Home Service: Sunday 27 September 2020 ~ compiled by Louise Ratcliffe ~ ‘Faithful Friend’.
As we are gathered (all around Sandhurst and beyond) Jesus is here. One with each other, Jesus is here. Joined by the Spirit, washed in the blood Part of the body, the Church of God As we are gathered Jesus is here. One with each other, Jesus is here. Lord although we are scattered again this morning, we thank you that we are together in you. Meet with us Lord Jesus, this day. Amen
Song: Be Thou My Vision www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihJAJA4ibEs
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.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord; Thou my great Father, I Thy true son; Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight; Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight; Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower: Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise, Thou mine Inheritance, now and always: Thou and Thou only, first in my heart, High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won, May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Reading: Psalm 121 (The Passion Translation)
God Protects Us
I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall. God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me. He will never slumber nor sleep; he is the Guardian-God for his people, Israel. Jehovah himself will watch over you; he’s always at your side to shelter you safely in his presence. He’s protecting you from all danger both day and night. He will keep you from every form of evil or calamity as he continually watches over you. You will be guarded by God himself. You will be safe when you leave your home and safely you will return. He will protect you now, and he’ll protect you forevermore
When the road is rough and steep Fix your eyes upon Jesus. He alone has power to keep. Fix your eyes upon Him. Jesus Is a gracious friend, One on whom you can depend. He Is faithful to the End. Fix your eyes upon Him.
Gracious Lord, it is our privilege to be able to pray for our world and your people today. We pray for all those who are in the news today for whatever the reason. We especially bring you …………….. We pray for our country and town and all in authority over us. We especially bring you ……… We pray for our Church community both here at SBC, in, Sandhurst and the wider world. We especially bring you all those issues that are dear to our hearts……… We pray for all those that we have spoken to, emailed, phoned, met with during these last few days and those we will be in contact with in the coming week. We pray for their lives and our interaction together….. May we show your love to them in our words and actions. We pray for all those folk around us who are struggling due to the current climate of the pandemic, we pray for all that is hidden within us may you fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may find rest and peace in you. We lay all our prayers before you our Saviour and our Friend. Amen
Thought ~ What is life like?
When asked, one person said this,” Life is like a box of chocolates you don’t know what you will get until you open the box.” Another said that “life is like a book that we write as we go”. These ideas are interesting!
I believe though that life is more like a journey. We are only passing through this world like someone on a long trip. When we travel today security is an important consideration. The Psalmist shares thoughts on security when he wrote Psalm 121. The Psalmist considered where he might find protection for his journey. He found it in the Lord. The Lord is, Our Helper, Our Keeper, Our Protector and our Preserver Our Helper v.1-2 The Psalmist was traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate a religious feast. Jews travelled to Jerusalem several times a year to keep the Lord’s feasts. The journey took a few days. Travel was not very safe in the Middle East. The Psalmist was looking for help on his journey. Where would help come from? From the Lord. When we turn to Him for help, He is faithful to answer our prayers. He gladly watched over these travellers on their way to worship Him in Jerusalem. He also took comfort in God’s power. Our Creator is a God of power, wisdom and glory and we have nothing to fear. He made the heavens, the earth, and everything else in them. He made us and he knows us. . He is in control. God is able to help us and strengthen us for our journey through life.
Our Keeper v 3-4 Travelers are always in danger of accidents. They can slip or fall and hurt themselves. Here the Psalmist reminds us that God is watching over His people. He will not allow them to meet with such tragedy. People may slumber and sleep, but the Lord won’t. What can happen to believers that God doesn’t allow. He’s there to guide and protect us. The Lord is our Good Shepherd who leads His sheep along the journey of life.
Our Protector v 5-6 Travelers are exposed to dangers from robbers and evil folk. They often journey through unfamiliar territory. But God promises to be their protector. For the believer, God has promised to protect us from harm. This does not mean that we will not face danger sometimes. But it does mean that God will be with us and keep us through it. Travellers are also exposed to the elements. Yet the Lord promises to protect us from such exposure. He is at our side to shade us from the sun’s heat during the day and the cold of the night. In the Middle East, the sun is hot and distressing. God promises His protection from the elements. In the storms of our life, God will at times set himself between us and the fury of the storm and so protect us from it. At other times, he will expose us to the storm so that its ravages may serve to press us closer to him.
Our Preserver v 7-8 In His providence, God knows how much joy and sorrow, how much pleasure and pain, how much prosperity and poverty is acceptable for His child. He knows the correct balance of sunshine and storm, the precise mixture of darkness and light. God watches over us in the everyday affairs of life. He is watching when we go shopping or to the doctor. He sees us leave and come home again. Our Father is concerned with the minor details of our lives. He is concerned about our problems and wants to help. We are all traveling along life’s journey.
Some questions for you to ponder on:
- Do you have someone you can go to for help?
- Can you say the Lord is your helper and friend and that He watches over you and walks with you each day?
- Are you His precious child?
- Can you call to Him in prayer?
- Does He keep you from stumbling and give you strength each day?
- Does the Lord deliver you from your trials?
- Is He leading you to your heavenly home?
- Does your confidence rest in Him?
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged— Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful, Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy-laden, Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Saviour, still our refuge— Take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.
Blessed Saviour, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear; May we ever, Lord, be bringing All to Thee in earnest prayer. Soon in glory bright, unclouded, There will be no need for prayer— Rapture, praise, and endless worship Will be our sweet portion there.
During lockdown I found myself on a bit of a spiritual journey with God. I needed reassurance that he was with me in and through everything that was going on in the world and in my life.
I have attempted to chronicle this journey in the words I share with you below. A kind of poem. I hope you find some of the connections helpful and reassuring that Jesus is the most precious friend we will ever have.
Lord, where are you? (A spiritual journey)
Louise: Lord my spirit is agitated. Where are you? All around me seems to be falling apart and away. Where are you? Everything is odd, dark and different. Where are you? Life is stressful, money is tight. Where are you? Relationships strained, work non-existent. Where are you?
God: My darling, darling daughter, My precious child, I love you, I am here, I am here in your agitation, Please look to me. I am here walking with you while you feel life is falling apart. Please walk with me. I am in the darkness, don’t be afraid. Please look to me. I am holding your hand through the odd and the different. Please trust in me. I will provide when money is tight. Please trust in me. I am with you in the non-existent work. Please rest in me. I will bring healing to those difficult relationships. Please give them to me. My darling, darling daughter. My precious child, I love you, I am here.
Louise: Oh Lord forgive my untrusting, my downcast spirit, I know you love me. I feel you there Lord deep in my soul. I thank you. I see you as the cement in the cracks of life. I thank you. I see you in the sunshine and in the dark star lit night. I thank you. I see you in the odd and different standing beside me and willing me on. I thank you. I see you in my finances, you always provide in the most surprising of ways. I thank you. I see you in my rest and my play But especially on my sabbath day. I thank you. I feel you holding my hand and leading the way I thank you. I see you in Laughter, Colour, Music, and Food. I see you in Clouds, Sky, Art and Books. Lord you were always there with me. You always loved me I wasn’t paying attention…. I was just looking the opposite way!
God: My darling, darling daughter, My precious child, I love you. I am here
Louise: Thank you, Lord, for loving ME
Deep peace of the running wave to you. Deep peace of the flowing air to you. Deep peace of the quiet earth to you. Deep peace of the shining stars to you. Deep peace of the gentle night to you. Moon and stars pour their healing light on you. Deep peace of Christ, of Christ the light of the world to you. Deep peace of Christ to you.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen