hopefully you will have been able to log in to a virtual service.
Today's scripture is interesting in that it addresses attitudes regarding how we look at each other. We all I think have some prejudices and may be not even aware of. How do we look at the stranger , the different , the other that is not quite like us?
I know how God looks at them. He loves them, as he loves us.
We are required to love others too as in the second commandment... love thy neighbour as thyself. We probably have rarely measured up to that but the Lord as changed us and given us a new heart to do just that. We will never attain that perfectly but it is that we should be aiming for. We have God rooting for us, cheering us on and what's more he has given us his Holy Spirit to empower us.
Please dear friends be faithful in your prayers for those who are sick, bereaved, afraid or lonely. Your prayer is taking them to the feet of our Lord.
I think everyone actually wants peace in their hearts and in life but sadly we often live our lives in a way that doesn't bring it.
Job was a man who was constantly seeking to understand God. His friends had a very different understanding than him and did much to persuade him into their way of thinking. No one can completely understand the mind of God, we will have to wait for that, but the scriptures (God' dealings with humanity) give us a pretty good view of God and the relationship He wants us to have with him.
It is only in coming into line with God's purposes and yes submitting to them, that we can find the peace we all need. There are many distractions I know and I expect we have all got tangled up in those from time to time. The world tells us to look for prosperity in material things and it will give us all we need but that is not so. There are many who from a world's point of view have it all but they are not happy and have no peace.
For us as Christians the more we seek his face and walk according to his direction the more we will find contentment. Our happiness will not be dependent on what we have or the amount of money we have in the bank. Job's friends did not understand and many will not understand us but God will and that in the end is all that will matter.
Yesterday, I heard from Mary Vellacott that her beloved Graham had passed away peacefully that morning. Graham and Mary lived in San Blas during the Winter time and Graham was a locum to us and regularly officiated at San Blas Church before he became unwell. He was a very gentle priest and had a lovely quiet sense of humour. One day when I was preaching at San Blas, I spotted Graham in the congregation. My heart took a little jump; I was going to preach on chickens and there was the man who knew all about chickens! (He was a farmer and a priest)I saw a wry smile on his face at my first mention of chickens and I carried on. Later Graham was to increase my knowledge at least by 100% which wasn't that hard as I knew very little actually about chickens and we had a little laugh together. His generosity of spirit, kindness and encouragement meant a lot to me.
Whilst there is always sadness when a beloved person leaves us, we can rejoice too. Graham walked faithfully with the Lord, his work is done and now is his time to enjoy the rich rewards promised to those who have loved and served the Lord.
Do please keep Mary and the family in your prayers at this time.
Perhaps I have mentioned to you before, I can't quite remember now but when I was growing up over the back door of our house was a sign 'United we stand, divided we fall'.
Of course that was all about my uncle's affiliation with his works union. There is some truth in it but not all.
As believers we should be standing together in unity and I don't think we can ultimately fall, for God is with us and for us and His plans for the world will be supreme. However, our behaviour as Christians can either be a hindrance or a help.
The situation is very different now from when the Holy Spirit descended on the first believers and caused them to develop a community of sharing and love. We are still called to love; we are still called to have unity amongst us and we are still called to be generous in our giving and care for others. Of our own human nature and failings, we might be quite selfish but when the Holy Spirit speaks into our heart, we know that is an attitude which cannot belong to us.
This week we continue in our prayers for Christian Unity. As much as we need to see and understand others' views, we also should be aware of the very practical and spiritual needs around us.
Let us do everything in the power of the Holy Spirit to keep the bond of peace and love between us all.
Although the world situation is very different from previous years, it is heartening to know that many things continue as before albeit in a slightly different form; the Week of prayer for Christian Unity for one. Many churches will be praying around the world for a unity between all Christians and denominations.
Some may think it is not really possible, after all there has been separations, differences and arguments for hundreds of years.
When one looks at the big picture it seems impossible but we know that all is possible with God. What can we as individuals do when most decisions are outside of our direct influence?... Everything always starts with us.
Prayer, forgiveness, repentance, love and understanding can only happen corporately when we as individuals take it on board and allow it to happen in our own lives.
Every believer from which ever denomination is the Church and have equal standing before God. A Church divided is not how it is supposed to be. How the Church behaves and is seen really is down to us.
