” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. You may recognise this passage from Mark 4:35-41. Yet they found themselves in a crisis, they lost control in the storm, they did not know if they would survive or not, they were frightened and panicked, even though they had the son of God with them! The crowds asked the Apostle Peter, himself filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking words from God, what they should do? Jesus came to show us the model for our world, a heavenly place where God is present amongst us, a holy place. I pray for your justice in the world where all are valued by you. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. All is still not well in the UK or the world. It is to the invisible Holy Spirit that the forgiven followers of Jesus Christ look for guidance in this pandemic, for our actions in each of our individual lives, knowing that these actions are focused on the other person. The rate of infection, the ‘R’ number, is all important in guiding our lives and freedoms and must be kept below 1. Jesus’ friend John wrote these words. I pray for your Church, that we may know a new outpouring of your love and see you at work in the changes in the world. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Jesus, their Messiah, was standing amongst them and calling them to himself. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on meSpirit of the Living God, fall fresh on meMelt me, mould meFill me, use me. We know that encouraging spiritual hand on our shoulder. I have often been inspired in my ministry, along with many others, by the commands given by Jesus to his disciples as he helped them know the character of God and his desire for our world. As you enter the house, greet it. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Help us to come afresh to you this week and know your grace and your mercy upon us. We are encouraged and sustained in our life by our faith in Jesus Christ, not by our circumstances. I am reminded of those words from Jeremiah 18:1-10. What does that mean to you? Employment, economies, welfare and human interaction are all impacted. They would build shelters or booths to remind them of that deprivation and also celebrate the harvest by pinning fruit around their booth. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. Those who are bereaved with the death of family members are especially vigilant and alert, warning us of the consequences. Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. For some it may well mean to be part of the healing of the sick or to know grace and faithfulness in sickness. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ (John 7:37-38) Meaning the Holy Spirit. Father in heaven, we thank you that you would want to know who we are and that you would want to care for us. But maybe at this time of the pandemic when lives are changing, we can put God first in our lives and give him thanks for what we have. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses” (1Corinthians 12:7-11). The crowds however have caused consternation that the virus might start to spread rapidly amongst us again causing a second ‘spike’ of infections with the resulting deaths and the shutdown of all activities as we will be required to ‘Stay at Home’ again. Holy and loving God, we come to you in sorrow as we see the plight of the world and its environment. How are you managing and what are your priorities? God could be talking to the angels or he could be in a relationship as God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; but the point is that God is about relationships and right behaviour with humanity and humanity with God and with each other, if we are made in his likeness. Washing hands with sanitiser is mandatory as well as a hair wash before the joyous cut and, of course, a face mask is worn throughout the procedure. You rose to new life so that I may give my life to following you and know a new life in God. No wonder they were accused of having no faith. People continue to die alone, the sick cannot be visited and family life and wellbeing has been disrupted. Rivers of Living Water JOHN 7:37-38 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and shouted, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Some will not go back to the barbers or hairdressers. Loving and Holy Lord, bring your healing amongst the pandemic, may the virus be eradicated, may those seeking a vaccination know your blessing. Amen”, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5). If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. This may be short term of course, but it feels as though there will be a ‘new normal’ as the media are describing our lives in the future. We put God first and everything flows from our belief and faith in God the Father, through Jesus Christ his son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit and bring your light in the storm of life. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. The Apostle Paul wrote to his student Timothy to encourage him in his faith and he gave him these words in 1Timothy 6:17-19. Our societies are loosening their restrictions on the movement of people as in many countries the Covid-19 virus seems to be subsiding. But for those who put God first in our lives and in our relationships, there is a constant, a reassurance, a thankfulness for what we have and a thankfulness for the ‘heavenly’ treasures we enjoy on earth, like God’s provision for us, the chance to walk out each day, the availability of technology like the TV, the telephone or the video conference to keep us in contact and thankfulness for the work still available for us to carry out and do. So it is with us. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. Our treasures in heaven become the relationship with God that we enjoy, the delight he has in us, the relationships with friends and strangers and the chance to help others and thankfulness for those who help us. The fruits for the believer of the Spirit in their lives are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) and his gifts are numerous. I recall reading of the time when Prime Minister Churchill, in 1941, travelled from Britain to meet with President Roosevelt in the USA, when Japan entered World War II and the USA found itself entering the War with Britain and its allies. Maybe as we come out of a pandemic, we can know Christ afresh, so that lives become different and become fulfilled, because we know the Lord we are serving, as we let his plans, not our plans become reality. A way that models the Christian sense of perspective, priority and thankfulness tares and the waves beat into boat... 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