Wherever We Worship

John 4:7–24

Intense pain and a debilitating headache prevented me from attending services with my local church family . . . again. Grieving the loss of community worship, I watched an online sermon. At first, complaints soured my experience. The poor sound and video quality distracted me. But then a voice on the video warbled a familiar hymn. Tears flowed as I sang these words: “Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me save that Thou art. Thou my best thought, by day or by night. Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.” Focusing on the gift of God’s constant presence, I worshiped Him while sitting in my living room.

While Scripture affirms the vital, essential nature of corporate worship (Hebrews 10:25), God’s not bound within the walls of a church building. During Jesus’ chat with the Samaritan woman at the well, He defied all expectations of the Messiah (John 4:9). Instead of condemnation, Jesus spoke truth and loved her as she stood next to that well (v. 10). He revealed His intimate and sovereign knowledge of His children (vv. 17–18). Proclaiming His deity, Jesus declared that the Holy Spirit evoked true worship from the hearts of God’s people, not from a specific physical location (vv. 23–24).

When we focus on who God is, what He’s done, and all He’s promised, we can rejoice in His constant presence as we worship Him with other believers, in our living rooms . . . and everywhere!

Where do you enjoy worshiping God? How do you enjoy His presence and experience joy while worshiping Him?

Amazing God, please help me worship You as I rejoice in who You are, what You’ve done, and all You promise to do.

Learning to Trust 

Matthew 6:25-34 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Do not worry

25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 ‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

As the varied way of life we journey,
Come the plains and then the mountainside,
Come the days of joy when birds are singing,
And the world is fair and sweet and wide;
Then a deeper joy comes, overfilling,
From the everlasting throne of love,
And all other joy is but an echo
From the ever-blessèd heights above.

There are shadows on the earthly pathway
Where, at times uncertainly, we tread;
In perplexity we halt and linger
Till our faith again is upward led.
For the heights of truth are ever calling,
And celestial radiance from afar
On our pilgrim way is gently falling
For our comfort where the shadows are.

In the days of peace and golden sunshine,
In the days of joy, or days of woe,
There is confidence in Him who holds us;
There is light to guide us here below.
And beyond await the heights of rapture,
Where all earthly joys, transcended, fade
In the glory of the Saviour’s presence,
In the Home eternal He has made.

Listen to Jesus

Proverbs 8 New International Version

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32 “Now then, my children, listen to me;
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
    do not disregard it.

34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
    and receive favour from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
    all who hate me love death.”

Although this passage of scripture indicates that Jesus is talking to children, the passage really refers to us all. We must keep listening because it is only by listening we become wise and are blessed

Grudges

I heard a conversation a few days ago. One person felt the other had upset them and had held on
to this grudge for two weeks, before venting their anger. If they had just turned round and said
something at the time, the matter would have been settled. No, they had turned it over and over in
their mind for days. It’s so easy to feel slighted, simply by taking what someone has said, in all
innocence, the wrong way. The perceived hurt, anger and bitterness had festered inside, causing
pain and anger. My challenge for you today, is, if you feel someone has hurt you, done something
you do not agree with, said something that has caused you to take offence, then make today the
day you get in touch with them, talk to them. Explain how you feel, and stop that annoyance
causing you to feel stressed.


Leviticus 19:17-19
Don’t hold grudges. On the other hand, it’s wrong not to correct someone who needs correcting.
Stop being angry and don’t try to take revenge. I am the Lord, and I command you to love others
as much as you love yourself

TO GOD BE THE GLORY

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Psalm 126

A song of ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of[a] Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.[b]
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes,[c] Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

MY TRIBUTE TO GOD BE THE GLORY

How can I say thanks for the things
You have done for me?
Things so undeserved yet You gave
To prove Your love for me
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude
All that I am, and ever hope to be
I owe it all to Thee

To God be the glory
To God be the glory
To God be the glory
For the things He has done
With His blood He has saved me
With His power He has raised me
To God be the glory
For the things He has done

Just let me live my life and
Let it be pleasing Lord to Thee
And if I gain any praise
Let it go to Calvary
With His blood He has saved me
With His power He has raised me
To God be the glory
For the things He has done

For the things He has done
For the things He has done

Renewing our Covenant with God

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Deuteronomy 29 New International Version 

Renewal of the Covenant

29 [a]These are the terms of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelite’s in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.

Moses summoned all the Israelite’s and said to them:

Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”

When you reached this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out to fight against us, but we defeated them. We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do. 10 All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, 11 together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 14 I am making this covenant,with its oath, not only with you 15 who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.

