I want to thank all of you who have prayed and supported the work of the Gospel through the church in 2023 and this first month of 2024. It is a great joy to minister at Westminster Baptist and I love the church here greatly. Through this past year, there have been heart-wrenching tragedies alongside blessings too. This is often the case in Christian life and yet we are called to keep trusting and believing. We often bear the battle scars of past experience and circumstance, as we live in this sinful world and anticipate heaven. We see Mordecai, mocked and scorned for years in Esther and on the brink of execution, yet he latterly knew blessing from God. The most important thing was he was faithful in serving the Lord.
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful - 1 Corinthians 4:2. This verse especially applies to ministers, church workers, but to all Christians. We are stewards of the oracles of God and to us has the light of the gospel been revealed. We should therefore be striving to be faithful, not popular, faithful. May that be our aim by the grace of God.
In the beginning month in recent years we have spent a week praying together on each day for certain things. As a reminder that with continuing faith that prayer is essential. Key to our hope nd joy and endurance and love, and with new resolve to make time to pray regularly alone and with your family and with some group of fellow believers.
Alongside reading the Scriptures these should be our daily routine. There are various encouragements in the Scriptures to pray:
- Pray without ceasing (1 Th. 5:17).
- Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ep. 6:18).
- Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; (Col. 4:2).
These are a few verses of the many that encourage us to pray and undoubtedly set before us a biblical mandate that we should be concerned to pray. Maybe you have fallen out of the 'habit' or relegated prayer to a part time practice; or you only pray when trouble or danger comes. May these verses challenge us all at the start of this new year to be a people of prayer. To that end I would ask the church to pray, if led, the suggested topics below so we might pray for the same things (roughly speaking) on the same day to encourage us.
Let us be prayerful people and realise we too need prayer. To say we are praying for someone should be an expression of concern but an indication of our own action to bring the matter before God, before the throne of Grace through the believers mediator and High Priest, Jesus Christ. Paul even requests prayer for himself and those labouring for the Gospel with him twice in 1 and 2 Thessalonians saying 'brethren pray for us'. May we be a prayerful church and prayerful individuals, knowing that we have a prayer hearing and answering God.
Pastor Jonathan Arnold.
Prayer - Sunday
- God thanks to God for His character, perfect, unchangeable, the same yesterday today and forever.
- Give thanks to God that we can meet in the church and have fellowship with one another.
- Pray the Lord would grant the preaching of his word power and clarity, and there are ready ears to hear and believe it. (2 Thes. 3.1.)
- Pray we would be granted faithful ministry and good spiritual food from God's Word. (1 Peter 2.2.)
Sunday morning at 11:00am in church (also available online via Facebook)
Sunday evening at 6:30pm in church (also available online via Facebook)
Bible study and prayer
Wednesday evening at 7:00pm in church (also available online via Facebook)
Lunch hour service
Thursday afternoon between 1:00pm and 1:30pm in church (also available online via Facebook)
Saturday morning at Victoria Street (outside the big Boots store) for 10:30am (across the road from Town Hall - No. 64). Afterwards we go back to church for prayer.
Preface - Embittered by his sufferings Job taketh more liberty in expostulating with God. He repineth at having been brought into being, and prayeth for a little respite from pain before his death.
Preface - Directions to treat a weak brother kindly, and not to despise or censure one another in matters of indifference. Christ's right to our best services, whether we live or die. We must all be answerable for our respective conduct at his judgment seat. We must be careful not to use our Christian liberty to the hurt or offence of tender consciences.
Daily Light - Morning
They that feared the LORD spake often one to another:
and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
It cam to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. - Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. - My fellowlabourers, whose name are in the book of life.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and humans and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. - Exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. - Behold, it is written before me.
Mal. 3.16; Lu. 24.15; Mt. 18.20; Phil. 4.3
Col. 3.16; He. 3.13
Mt. 12.36-37; Isa. 65.6
Daily Light - Evening
The trees of the LORD are full of sap.
I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. - Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish.
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in teh house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in older age; they shall be fat and flourishing.
Ps. 104.16; Hos. 14.5-6; Jer. 17.7-8
A Puritans Catechism
Q61 - Which is the ninth commandment?
A - The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
BAPTIST CONFESSION OF FAITH
Of the Gospel and the Extent of Grace Thereof
Although the gospel be the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace, and is, as such, abundantly sufficient thereunto; yet that men who are dead in trespasses may be born again, quickened or regenerated, there is moreover necessary an effectual insuperable work of the Holy Spirit upon the whole soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual life;8 without which no other means will effect their conversion unto God.9
8 Ps. 110:3; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 1:19–20
9 John 6:44; 2 Cor. 4:4,6
Robert Murray M'Cheyne - God Makes A Path - Daily Devotional Readings
He's preparing a place
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you - John 14 v 2
When a family are going to emigrate to a foreign shore, often the elder brother goes before to prepare a place for his younger brethren. This is what Christ has done. He does not intend that we should live here always - He has gone a far journey in order to prepare a place for us: 'I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that were I am, there ye may be also.' Oh, Christians! believe in Christ preparing a place for you. It will greatly take away the fear of dying. It is an awful thing to die, even for a forgiven and sanctified should to enter on a world unknown, unseen, untried. One thing takes away fear: Christ is preparing a place quite suitable for my soul. He knows all the wants and weaknesses of my frame. I know He will make it a pleasant home to me.