Saturday 4 April
I love end of world movies: Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012. But I wonder how often we think about the end of the world and how what comes next effects our lives in the present? As Christians we know that Jesus promises that he will return like a thief in the night, Paul echo’s this sentiment in 1 Thessalonians, reminding us that people will say we have “peace and security,” then suddenly Christ will return and end our best laid plans.
And I wonder how much you’ve thought about Jesus’ return this week? As the world spirals out of control and all the news coming our way is bad, how has Christ’s certain and glorious return effected what you do and how you do it? How does knowing that Jesus could return any day, at any hour and at any minute change how you do, what you do?
It’s an important question to keep asking ourselves and there is so much that could be said about how our we should live in light of our future with Jesus, but I’m constantly drawn back to Peter’s words in his first letter: now the end of all things is near, so maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4.7-8).
Does knowing the end of the world is coming make you earnestly care for your christian brother and sister? To be hospitable and serving and sharing? Love that shows itself in generosity that doesn’t complain? Love that goes beyond the conversations over morning tea? So this week keep your love at full strength, because the end is near and it’s 2,000 years nearer than when Peter wrote his letter.
Prayer of the Day
Sovereign Lord, you alone are the hope and healer of your people. You have promised us the hope of a world where there will be no more sorrow, sickness, or dying. Comfort and heal, merciful Lord, all who are in sorrow, need, sickness, or any other trouble.
By Jesus death and resurrection you have set your people free from both the penalty of sin and the fear of death. Give us a firm trust in your goodness, and bring us into the joy of the bodily resurrection, and the fulfilment of all your precious promises. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Friday 3 April
Partners in Prayer
I can assure you all that your ministry team here at Northmead are working really hard for you right now. They always do, but even more now, in these new and weird circumstances, they are praying and contacting and leading and planning and proclaiming their hearts out.
It’s been really hard, because as ministers the greatest desire is always to be with people and share God’s word, as well as share lives and friendship with them. The team is feeling a sense of disconnection and lostness, wondering how to lead and shepherd and care for you all at this time. There’s also a steep learning curve of technology and what will and won’t be helpful and what will and won’t honour Jesus as an expression of church.
But the team is devoted to Jesus more than ever, focused on the message of the cross, and working with his strength to be a blessing to you all.
Even as I assure you of this effort, I am conscious that at the same time I am more and more aware of your partnership in this, and extremely thankful to God for it. I know that so many people are praying for our church right now, and praying in particular for the pastors and staff of Northmead. It’s a real joy to keep getting messages of encouragement and support, messages of thanks to God and ongoing prayers.
More than ever we all need each other right now and I love this expression of partnership together. Our church community and our serving the Lord together is not about one group of people responsible for everything and another group consuming a product. We’re all in this together.
Paul speaks of this partnership several times in his letters, showing that real partnership in the gospel is often expressed through prayer.
In our passage this Sunday he’s conscious that he will be saved through the prayers of the Philippians and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1. 19). Even as he prays for them in vv9-11, they are also praying for him, because as he had said before they are partners with him in grace and in his imprisonment and defence of the gospel. Separated by vast distance and the walls and bars of a prison, they are still united in sharing and partnering in the gospel.
Paul also describes this partnership of prayer when he writes in Romans 15.30 “Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in prayers to God on my behalf.”
Paul invites his brothers and sisters in Christ to join him in his work, and strive together with him through prayer. Again, they are apart physically, but in Christ
by his Spirit and expressed through prayerful dependence on God, they are partners together.
This is true for us and we thank God for you and for our partnership together!
Prayer of the Day
Dear Loving Father
You are the loving God of all the nations and peoples on this earth. Please look with mercy and compassion on all you have created. This day we ask for your help. Please deliver us from the coronavirus and limit its impact on Australia and the world. In your mercy bring a swift end to this crisis.Please protect with your loving care those we love- our families, friends and neighbours. Let your fatherly hand guide, shelter and strengthen them.Cast out all anxious fears and doubts.
Give us an increasing trust in you and fill our hearts and minds with your peace. We pray for those around the world now struggling with COVID-19. Heal and comfort those who are sick and suffering. Protect and guide the health professionals who are at the front line.Please give wisdom and courage to those who bear responsibility for confronting this challenge. We ask these things through the powerful name of Jesus, Amen
Wednesday 1 April
Prayer of the Day
Lord God, we give thanks that you are always attentive to the prayers of your people. We pray for your people throughout the world, and for those here in Sydney. Strengthen us for our witness and work in the world. Assist your people to boldly confess our trust in Jesus, and speak of your grace and glory to our anxious and fearful world.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.