In God’s Hands

Isaiah 41:10-12 New International Version

10 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.

11 “All who rage against you
    will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
    will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
    you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
    will be as nothing at all.

It’s probably a good job we don’t know what’s ahead of us for example we didn’t know Covid – 19 was going to raise it’s ugly head towards 2019. A couple of lockdowns on with vaccinations in September 2021 we’re still fighting the virus.

Meanwhile things have been happening else where.

Recently America has pulled their troops out of Afghanistan because of the troubles there, and on top of that New Orleans has been hit by a tornado

I shall not fear though darkened clouds may gather round me;
The God I serve is one who cares and understands;
Although the storms I face would threaten to confound me,
Of this I am assured: I’m in His hands.

I’m in His hands, I’m in His hands;
Whate’er the future holds, I’m in His hands;
The days I cannot see have all been planned for me;
His way is best, you see; I’m in His hands.

What though I cannot know the way that lies before me,
I still can trust and freely follow His commands;
My faith is firm since He it is who watches o’er me;
Of this I’m confident: I’m in His hands.

In days gone by my Lord has always proved sufficient,
When I have yielded to the law of love’s demands;
Why should I doubt that He would evermore be present
To make His will my own? I’m in His hands!

Sharing

2 Corinthians 9:13 13

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Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

It’s true what this video says We do have gift to share to everyone. The beauty of it is that everyone’s gift is different from the person next to you.

In the reading above we are reminded that Paul tells the people of Corinth because you have proved yourselves  others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ,

Whilst sharing things puts us in Gods favour, we mustn’t forget the most important thing to share is the Gospel.

Light of the World

One of my favourite Salvation Army Band pieces is called ‘The Light of the World’ written and composed by Dean Goffin who I believe was Australian. I suppose one of the reasons I like this piece is the main hymn/theme going through it which is O Jesus, thou art standing. You will also hear the chorus Behold me standing at the door come in through the piece and if you listen carefully you will hear the bottom end of the band emphasise the knocking.

Holmun Hunt also painted a picture of Jesus sanding outside a door knocking and I believe this can be seen in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

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O Jesus, thou art standing,
outside the fast closed door,
in lowly patience waiting
to pass the threshold o’er:
shame on us, Christian brothers,
his Name and sign who bear,
O shame, thrice shame upon us,
to keep him standing there!

O Jesus, thou art knocking;
and lo, that hand is scarred,
and thorns thy brow encircle,
and tears thy face have marred:
O love that passeth knowledge,
so patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal,
so fast to bar the gate!

O Jesus, thou art pleading
in accents meek and low,
“I died for you, my children,
and will you treat me so?”
O Lord, with shame and sorrow
we open now the door;
dear Saviour, enter, enter,
and leave us never more.

As you listen to this video I would invite you to pray for the people of Afghanistan and the troubles in that country

Go in Peace

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John 16 The Passion Translation

25 “I have spoken to you using figurative language,[m] but the time is coming when I will no longer teach you with veiled speech, but I will teach you about the Father with your eyes unveiled.[n] 26 And I will not need to ask the Father on your behalf, for you’ll ask him directly because of your new relationship with me.[o] 27 For the Father tenderly loves you, because you love me and believe that I’ve come from God. 28 I came to you sent from the Father’s presence, and I entered into the created world, and now I will leave this world and return to the Father’s side.”

29 His disciples said, “At last you’re speaking to us clearly and not using veiled speech and metaphors! 30 Now we understand that you know everything there is to know, and we don’t need to question you further. And everything you’ve taught us convinces us that you have come directly from God!”

31 Jesus replied, “Now you finally believe in me. 32 And the time has come when you will all be scattered, and each one of you will go your own way, leaving me alone![p] Yet I am never alone, for the Father is always with me. 33 And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous,[q] for I have conquered the world!”[r]

Sadly within the last three weeks I have lost two family members who were very dear to me. My fathers cousin who was classed as a older brother died suddenly at sixty seven and on Monday I got a phone call from my mother saying she thought my stepdad had died. As my mother doesn’t live far from me I said I would be there straight away. The paramedics were still on scene when we arrived and confirmed he was dead. The only connection between these two deaths is that they went in peace!

Go in peace, go in love. May the Lord be at your side. Go in peace, go in love, May he ever be your guide. May his Grace overflow, and his mercy be upon you, Go in peace, go in love. Now and evermore