Those on the outside watch and judge. When they see us, as individual Christians behaving badly towards one another, the whole Church is judged. When we do not get on together, showing the Grace and love of God within a fellowship it is not a good witness to the world and sometimes not surprising that people are reluctant to become part of it. Jesus asks us to love another. There are no conditions to that; we cannot wait until the other person loves, behaves better, or is more generous. It has to begin with us, regardless of the behaviour of others. As we are transformed in love, it will be I think entirely possible for the Church universal to have unity. Let us pray for it, let it begin with us.
It is always a good day to remember what we have in life. We in the western world live in freedom. We can generally say what we wish, normally go where we want and live the way we choose. There are many in the world which don't enjoy those freedoms.
Our scripture reading this morning speaks of a different kind of freedom. At the time Jesus was speaking to the Jews who had come to believe in him but it can apply to us too. Often, we do not understand exactly what freedom has been gained for us by Jesus.
Someone once said 'we are all free within our own cages'... that is, limited by our own understanding. I think that can be true. The longer we go on in the Christian life the more we see and understand what it is all about. The freedom was always there from the moment we first believed and trusted in the Lord but for many of us we just roamed around our cages, not opening the cage door to the complete freedom on offer. It is not a freedom that says 'do as you wish but rather become in tune with the Christ within us, live the life He has planned for us.
The door is open, just a case of trusting and walking through it.
I hope you all had a blessed Sunday.
I have read that today is often called Blue Monday. Now that just has to be a state of mind doesn't it?
Apparently, it is enough time for the euphoria of Christmas and New Year to have worn off, credit card bills are coming in and winter is still with us. I can see that for some that would not be a good reason for joy but as Christians our joy is not centred on our earthly and material surroundings but what we are in Christ. I think it is important to remind ourselves constantly of the goodness of the Lord and of course count our blessings.
We all think all the time; that is natural. What we think about and let our mind dwell on is decided by us. It is easy to go down the road of 'I haven't got, poor me, life is unfair, why me? That is a road going nowhere but depression and unhappiness.
Let's be careful about our thoughts and also our words. Often what we say, the words we speak become fixed in our spirit, so if we constantly speak negatively that is what we become. I think I will rename this Monday to Happy Monday, Great Monday, all is Well Monday and any colour of the rainbow Monday that brings joy.
Many of you from Los Gigantes will know Keith, Greta's brother-in-Law. He is quite poorly at the moment and in Candelaria Hospital. Can I ask that you prayer for him and his family?
I hope you are all well. If you are not, do tell us and we will pray for you.
I think it is true that each generation believes themselves to know more than the last ones and will be the ones to put past failures right.
Winston Churchill famously quoted from the philosopher George Santayana ' those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it'
In the book of Judges 21. 25 (not today's scripture) it says 'as there was no king in Israel everyone did what was right in their own eyes' and similar in Proverbs 21.2 There I think is the problem.
There is a kind of arrogance to those positions which are almost certain to lead to failure or even disaster.
We are privileged to have the Scriptures which can guide our thinking; we have the Holy Spirit to teach us. The bible is full of God's people seeking the right way, making mistakes, failing and being restored by God. We can learn a lot from their lives.
The actions of Godly and ungodly people are well recorded in history; there is much we can learn and even learn to avoid from both.
For our part we have to ask the Lord for his wisdom and agree to be led and taught by the Holy Spirit.
The world needs leaders who are humble and seekers of God's ways; for that we must pray or surely history and its many failures will be repeated.
A week seems to go by very quickly, possibly because we have so much access to world news. Each day brings the events around the world into our own house. Sometimes that is helpful, if we can then become aware of the things the Lord would have us pray about.
Just this morning I heard of a large earth quake in Indonesia with loss of life, injuries, missing people and the threat of a tsunami to come. I hope you will pray for the people caught up in that.It is not helpful to hear continuing bad news if it makes us fearful. Many spiritual leaders advise us to limit what we watch on the news and social media. We actually don't need to be fearful of things to come if we belong to God, he has said He is with us always.Our scripture reading, so well-known from the letter to the Ephesians encourages them (and us) to put on the whole armour of God.
The first verse says reminds us to 'be strong in the Lord' It is not about somehow drumming up strength from within but accepting the strength and power which comes from the Lord. That is entirely of a different magnitude from any inbuilt strength of heart, mind, or muscle of our own.
