Resilient in Suffering (Part 1 of 6)

My job was to care for the widows. Our church was growing so quickly and it was a joy to see that together we could care well for those who were more vulnerable. I would help distribute food particularly to our new Christian sisters – Grecian and Hebraic Jewish ladies who had come to faith and needed material support – we wanted to make sure no one was overlooked.

It was privilege to serve in this way, because it meant that the apostles were freed up to focus on what we all knew was a priority – prayer and the ministry of the word of God.

I got myself into a little bit of a fix, I wish it didn’t happen – a fight that was blown way out of proportion.

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A Prayer for a Time of Grief

Friends, there are times in every family when sad things happen – we are living through one of those times.

Our dear sister Steph is fighting cancer, unexpectedly a brother Brian has passed away (and there has been uncertainty about how and what can be communicated) and there are others in our church family who are struggling with various physical and mental trials or who are supporting those who are struggling with those trials.

We are living through a time when our future eternal home is more in focus than our temporary present home – but it is still a sad time.

Influenced by Psalm 46, the prayer we prayed on Sunday night, is a prayer of comfort.

Please make this your prayer…

A Prayer

Father, many in our church family are struggling with grief, loss, illness or other suffering. When these things weigh heavily, in the midst of the struggle and the pain, help us not to turn away from you but to allow you to be strong in our weakness. Remind us, as you did the psalmist, that you God are our refuge and strength, our ever present help in trouble.

For those grieving the loss of loved ones, we pray that you would comfort them with the knowledge that our hope is in you, that you Oh Lord are our Rock, our fortress and our deliverer, the rock whom we take refuge. You are our shield and the horn of our salvation, our stronghold.

So Father, help us to keep our eyes firmly on the prize at the end of our race – the hope of heaven. We pray these things in the name of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Written by Anita Mahood.

Sermon – The Lord Who Delivers (Psalm 31)

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Sermon ‘The Lord Who Delivers’ (Psalm 31) by David Smith is now available to stream or download: http://bit.ly/2aXoIOi

Read the Bible text: http://bit.ly/2blnGhM

English Support Handout: http://bit.ly/2aWMTwE

Sermon Outline:

1. A Psalm of Lament:

a. Relationship with the Lord who delivers

b. Relationship with the world to be delivered from

c. Relationship with the lamenter who needs deliverance

2. What the deliverance meant:

a. To David

b. To the first readers

c. To Jesus (Luke 23:46)

d. To Stephen (Acts 7:59)

e. To Us (1 Peter 4:19)

3. How to make the most of this Psalm

a. “I trust in you O Lord. I say “You are my God.”

b. What am I learning about God when times are not desperate?

Side by Side – Part 3 (of 3)

The first two posts in this series have offered two observations coming out of 1 Timothy 5:1-16 which may help a church family to further consider what it means to honour and care for those who are most vulnerable.

In the first post, we observed that the widow of 1 Tim 5 was akin to the ‘vulnerable’ today.

In the second post, we observed that when caring for a person in need – everyone is different and everyone can play a part. Five pointers were offered in how to do that.

In this last post, I would like to recommend a good book that works hard to offer principled and practical suggestions for getting alongside a person whom we are trying to love.

Side by Side – Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love by Edward T. Welch (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015).

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Side by Side by Edward Welch is a quick and helpful read, written by a Christian counselor who has practiced and written in the fields of depression, fear and addiction for decades.

The aim of the book is to identify skills that Christians can learn and then use in caring for others. His basic idea is that those who help best are the ones who both need help and give help.

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Suffering and the Saint

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In Job Chapters 1-2 we get to peak in on a conversation between God and Satan.

God:      Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.

Satan (my paraphrase): Of course he is going to be blameless and upright – you protect him and his household and you bless him – if you weren’t so protective he would curse you to your face!

What a cynic. It is so easy to think the worse of someone instead of the best! (notably – a pattern we always see in Satan!)

But does he have a point?!

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The Troubles of my Heart

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One of joys and burdens of being the 5pm Church Pastor is to sit with folk whom I love and hear them tell me about how tough life is for them. There are 5pm family members who are really really struggling at the moment.

And there are many reasons that lie behind some of those struggles – unemployment, depression, grief, breakdown in relationship, childlessness, money, marriage difficulties, singleness issues, doubts of faith and more.

How I long to just snap my fingers and have the problems fixed. I don’t like to see folk walking such hard paths.

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