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 (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 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.
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)
(Sunday evening) scripture reading Matthew 2
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 - The prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded. Asa hearing it putteth away idolatry, and assembleth the whole body of his people at Jerusalem; they enter into covenant with God. He removeth Maachah his mother from being queen on account of her idolatry. He bringeth into the house of God the things which had been dedicated, and enjoyeth a long peace.
2 Chronicles 29
Preface - The seven angels with the seven last plagues. The song of them which overcome the beast. The seven angels receive the seven golden vials full of the wrath of God.
Daily Light - Morning
If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:
but if ye through the Spirit
do mortify the deeds of the body,
ye shall live.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication...and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity.
Ro. 8.13; Ga. 5.19,21-25
Daily Light - Evening
Then said the princes of the Philistines,
What do these Hebrews here?
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief...or as a busybody in other men's matters.
Let not...your good be evil spoken of. - Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbleievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?...ye are the temple of the living God... Wherefore come out from among them, and by ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.
Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into this marvellous light.
1 Sa. 29.3; 1 Pe. 4.14-15
Ro. 14.16; 1 Pe. 2.12
2 Co. 6.14,16,17
1 Pe. 2.9
A Puritans Catechism
Q13 - Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A - Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from that initial state wherein they were created, by sinning against God, by eating the forbidden fruit.
BAPTIST CONFESSION OF FAITH
Of Christ the Mediator
When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin,7 and by His grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good;8 yet so as that by reason of his remaining corruptions, he does not perfectly, nor only will, that which is good, but does also will that which is evil.9
7 Col. 1:13; John 8:36
8 Phil. 2:13
9 Rom. 7:15,18–19,21,23
Robert Murray M'Cheyne - God Makes A Path - Daily Devotional Readings
The sovereign mercy of Jesus
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. - Hebrews 2 vs 16-18
We read of two great rebellions in the history of the universe - the rebellion of the angels, and the rebellion of man. For in finitely wise and gracious purposes God planned and permitted both of these, that out of evil He might bring forth Good. The first took place in heaven itself. Pride was the sin by which the angels fell, and, therefore, it is called 'the condemnation of the devil.' They kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation.' The next fall took place upon earth. Satan tempted, and man fell - believed the devil rather than God, and so came under the curse - 'Thou shalt surely die.' Both of these families came under the same frown - under the same condemnation - both were condemned to the same 'everlasting fire.' But the glorious Son of God resolved, from all eternity, to die for sinners. Now, for which of the two shall He die? Perhaps the angels in heaven would long that He should die for their once brother angels. The angelic nature was higher than that of man. Men had fallen deeper into sin than the rebel angels. Will He not die for angels? Now, here is the answer - 'Verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.' Here is sovereign mercy passing by one of the family and coming to another. Let us wonder and adore the sovereign mercy of Jesus.