Home Service 27

Home Service, September 13th 2020 ~ Prepared by Fay Cumberland

Today, we’ll be looking very briefly at the Armour of God, but first let’s be still a moment and focus on our Lord and Teacher, Jesus Christ ….

Saviour Christ, although we are apart, in our homes, please join us through Your Spirit; may our worship, our thinking and our prayers bring You pleasure as we come before You. Amen.

From Psalm 92 [The Passion Translation]:
It’s so enjoyable to come before you with uncontainable praises spilling from our hearts! How we love to sing our praises over and over to you,
to the matchless God, high and exalted over all! At each and every sunrise we will be thanking you for your kindness and your love. As the sun sets and all through the night, we will keep proclaiming, “You are so faithful!”
Melodies of praise will fill the air as every musical instrument, joined with every heart, overflows with worship. No wonder I’m so glad; I can’t keep it in! Lord, I’m shouting with glee over all you’ve done, for all you’ve done for me!

Song: My Jesus, my Saviour
My Jesus, my Saviour
Lord there is none like you
All of my days, I want to praise the wonders of your mighty love
My comfort, my shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am, never cease to worship You
Shout to the Lord, all the earth let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your name
I sing for joy at the work of your hands
Forever I’ll love you, forever I’ll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

Thank you, Father, for the promise of life in abundance with You, and for making it possible through the death and resurrection of Your Son; thank you for your promise to be with us always, through your Holy Spirit. We offer our thanks also, for ….. Thou hast given so much to me, Give one thing more – a grateful heart; Not thankful when it pleases me, As if Thy blessings had spare days; But such a heart whose very pulse may be Thy praise. *Amen.

Song: Give thanks
Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given
Jesus Christ, His Son.
And now let the weak say ‘I am strong,’
Let the poor say ‘I am rich,’
Because of what the Lord has done for us.
(Last time)
Give thanks.

My thoughts for this Home Service stem from last week’s – God as our Refuge and Strength, providing help and safety in rough times: He certainly protects us, but there is something we can do to protect ourselves – and God gives us the equipment to do just that so that we can cope with everyday life and venture out of our comfort zones, taking Christs’ love to others.

Ephesians 6:10-17
The Armour of God
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the
readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Paul is referring to armour which would have been a common sight in his day – that of a Roman soldier; to remind you what it looks like …

Now, clearly Paul doesn’t mean physical armour; so what can he mean? How do we put it on? Perhaps it’s a question of remembering and affirming to ourselves …I hope you won’t mind if I share with you some thoughts [from my journal] that came to me a couple of months ago. The belt of truth – I remember the truth of who you are and of your promise never to abandon me. The breastplate of righteousness, a gift from my Father; to protect my inner self, knowing I’m right with Him; protecting my spiritual lungs so that I can breathe in His Spirit. The shoes – I am ready to continue walking with Jesus, not to stand still; and to take the gospel with me. The shield of faith – a barrier against the enemy’s barbs – I will continue to trust in God and in His promises, no matter how I feel, or what life is like.
The helmet – to protect my mind, my thinking [what do I fill my head
with ??!!] The sword – to use Scripture for prayer, guidance, reassurance; and to go on the attack against evil influences, negative thoughts; to keep
renewing my Vision of who God is.

Song: Be Thou my vision
BE THOU MY VISION, O Lord of my heart,
Be all else but naught to me, save that Thou art;
Be Thou my best thought in the day and the night,
Both waking and sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my wisdom, be Thou my true word,
Be Thou ever with me, and I with Thee, Lord;
Be Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;
Be Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
Be Thou my whole armour, be Thou my true might;
Be Thou my soul’s shelter, be Thou my strong tower:
O raise Thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.
Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise:
Be Thou mine inheritance now and always;
Be Thou and Thou only the first in my heart:
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure Thou art.
High King of heaven, Thou heaven’s bright Sun,
O grant me its joys after victory is won;
Great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be Thou my vision, O Ruler of all.

Can I ask you to reflect for a few minutes: What does it mean to you to put on the whole armour of God? Might it mean different things at different times in your life? Whatever answers you come up with, be assured that God is with you all the time and He will provide for you.

Let’s praise Him:
Song: Blessed be Your name
Blessèd be Your name
In the land that is plentiful,
Where Your streams of abundance flow,
Blessèd be Your name.
And blessèd be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place,
Though I walk through the wilderness,
Blessèd be Your name.
Every blessing You pour out I’ll
Turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord,
Still I will say:
Blessèd be the name of the Lord,
Blessèd be Your name.
Blessèd be the name of the Lord,
Blessèd be Your glorious name.
Blessèd be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me,
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’,
Blessèd be Your name.
And blessèd be Your name
On the road marked with suffering,
Though there’s pain in the offering,
Blessèd be Your name.
You give and take away,
You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say:
Lord, blessèd be Your name.

And Paul goes on to remind us to pray:
Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

O Lord hear my prayer …
For the life of the church ….
For our local community ….
People in special need ….
For the needs of the world ….
For our family and friends ….
And for ….
Loving father, we bring these prayers in and through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. Amen.

A song to close: He who would valiant be
Note – this may not be the version you expect!! Words are the original, but here are the more familiar lyrics:
He who would valiant be
’Gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy
Follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.
Who so beset him round
With dismal stories,
Do but themselves confound—
His strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might,
Though he with giants fight;
He will make good his right
To be a pilgrim.
Since, Lord, Thou dost defend
Us with Thy Spirit,
We know we at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away!
I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim.

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be amongst us and remain with us always. Amen.

*The prayer quoted was written by George Herbert [1593-1633], a renowned a Welsh-born poet, orator, and priest of the Church of England.