Yesterday, John, Rosemary and I visited Margaret. She is in good spirit and sends her love and thanks for your continuing prayer for her.
Yesterday Richard and I went for ride into the hills on the road to Teide. There is something so refreshing about being amongst the trees and rocks. It is amazing that trees can even grow on such little soil but they do and flourish too.
I was reminded being there that God is our rock and causes our feet not to slip. The silence is also beautiful, a place where God can speak quietly into our hearts and be heard.
Our psalm today reminds us too that God is our protector whatever comes at us. There certainly seems to be a lot of anguish and concern around the world at the moment. What of us though? are we to be worried?
We are told not to worry or be anxious; even though yes, there are problems and concerns. Now is the time for us to pray. Our Father hears us, we are not thumping on a closed door. The prayers of the faithful are a powerful thing; let us not forsake praying just because the problems are as big as mountains. God is an expert on mountains!
Please also continue in your prayers for those who are sick at the moment ; Margaret Rainton, Petrina Thompson and Carol Hart.
It is an amazing thing that in one small island (though not as small as the last island I lived in) that there can be snow and cold in the mountains and at the same time heat and sun on the coast. It made me think that whether we are on the mountain top of faith or in the depth of worry and despair we have a God who is with us in all circumstances and situations.
Our scripture this morning tells of an act of faith. Somehow the woman knew that if she could near enough to touch Jesus, even just touch the hem of his tunic she would be healed and she was.
The Lord knows and understands our every need. He wants our healing and wholeness. He wants us to draw near to him.
We have all I am sure prayed for our own healing and for others and sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't.
I am not sure why that is but I do know that the Lord has the situation in hand; he loves and cares for us. I have seen both the sudden and miraculous healing and the slow gradual healing. Sometimes our physical healing will only come about when we are in Glory with him.
Whatever it is to be for us as individuals the Lord knows best, He is with us in both our joys and afflictions.
We are reminded to pray without ceasing, put our trust in him and have faith... With his help we can.
It is good feeling to know that each day is new with the Lord. Each day we have opportunities to live as he would wish us to. I have just written the daily prayer concluding with, as always Amen.
What comes after Amen? Usually Amen is used for the end of a prayer, a 'and so be it', a confirmation of your prayer, but I was thinking that maybe it is just the start.
My prayers often go something like... I'm sorry... thank you... will you... help me... keep me going and growing etc. Amen.
The important thing is after the prayer, after the Amen. Do we continue as if before the prayer, duty done, prayer said ?
As part of our time of prayer it is good to have some silence, a listening for God to speak into our hearts, maybe discipline us , showing us the next steps. The Amen will mean nothing at all if we open our eyes and continue on as if it weren't said.
God is so gracious to us and even after our endless mistakes and falling down, He is there to pick us up and put us back on the path. If He disciplines us it will be for our good.
We have an exciting life as His disciples, there is always so much more to know and learn.
I hope you have been blessed this weekend. Sunday can often be a busy day but perhaps not so much now with current restrictions. Sometimes we can get very busy and sometimes that can squeeze out the Lord from our thinking and actively worshipping. He always calls us back though in one way or another to what we are designed to do and be. I know for myself I have to be watchful for what He is saying to me. I want to leave you with this...
A quiet Whisper
Come He says,
Come by my side,
Come, let me be allI
Come... He is
In the last few days an awful lot of rain has fallen in the Canary Islands which mainly we are not used to.
I was reminded by a friend yesterday that we can all look at the same event, see and respond differently to it.
I had found the rain rather depressing but she said 'My husband, like almost every Canarian in the south of Tenerife, loves the rain: we go out to the window to watch the raindrops... and people send happy messages it's raining, it's raining...'
So really it is a matter of perception and attitude. Rain is necessary for the land and life will send us trials; they are the training ground of our faith.
We have choices in our responses; let us choose to trust God in life which gives us peace. Whether the winds blow or rain falls our Lord is still in control and for that alone we can be thankful.
Today we now have a new section on our website. Sing along to some of the hymns we will be using in our services.
