Notes of Meeting Sunday 8th January 2023

Worship led by Dawn Budd

SONG 549:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases

We are so blessed to have the constant reassurance of God’s love for us. When we look at the world around us and at the blessings given to us, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s pretty amazing.

Philippians 4 v 19And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”

Isn't it fantastic to know that God will be there to make sure we always have just what we need?

Matthew 6 v 30 - 33 “ If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you- you of little faith? So do not worry, saying ‘ What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘ What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as .well”

SONG 1030 :The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want

Just recently, I applied for a new job. I had been having a few issues at my current job and these had caused some worry and distress and I applied for the new role as a bit of a knee jerk reaction. I didn’t actually get the job but I do also believe that is because God has other plans, something better. Sometimes it is really hard to let God take the reins and just have faith in him.  God said “ For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans  to give you hope and a future”  (Jeremiah 29 v 11)

Proverbs 16 v 9 “ In their hearts humans plan their course but the Lord establishes their steps”

It all about letting him take control!

SONG  334:  Let your living water flow over my soul

We all like to think we can plan our lives all on our own, even adults, it’s not just teenagers that think they know best! Sometimes God might agree with our plan, other times, maybe not. What we do know is that God asks us to have him with us when we are making the plans. Whilst thinking about this I was reminded of a song we used to sing at middle school

‘One more step along the world I go,

one more step along the world I go,

From the old things, to the new,

Keep me travelling along with you’

 

That’s just what God wants to be doing, travelling through our lives with us.

Song 936: My life is in you, Lord

 

My in laws live in Brockham, on a farm, at the end of a long dirt track. When visiting years ago, when the children were 5 or 6, Nigel used to let the children ‘drive’ down the track, sitting on his lap. Obviously, they were not really driving, but holding the steering wheel. It was Nigel’s foot on the accelerator so ultimately, he was in control of the car! We could think of God just like this. We often want to steer our lives but in the end He is in control throughout life’s journey.

 

The Bend In The Path by Steven Brown

 

We are all on a journey

A trek here on earth

We are all on a path

That started with birth

 

Our paths are connected

Our paths are apart

Our paths are lit with sunshine

And at times in the dark

 

Some paths are long and narrow

Others short, winding ways

At times the rocks and the hills

Go on endless for days

 

There are things that lay waiting

There are twists, turns and strife

And who knows what lies

'Round the bend of our life

 

No matter the place

On your path you may be

There is a Guide who will lead

He is Jesus, you see

 

He knows all our paths

From beginning to end

He is the one who sees

What lies 'round the bend

 

So why would we travel

Without the help of our Guide

When He is so willing

To walk by our side

 

 

Psalm 23 v 3 “He refreshes my soul, He guides me along the right paths for his names’ sake.”

 

Song 14: Guide me O thy great Jehovah

 

Message – by Brian Legg

Isn’t it good to be sure about things – you sleep better for instance if you are sure you’ve locked the back door, shut the downstairs windows etc – so if you’re not sure you get back downstairs to check.

If you’ve got friends coming for a meal, you make sure there is plenty of extra food in the house, in case they are hungry.

If you want to look your best for a special occasion, you get someone to check you over before you set off.

We live sadly in an uncertain world – no one knows for sure what lies ahead in the next 6 months, what certain world leaders are going to do next, and how these things will impact our own lives. No nation can isolate itself these days from the rest of the world, with global travel and communications being the norm,

But we are here today worshipping an unchanging God who does give us certainty regarding many things – he has given us His word which contains a vast number of promises which we can take hold of to give us some certainty in a rapidly changing world. Because He, our great creator and sustaining God, has said it, it must be true.

We make many promises each week – I wonder how many we keep, despite our good intentions. A promise is of course only as good as the person making the promise – there are many people whose words we would never trust, having seen how they have acted in the past. But others have our implicit trust – we all trust the Bank of England when it says on that thin piece of plastic in your pocket “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of 20 pounds”, as we really wouldn’t want to be carrying metal coins to its value around all the time.

I hope people can trust us and the promises we make to them.

When we make promises, they are sometimes of the conditional variety – maybe to a grandchild “If you behave, then you can have an extra half-hour on your X-box. Or “I’ll see you next week, all being well”.

Since the very beginning of the world, God has made promises, and none of His promises have failed. Some of his promises relate to events which are still in the future, and as such give us hope and so we can take encouragement from them.

When we read the promises of God in the scriptures, we do need to be aware of who God was addressing in making his promise – some OT promises were given specifically to the Jewish people, living under the old covenant, as Ken reminded us last week. Others, especially in the New Testament and in  Jesus teaching are clearly promises addressed to all believers, so we can take hold of them to encourage us in our daily lives.

