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Prayer

While reading a book the other day I was directed to John 3:14 - 15.

This took me to Numbers 21:4 - 9.

From all of this came some prayer thoughts.

In Numbers 21:4 - 9 we read of a time when the Israelites, as they often did during their journeying in the wilderness, complained against God and Moses. Their complaints included lack of bread and water, and they expressed their disgust at the food God had provided for them. In short they complained to Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert?” [Numbers 21:5a)]

Are we like the Israelites? -moaning and complaining about our circumstances to God, then when he brings us out of those circumstances we moan about the new ones he has put us in. In short, are we never happy with God’s provisions, always wanting more? Such an attitude resulted in the first recorded sin. God had supplied everything that Adam and Eve could ever want, but Eve fell for Satan’s trick and believed that God might be holding back something better from them! [cf. Genesis 3]

In our current crisis are we blaming God, are we moaning about being in lockdown, or are we thanking God for keeping us safe in this crisis, for giving us time to do many things we have always wanted to do but never found the time to do them? Are we thanking him for his promises never to leave us, never to forsake us, but to be with us “always, to the very end of the age.”?        [cf. Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 15:5b); Matthew 21:28]

In the passage in Numbers, God’s anger broke out against the people and he sent venomous snakes amongst them. The result: many deaths. The people asked Moses to intercede on their behalf. God granted Moses’ request. He told Moses to make a snake, put it on a pole so that if anyone was bitten by a snake they could look up to the snake (made out of bronze) and live.

So what is the connection with John 3:14 - 15? Jesus told Nicodemus, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

If you looked at the snake in the wilderness you would receive physical healing, and be saved. BUT if you look to the Son of Man, crucified for you, and believe in him you receive not just physical health but spiritual health, and you will be saved and live eternally with God.

A pattern emerges

Can you see the pattern that emerges from these incidents?

In Numbers the people rebel against God but God also provides a way out for them.

In Genesis Adam and Eve reject God’s way for them but, even as he removes them from the Garden of Eden, God shows his mercy and makes clothes for them.

In John we see God providing a way out for sinful people. God in Christ will take their penalty - death - for their sin on the cross, and offer them eternal life.

 

God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is a righteous and just God. BUT he is also love; he is compassionate; he knows our weaknesses; he wants us to be in an intimate, loving relationship with himself.

So when we rebel against God, when we moan and complain about his treatment of us, he still loves us and has given us in Christ the way back to himself. Why? So that we can live with him eternally: enjoying eternal life on this earth and in glory.

 

Let us:

    · thank God for being love, and loving us;

    · repent of our sin against him and seek and receive his forgiveness in Christ;

    · live for him and for him alone, as living sacrifices [cf. Romans 12:1 - 2];

    · intercede with God for our nation during this crisis, asking him to break the hold this virus has over us;

    · ask God to bring us out of this crisis with a far deeper love for him, and for each other.

Let us ask God to continually deepen our faith in him through Jesus Christ.

In all we do let us give him alone all the glory!

    Yours in Christ,

    Douglas

 

While we continue to pray for each other as outlined below

Minister

prays for the elders.

Elders

pray for all* their district.

Members

pray for those they usually sit beside in church.

[* Elders: remember your district includes everyone not just church members]

here are few extra prayer points you might find useful:

· pray for the staff in our local Co-op;

· pray for the staff in Newmachar Pharmacy;

· pray for those businesses in Newmachar and district who have had to close under current restrictions;

· pray for our school children, school staff, and parents during the school closures;

· pray for all those working in New Dyce Medical Practice and local dental practices;

· pray for residents and staff in Balmedie House and other local care homes.

Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives

    Yours in Christ,

    Douglas

     

‘Prayer . . . after prayer . . . as a result of prayer . . . prayer . .’

 During our recent local church review we left the Presbytery with the impression that we were a great praying church. In fact, we are quite good at prayer, and probably better than many other churches. BUT we are not perfect!

 This current crisis that faces us gives us a great opportunity to develop our prayer life, and establish stronger patterns for the future. We have been given time, that so often we cry out for, to do those things that we have always wanted to get round to doing but have never done!

 Amongst those ‘things’ is the opportunity to pray for others: intercessory prayer. Much of the prayer life of our church tends to be done on an individual basis: gathering together to pray seems to be anathema to many of us. 

 So why don’t we take this opportunity to commit to pray for each other in a structured way.

 Oswald Chambers stated: ‘. . . intercession is the only thing that has no drawbacks, because it keeps our relationship completely open with God.’

 Here is my suggestion for getting us started:

Minister

prays for the elders.

Elders

pray for all* their district.

Members

pray for those they usually sit beside in church.

[* Elders: remember your district includes everyone not just church members]

Shall we try this together for a week or ten days?

Then I shall come back with some other thoughts for prayer.

 

“ ‘ “The Lord bless you

      and keep you;

the Lord make his face to shine upon you

      and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn his face towards you

      and give you peace.” ’        [Numbers 6:24 - 26]

 

Yours in Christ,

Douglas

 

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