I saw yesterday a little quip... 'please cancel my subscription for 2021, I have seen the last week and I don't want it now'
Well, it certainly hasn't been the easiest starts to another year. I was reading a little from Lamentations this morning, sometimes called the book of sorrows written by Jeramiah. He certainly lamented over Israel but reminded himself to remember the goodness of the Lord and have hope in Him. Our reading today from Isaiah offers us comfort that we have God's protection whatever comes against us. Our hope and vindication are in him, not in what we may do in our own strength which would never be enough anyway.
Whilst others may choose to have their subscription for 2021 cancelled let us look forward in faith, if God is with us who can be against us.
I hope is that you are all keeping well.
Last night after seeing the reports of civil unrest in the United States and the seriousness of it all I began to wonder where is the Lord in all this. It seems wherever you look in the world there are major problems.
It brought me to thinking that we have everything at our disposal through him to live good lives, where there is food for all, community spirit and peace amongst nations.
The great promise of God that he gives wisdom to those who ask for it. Clearly there are many communities who are not seeking that and have an agenda of self-interest. It is our duty as God's children and his ambassadors to pray for those in power and have authority in the world. It is right for us to pass on Godly wisdom as best we can. Let us keep up our prayers for the world.
Today is a public holiday here, Epiphany being a very important feast day for Spanish people. Last night there were cavalcades around the towns of the Three Kings, not on camels but in open top cars. Children looked on from their balconies and eagerly awaited this morning when their presents will have arrived from the Kings -Reyes in spanish-.
The story of the Magi (Kings) is not altogether clear but what it does say is God directed them by a star.
It will have been an encounter which changed their lives. The journey would not have been easy and certainly not quick. No one got anywhere very fast in those days. It was a journey of faith, never undertaken before and not without some difficulties. They didn't give up and their journey is now firmly embedded in the story of God and his relationship with humanity.
I believe that the Lord wants all people to have the encounter of meeting Jesus. We all are on a journey, some have come to meet and know him as their friend and Saviour, some are still on the path of discovery. For those who know and love him we can be part of the journey of others to find him. That is a privilege.
As we start this new year let us pray that more will be drawn to Him and that we will fulfil our part in that story. Happy Epiphany and Feliz Día de Reyes...
I think I am correct in thinking that most of you who will read this are retired. What I mean is retired from paid employment. It is a position that many who are still working would envy. Actually, though the scriptures tell us that we find happiness in working and more than that the Lord gives us work till the end of our days. I have been told many times... Oh I am retired but when our lives belong to the Lord, we are in His service always. In that service we will find joy and happiness. Each of us has a different part to play; it may be in praying, in encouragement, in supporting others or maybe a hands-on task. We can no longer separate our lives into the compartments of mine or God, all we do and are belong to the Lord. We each need to seek out what our part is. God's blessing is upon us when we work in accord with Him.
Please continue in your prayers for each other and those who are sick.
This morning when I awoke, immediately came into my mind the hymn "Great is thy faithfulness".
I have never given much thought to that hymn; it has just been one of those hymns that I seem to have always known and not really even a favourite. It is worth looking at the words carefully: it encapsulates so much of our faith.
In our scripture passage this morning Jesus is preparing the disciples for a future without his physical presence. He is giving them hope and reassurance that all will be well and so it is for us too. Whatever this coming year brings He will give us strength and courage to face.
Indeed, as Julian of Norwich said " all will be well, all manner of thing will be well".
We have arrived into another year which I am sure for most of us will be pleased about . There are times for us all when feel that ‘locusts’ have eaten away at our lives but we know that over all God is still with us and wanting the very best for us. Even in hard and difficult times the Lord is there with us and we can learn as much from the difficult times as from the easy and carefree times. Let us move forward in faith trusting God who is our Father.
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For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
2 Corinthians 5:4-9
Father God, you are faithful and true and to you we commit our lives, for in you we trust. Our lives are no longer ours but yours, to do and be what you wish; with that we are content. Though our eyes may not see the way ahead, the path ahead is already carved out for us by your loving hand and is a sure and solid road. Help us to faith in your purposes and may nothing deter us from following you and your precepts. Amen
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.
Heavenly Father, we give thanks for that in you we are a new creation. Our desire is to be at one with you, hearing your voice and being all that you would have us to be. May we daily lay before your feet all that hinders our relationship with you, all that causes us not to produce the wonderful and life giving fruits of the Holy Spirit. When the book of our life is opened may there only be written there that we were good and faithful servants, workers in the field who yielded the crop of joy, peace, faithfulness, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Amen
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God.
