Thank you all for your prayers and support for the work of the church throughout 2023. I know we all have been through varying difficulties and some through particular hardships. Once again we can thank the Lord that we have been brought through trusting in the Lord as our refuge and strength. As I encouraged the congregation at the start of last year it is vitally important to pray to keep close to God and continue faithfully in our Christian life. Alongside reading the Scriptures these should be our daily routine. There are various encouragements in the Scriptures to pray.
-Pray without ceasing (1Th. 5.17).
-Praying always with all prayer 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 this be a prayerful church and prayerful individuals, knowing that we have a prayer hearing and answering God.
Pastor Jonathan Arnold
-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 morning) scripture reading; Matthew 13 v 31-33
Sunday evening at 6:30pm in church (also available online via Facebook)
(Sunday evening) scripture reading; Matthew 13 v 24-30; 36-43
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 - Solomon marrieth Pharaoh's daughter. High places being in use, he sacrificeth at Gibeon. God appeareth to him in a dream there, and leaveth to his choice what to ask; he asketh wisdom, and obtaineth with it riches and honour. His judgement between the two harlots maketh his wisdom renowned.
1 Kings 3
Preface - After saluting the Ephesians, Paul blesseth God for his spiritual blessings on those whom he had chosen in Christ, and predestinated to the adoption of children; for our redemption by his grace, according to his revealed purpose of gathering together all in one under Christ; for the inheritance already obtained by those who first trusted in Christ; and for the Spirit given to after-believers, as an earnest of the same. He declareth his continual thankfulness to God for their faith, and his prayers that God would perfect them in the knowledge of those things, which concerned their state in Christ, whom God had raised up, and exalted to be the supreme head of his body the church.
A Puritans Catechism
Q11 - What are God's works of providence?
A - God's works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.
Robert Murray M'Cheyne - God Makes A Path - Daily Devotional Readings
No thorn, no throne
And I said unto him, sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. - Revelation 7 v 14
Every one that gets to the throne must put their foot upon the thorn. The way to the crown is by the cross. We must taste the gall if we are to taste the glory. When justified by faith, God led them into tribulations also. When God brought Israel through the Red Sea, He led them into the wilderness; so, when God saves a soul, He tries it. He never gives faith without trying it. The way to Zion is through the valley of Baca. You must go through the wilderness of Jordan if you are to come to the Land of Promise. Some believers are much surprised when they are called to suffer. They thought they would do some great thing for God; but all that God permits them to do is to suffer. Go round every one in glory, - every one have a different story, yet every one has a tale of suffering. One was persecuted in his family, - by his friends and companions; another was visited by sore pains and humbling disease. - neglected by the world; another was bereaved of children; another had all these afflictions meeting in one, - deep called unto deep. Mark! all are brought out of them. It was a dark cloud, but it passed away; the water was deep, but they have reached the other side. Not one of them blames God for the road He led them: 'Salvation' is their only cry. Is there any of you, dear children, murmuring at your lot? Do not sin against God. This is the way God leads all His redeemed ones. You must have a palm as well as a white robe. No pain, no palm; no cross, no crown; no thorn, no throne; no gall, no glory. Learn to glory in tribulations also. 'I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.'