So I thought we’d just look at a few of God’s promises to us today.

As a start, what has he said? What promises has God made?

(The congregation then wrote down some of God’s promises on Post it notes, which were put on to a display board)

The promises noted included:

  • Jesus’ promise of peace
  • Eternal life with Him
  • Holding us in the palm of his hand
  • “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you”
  • Proverbs 3: 5 & 6
  • He will never leave or forsake us
  • To never flood the earth again
  • Whoever comes to him will not be cast out
  • Revelation 3: 20

Thanks for those – just a few of the many great promises of God for us to take hold of, which should encourage us in our day to day lives.

In the time we have left, I want to focus our attention on maybe 3 of the promises of God.

Firstly, we have the promise of Peace within our Hearts and Minds.

Sadly, there will never be true peace in this world since man is driven by the selfish desires of greed, by the lust for power, and living with a lack of true love for others.

Jesus promised the disciples that although He was leaving to return to the Father and to prepare a place for us, He would leave with them a peace unlike what the world gives. In John 14:27, Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Jesus, of course, was promising them perfect peace, an eternal peace, not a temporal peace like the world gives.

This echoes the words of Isaiah in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah writes, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." The NLT re-words it as “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you”.

When we fix our thoughts on God, we can know perfect peace despite the turmoil around us. As we focus our mind on God and his Word, we become steady and stable. Supported by God’s unchanging love and mighty power, we are not shaken by the surrounding chaos.

Paul also shared about this perfect peace with both the Romans and the Philippians. In Romans 5:1, Paul told the Romans, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Paul also shared with the Philippians in Philippians 4: 6 & 7.

What a promise is ours, perfect peace which protects both our hearts and minds as we trust fully in Jesus Christ our Lord. If God is the focus of our lives, we can obtain a peace that keeps us feeling safe and secure in Him.

Secondly, we have the promise that God's Mercy is there when we are in Need.

It has been said that as grace is God giving us something we do not deserve - His acceptance of us into His family, so mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve - and that is judgment and punishment.

How loving and forgiving God is to us! When we fail God or when we let Him down, he doesn’t immediately chastise us for our failure and sit us down in the naughty corner as it were. No, through His mercy He reinstates us and gives us another opportunity to do better. Remember Jonah? God called him to go to Nineveh, but he fled from God's presence, and yet in Jonah 3:1, it says, "And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, God did not give up on Jonah, He just had to instruct him and as with us, sometimes He has to whip us into shape for service.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that as believers we can approach the throne of God personally and obtain mercy. Hebrews 4:16, says, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Because of Jesus Christ and our relationship with God, we can come before God, asking for His help, and He will give it to us. What a wonderful promise for us all to take hold of.

 

Thirdly, we have the promise of Strength when we are Weak.

Although we are limited in our strength, we can have all the strength needed through the Lord. In Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah records, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." God cares, and He will give us the strength to do all things for His glory.

I love the words of Isaiah, no doubt echoing the experiences he had of God during his long years of ministry in Isaiah 40:31 (READ).

Although we are weak, when we dedicate ourselves to His service, God is there to give us the strength we need to overcome any problem and to fulfill any task.

Fourthly, we have the promise of eternal life with Christ

As Jesus told his disciples “I’m going away to prepare a place for you, and I will come back and take you to be with me for ever.”

Sadly, the one certainty we have in life is that it will end in death, unless the Lord returns first. But death is not the end, because God has something better for his people.

God’s desire and promise for all who believe in Jesus and have accepted him as their Saviour is eternal life. No more sorrow, but just the joy of being with our blessed Saviour for eternity.

The promises of God – for us to read, to inwardly digest, to take hold of, to help us to navigate the sometimes difficult pathways of life. Not on our own, but with Him beside us, empowering us by the Holy Spirit who he has given to all believers.

 

Remember the words of a song we used to sing:

 

God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

Refrain:
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

 

 

 

Closing Song : Standing on the promises of God our king

 

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,

Through eternal ages let His praises ring!

Glory in the highest I will shout and sing-

Standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing, Standing,

Standing on the promises of God, my Savior!

Standing, Standing,

I’m standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing on the promises that cannot fail

When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail;

By the living word of God I shall prevail-

Standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,

Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,

Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword-

Standing on the promises of God.

 

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,

Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,

Resting in my Savior as my all in all-

Standing on the promises of God

 


 

Notices

Our Speaker expected next Sunday is Stephen Lawrence.

The next Coffee Morning will be on Wednesday 18th January at 10.30am

 

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26
01/03/2024

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