Tuesday 31 March
I Am the Gate – John 10.1-10 Study Questions
John 10:1 “Truly I tell you, anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the gate but climbs in some other way is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus gave them this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
1. Why does Jesus use the analogy of God’s people being like sheep? (v1)
2. Who do you think the thieves and robbers are, and why are they dangerous?
3. What relationship does that true shepherd have with his sheep? (vv2-5)
4. What confidence and assurance can the sheep have?
5. Why do you think the people in v6 didn’t understand?
6. What is Jesus saying about himself by saying he is the gate for the sheep? (v7)
7. What does it mean to enter by the gate? (v9)
8. What is the alternative to trusting in Jesus Christ? (v10a)
9. What is the amazing promise Jesus makes as the gate? (v10b)
10. What comfort can we find as his sheep at this time of uncertainty?
Prayer of the Day
We thank you that we can turn to you for comfort and assurance through this difficult and uncertain times. You are indeed our Rock and our refuge.
As we walk through the darkest valley, we fear no danger for you are with us. Help us to continue to walk in faith with you, trusting in your sovereignty.We pray for the vulnerable and the isolated in our church and community. We commit to you the elderly, our parents and those who are alone and isolated. Protect them and keep them safe. Surround and comfort them with the peace that comes from knowing you.
For those in our community who do not know you, may they seek you and find assurance and certainty in you. Grant us, who believe in you, opportunities and courage to share our real hope in Christ.
In your great name we pray. Amen.
Prayer of the Day
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are the God of all compassion and comfort. We thank you that you listen to our prayers. We pray today for our world, our nation, our city and our church as the Coronavirus spreads.
Please bring help to all our communities according to their needs. Heal those afflicted and strengthen all who have the responsibility for care. In your mercy, please provide a cure and give wisdom to those seeking to develop a vaccine for this condition.
We pray, too, for ourselves. Enable us to walk by faith. Help us to be careful and wise in taking whatever precautions are necessary to limit and contain the spread of this virus. Strengthen us to remain calm while vigilant; responsible citizens seeking the welfare of others above ourselves.
At times of uncertainty and anxiety, help our world to look to security in your Son, Jesus Christ. And give courage to Christians as we point others to the One in whom there is always hope.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SATURDAY 28 MARCH
A Living Hope
Hope is a powerful thing, it allows to know that there is something better on the way. In 1 Peter 1.3 the apostle tells Christians scattered throughout the world that we have ‘a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’. In these times of uncertainty, anxiety and fear to have this hope is of immense comfort and joy. We have a living hope because the one that we have put our trust in is alive – Jesus Christ our awesome Lord and Saviour.
We don’t believe in some dry, dead, boring irrelevant religious information – this is true hope and purpose, and it’s a living hope, a living purpose. Christian hope is the certainty that no matter what happens God will make everything OK.
And don’t we need to remember this truth at a time like this, as the world spirals out of control, as governments scrabble to contain the virus and manage the economy, as people lose jobs and are placed under immense stress and isolation, to have the hope that God will make everything OK, because of Christ resurrection is something we need to remember each day. So our in times like this is the same as it’s always been – Jesus Christ!
Prayer of the Day
Our Great God,
We thank you for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you that it’s your eternal message of good news and salvation for all those who believe. At this time please help us to share this wonderful message of hope, life and love with the world around us. Give us the words and courage we need to share the reason for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Help us to be bold, passionate and courageous as we do this, taking every opportunity we have to tell others of this glorious message. Please bring many people to yourself at this time of crisis, that they might come to know the life that lasts forever in your son.
We ask this in Jesus’ name, our great Saviour, Amen.
FRIDAY 27 MARCH
Prayer of the Day
We pray today that you’ll be with those who are currently working on creating vaccines and medicines to combat COVID-19. Lord, give these people the diligence, patience and resolve, to create a vaccine efficiently and effectively so that it can be put to use to save lives. Be with those who are currently battling with COVID-19 and fill them with your Spirit so that they may find peace with you and have assurance in your glory regardless of their situation. We thank you that we already have an amazing medical system and the gift of science, and we pray the you may help the international community come together and set aside past differences to work on this cause. Lord, we pray that you’ll give us understanding, peace and a sober mind as we wait patiently for a vaccine to be made. But Lord, we ask that in all things your will be done.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
THURSDAY 26 MARCH
Coping with Isolation
Humanity is designed by God to be with each other, united in community, in family, in friendship and love. The Bible says it’s not good for man to be alone. So how will we cope when circumstances force us to be apart and not see each other?