Almighty God, As we dare to call you Father, we give you unending thanks for your love, compassion and care for us. By your mighty hand you have, redeemed, called, and saved us. We come to you now in all our weakness. We seek your face. With love we come. Gracious God, guide us though life and cause us to be unafraid for we know that you are with us. Blessed be you name. Amen.
Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.
Lord God, in you we trust for you have given us the gift of life. We praise you for your unending Grace poured out upon us. May in each of our days, we be reminded of your favour, your goodness and compassion towards us. In our moments of doubt, forgive and renew us once again, to love and serve you that your purposes for us are fulfilled. Amen.
From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’
Almighty God, creator of the whole earth, every nation and people, the Alpha and the Omega. We praise your Holy name. May every nation, every tribe, every person, come to know and love you, for it is your desire and your promise that all who seek will find you. Remove the scales from eyes that do not see you, open hearts wide to receive you and your blessings that we may live in harmony with you and each other. Amen.
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
Loving Father, we give you thanks that in Christ we are a new creation and our old selves are no more. In our continuing renewal, give us eyes to see others as you see them. Let our love and compassion show no favouritism but be an enduring witness to what you have wrought in us. Cause us, O Lord to be all that you have created us to be a light to the nations bringing the news of salvation for all. Amen
“Agree with God, and be at peace; in this way good will come to you.
Receive instruction from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart.
If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored, if you remove unrighteousness from your tents, if you treat gold like dust, and gold of Ophir like the stones of the torrentbed, and if the Almighty is your gold and your precious silver, then you will delight yourself in the Almighty, and lift up your face to God.
Father God, your words are precious to our hearts and bring us the peace which we cannot find without you. We give thanks for your whisper in our ear, the hand that guides and the wisdom in which there is no fault. Forgive us for our pride and all that would take us from your Holy presence. Keep us O Lord in the paths of righteousness for your name's sake. Whether we have prosperity or paucity in life, in you we are rich beyond imagination and you are our delight. Blessed be your name forever. Amen
As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:5-8
Father of Life, we give thanks that you have given us a new life in you, which extends beyond the confines of an earthly life. You have reserved for us a crown which we could not earn by our own merits. Strengthen our faith, preserve us from falling, and keep us under the shadow of your wing in this life, until at the last we will see you face to face. Amen
When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
Loving Father, you have given us life in abundance, for which we are truly grateful. Forgive us for the times we have put our own needs before you and others; give use such love and unity between us that no one lacks or feels an outsider'May the bond of peace be strong among all believers; in unity with you and each other we have strength. Amen
'All that we have needed you have provided, great is your faithfulness now unto us'
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Father God, thank you that we are all equal in your sight and you rank no one above another. Forgive us for our lack of love to one another, the times we have been blinded by prejudice and not seen the worth of our sisters and brothers. May we have the love, compassion, and humility of Jesus that all may see and know that we are One in Christ Jesus and there are no divisions between us. Amen
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31-36
Lord God Almighty, we will forever give you thanks that we are now your sons and daughters and part of your eternal household. You have set us free from all that held us captive and led to being separated from you. Guide us in our freedom; living, loving and being as you would wish us to be. Help us to walk in your will, attentive to your voice and obedient to your calling for us. Amen
The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“
The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Loving Father, we bless your Holy name and give thanks for your unfathomable love and faithfulness to us. Guard our thoughts and words or that which would lead to doubt and misery. Forgive us for the times we have relied on our material surroundings, or our own strength and understanding for happiness.
Our hope and joy is in you alone. With you we have more than sufficient for all our needs and for that we give you thanks. Amen
If you will seek God and make supplication to the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, surely then he will rouse himself for you and restore to you your rightful place. Though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great. “For inquire now of bygone generations, and consider what their ancestors have found; for we are but of yesterday, and we know nothing, for our days on earth are but a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding?
