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Yesterday (Sunday 22nd March 2020) was a very strange day for many of us. Instead of going to Burnside and being able to worship together we had to stay in our homes and worship God. Many of you worshipped by using our online service, and I have been overwhelmed that so many of you took the time to watch and worship, and so many of you have sent such kind messages. There will be more to follow each week on the Website.
The online Service can be found at the link below.
Despite all the disadvantages of not meeting together there have been at least two major plus points.
The Presbyterian Churches in the Presbytery of Coleraine and Limavady have been praying for Revival during the last four weeks of Lent, through Trypraying. More details can be found at www.Trypraying.co.uk
Yesterday morning Youtube struggled to cope with the bandwidth required, as so many churches were broadcasting their services. (Services which normally only a few people can attend, but this week went out to a potentially world wide audience.) We are beginning to see the Spirit move in new ways. On page 3 of the Trypraying - Catching The Wave book we read ...
Imagine what would happen if thousands of people were praying every day and hundreds of churches united in asking God for his will to be done.
Imagine whole communities becoming saturated with the presence of God and people forsaking what is wrong, experiencing his love and finding Christ every day.
Imagine people becoming interested in the message of Christ and widespread social change as people live in hope instead of despair.
Imagine discovering God to be near; answers to prayer becoming common place and church becoming truly glorious.
Is this what we are beginning to see in the midst of the spread of this most terrible virus? Let us keep praying for Revival.
The Theme this week in Trypraying is Restoring.
We restore ...
“‘Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit’ says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6
We are all called at this time to follow the Holy Spirit and love our neighbour. We are asked to care for our neighbours practically by running errands for those who are stuck in their homes, but also by being considerate and not exercising our own rights but thinking of how our actions will impact the lives of others.
The special prayer focus this week is Education (page 47), which in a week where schools are closed, teachers are communicating online, pupils are learning at home and everyone is adapting to the new circumstances, prayers for Education are valued more than ever.
Day 23 of Trypraying is about Confidence.
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
As well as our Presbytery being involved in Trypraying there are two other initiatives from the Presbyterian Church this week.
Tides - (The daily devotional delivered via email each weekday) is focused on helping us through these uncertain terms.
If you don’t receive Tides every morning then you can find today’s reading at the link below and you can subscribe for free.
Also Let’s Pray, has specific topics to guide our prayers each day. You can sign up to receive these by email or find today’s topic at the link below.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Today our focus is “Faith in Action”, which is quite a challenge when our actions are being curtailed so much with the spread of Corona Virus. I have been praying and planning this morning, thinking about what I can do as a pastor with all the current restrictions. I have been asking God what new opportunities there are for ministry with a very limited palette available with which to paint. Today we need to practice our faith and put it into action. For many there is more time available to pray as they are confined to their homes. For others life has become so frantic trying to adapt to new business models that there is basically no time to pray, we need to support our brothers and sisters in any way that we can. Lord how can we put our faith in action today?
Today is all about asking.
Perhaps you have done nothing but ask over the last few days as Corona Virus has been spreading across the world.
Today we are encouraged to pray that you – and others in your group or church – will see in Jesus what the blind man saw, that God has power to transform life.
Let us pray that God will deal with our fear and give us faith to trust in Him more and more.
We are also asked today, If Jesus asked you, “What do you want me to do for you?” What would you say? Try telling him now.
Jesus wants us to come asking, James reminds us that,
“You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2.)
The most important issue is not how much faith we have but in whom it is placed? A tiny amount of faith - even as small as a mustard seed - when it is in Jesus is sufficient to move mountains.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
There is one line in today’s reading that cannot be emphasised too much. “Sin in its various forms robs people of their freedom.” Jesus says in Luke 4 “He has sent me to proclaim freedom ...” Let us find freedom today in Christ!
Two truths for today -
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Revelation 3:17
We must never allow our own possessions to stop us either having compassion for the poor or realising our need of Jesus.
As we read Jesus' prayer for unity among believers we unite with the Presbyterians in Coleraine and Limavady and pray for Revival.
“Surely I am with you always...” Matthew 28:20
That is the assurance today that no matter what we face, the Holy Spirit will be with us.
How will I change the way I worship if I truly believe the Psalmist when he says -
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
Why is confessing our sin important?
Sin stops our prayers being answered. Revivals of the past have always included conviction of sin. So let us not cherish sin in our hearts but instead ascend the hill of the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart.
Why do we seek God? Why do we pray? Is it because we feel we should, or is it because we have found treasure and we want it more than anything else?
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.