Here are 6 tips for coping with isolation in the coming weeks and months.
1. Remember, you are not on your own
As Christians we live by faith and not by sight, by God’s word and not bread alone. The Bible says that God will never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13.5) and the resurrected Jesus says “remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28.20)
So we can always remind ourselves of this and spend time in prayer, talking to God who is always with us, reading his word and hearing the message about Christ who died for us.
2. Think about others
The Bible’s cure for loneliness is not to have people at our beck and call serving our every need, but to be servant hearted and selflessly there for others. We need to keep thinking about how we can serve others with an encouraging phone call or text, be praying for others and their needs, and remember to keep asking the simple but important question of “how are you?”
So don’t stop connecting with others even when you don’t really feel like it.
3. Find a new routine
Part of what is so disorienting and even distressing for many of us is that our normal routine has been completely abandoned. In place of our busy lives and many interactions we now have nothing.
It’s important to have a sense of routine and purpose, so thoughtfully consider mapping out what a day might look like, with set times to read the Bible and pray, contact others, do whatever physical exercise is possible, get things done around the house, as well as down time.
It’ll be tempting to spend the whole time bingeing ‘When Calls the Heart’ like JJ does, or ‘Nailed It’, like Mark, but incorporating variety into the routine will be better in the long term.
4. Use the Northmead resources page ‘Daily Courage’
Our website now has a page that will see new resources added daily to keep God’s word front and centre. There’ll be videos, articles, Bible studies and more to keep you growing as you feed on God’s living and active word. It’s easy to feel swamped by all the announcements, and become anxious looking at social media, so we need to take the time to listen and study what God has to say to us.
Soon there will also be resources and material for Kids and for Youth that might be helpful for your family.
You’ll also have less excuses now not to read that Christian book you were thinking about, or catch up on sermons you may have missed.
5. Live with hope
Being a Christian is in many ways about focusing on the future. We are people of hope, we serve God now while we wait for Christ to return and rescue us from the coming wrath (1 Thessalonians 1.10). We can endure because we know that what we are going through does not compare to the glory of what will be revealed.
So we should always keep our hope of Christ’s return at the forefront of our minds, even in these difficult times. But we also know in the meantime God loves to give good gifts to his children, God loves to produce fruit in his church, God loves to grow people more and more into the likeness of his son. So we may not know the full details of what is coming, but we know there are blessings in store. And we can look forward to that day when we all get to gather together once more and see each other face to face.
6. Ask for help
Sometimes it’s hard to admit we’re struggling, we’re doing it tough, or we are just plain lonely. At this time we need to be humble enough to acknowledge to God and each other that we are struggling, and to reach out for help and friendship.
Prayer of the Day
We thank you for the health care system we have in Australia. Today we pray for all those who work in health and hospitals at this time. We ask that you protect all the doctors, nurses, allied health, social works, admin staff, cleaners, security and more in this time of anxiety, uncertainty and stress. Give them great wisdom and peace in crisis and supply them with what they need as they care for those who are unwell and vulnerable. Please we ask, look after their families and help their love ones know how to best support them as they face such a difficult situation. And help those who trust in you, to look to Jesus, the great physician of our souls and the anchor of our faith.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH
Prayer of the Day
Thank you that you are good and in control. Thank you that in all things, you work for the good of those who love you, and for the glory of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
With our world in this state, we are reminded that we are vulnerable and powerless. Please lift our hearts and minds to you. Help us to look to you and to the cross of Christ, to find our salvation, value, hope and security. Give us courage to speak the gospel, that we might strengthen one another, and spread your word to the lost. Use us to encourage each other and to save your people. Use us to further your kingdom, while we wait for Christ’s return.
With so much sickness, pain, suffering and sin in our world, we do pray that Jesus would return quickly and make all things right.
Come Lord Jesus,