Lord of Eternity, we give thanks that the future is in your hands and your plans are for good. Help us to learn from our forefathers, both from their mistakes and from their steadfast and righteous living. Speak to us in this generation, guide our thoughts and actions that we might be found worthy to be called your followers. Forgive us for the times you have spoken and we have not listened and heeded you. In your goodness incline your ear to our prayers and guide us in right paths. Amen
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Almighty Father, we give you thanks that whilst we live on this earth, you have equipped us with all we need to be safe and able to withstand all that would seek to destroy us and your kingdom. Though we are weak you are strong and we claim the heavenly strength that comes from you. When we are afraid we ask for your courage, when we are tired give us your rest and above all we ask for your peace to dwell with in us now and forever. Amen
For you deliver a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
By you I can crush a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
For who is God except the Lord? And who is a rock besides our God? —the God who girded me with strength, and made my way safe.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer, and set me secure on the heights.
Father God, we declare our love and trust in you the Almighty God, the lighter of the way, the hedge around us in times of trouble and the rock of our salvation. Create in us a contrite and humble spirit that we might always find favour in your sight. Forgive us for the times we think we know best and go from you safe path. Help us in our daily life to be a light to others, pointing the way to Jesus, your Son, our Saviour. Amen
The woman heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
Mark 5 :27-34
God of health and healing, we come to you in faith trusting in your goodness and compassion towards us. We bless and thank you that you have made us whole. Even in our earthly infirmities we trust in your will for our lives. May your Grace cover our doubts. Let our faith grow as we draw near to you. We kneel at your feet, we touch your hem, we believe. Amen
We had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled.
Lord God, we give you thanks that in you we have a father who loves and cares for us. We are sorry for the times we behave as unruly children and do not heed your instruction. We ask for your Grace, without measure to abound in our lives. When we stumble, set us aright, when we go wrong, put us back on the path of truth and in all we do may it show our love and obedience to you. Amen
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Father God, lover of my soul; may my dependence be on you alone, let earthly distractions fade from my view and let me dwell in your courts forever. My coming in and my going out are in your hands, for you are my maker, protector and redeemer. Let my life be hidden in you and all I do be pleasing and acceptable in your eyes. Amen
The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!” The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Almighty God, by whose hand the winds blow, the rain falls and in whom all living things have their being, we praise your name and cry Glory to you. Give us Grace to live our lives in harmony with your will and may we know your peace which passes all understanding. Consider our human weakness and replace it with your Holy strength, replace our fear with confidence in you and may our joy be complete in your service. Amen
In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. See it is I who have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and produces a weapon fit for its purpose; I have also created the ravager to destroy. No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper,and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgement. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, says the Lord.
Lord God, we give thanks that you are our protector in times of trouble, that we can trust you in all things and we need have no fear. In our weakness, when our minds wander from your promises, help to recall your goodness, your hope and your covenant of peace which has not been removed. Great is your name and worthy are you to be praised. Amen.
The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth—when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil. When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.
Father God, maker of heaven and earth we give you thanks that you have given through your Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit all that is needed for humanity to exist in peace and plenty. We are sorry for the times we have not sought your wisdom and have gone our own ways. Help us to keep our hearts and minds fixed on your perfect ways which lead to love, understanding and righteousness. Amen
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Father Almighty, we give you thanks for the Wise Men, shepherds and all who embarked on a journey of faith to find Jesus and have become part of the wonderful story that reminds us of your love for us and the countless ways you speak and direct us. May our life and witness always show the way to Jesus, the bright morning star which leads to eternal life. Amen
What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.
Father God, we praise your name as the author of our lives. We thank you for the joy we have already received as your children and that until the end of our days you desire our happiness. May our hearts and hands be willing to serve you in whichever way that is useful and of benefit to your Kingdom and in doing so find contentment. Our ways are not your ways; we forget that your way is best, forgive our foolishness. May the Holy Spirit direct us in our daily lives and keep us from wandering from your path Amen.
"Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!
Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
Father God, as you were for your Son, our Saviour Jesus, we thank you that you are with us too. May your peace reign in our hearts whatever our circumstances. Let our strength come from you and may we truly believe that you have conquered the world we live in and we are safe in your keeping. Amen
“I will repay you for the years the swarming locust has eaten— the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you.’
Father God. we give you thanks that you have preserved our life to eternity. In the hard and easy times you have walked by our side. In faith we believe your promises that you will never leave us or forsake us, and that all we may have lost will be restored according to your will. By your grace we move forward into the future that you are preparing for us. Amen.