Time for Reflection and Preparation
'As we continue our journey through this unfamiliar ‘lockdown territory’, we are making every effort to keep connected, keep worshiping the Lord and keeping hopeful. Praying together helps maintain a spirit of unity whilst keeping God’s vision alive at New Life with our eyes on the future.
After using the account of Nehemiah and Ezra and the building project, to inspire our continuing prayer strategy for 2021, Ian would like to share some thoughts about the season of Lent as a time for reflection and preparation, which could be meaningful in these ‘COVID-19 conditions’.
This is a fixed 40 day period which has many Biblical connotations associated with hardship, trials, testing, judgments and equipping as preparation for God’s purposes.
As we are experiencing this global crisis and its effects on society, we can use this reflective season together to accomplish God’s good outcomes regarding New Life
You are invited to follow this weekly programme from Wednesday to Tuesday, excluding Sundays, with daily scriptures to meditate and focus on.
It has been said that ‘a family that prays together, stays together.’ Let us strive to be such a family in these unprecedented circumstances.
May God bless our prayerful exploits for His Kingdom.
Week 1 Day 1
Week 5 Day 1
Wed Mar 17
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
John 6: 35-36
Here, Jesus makes the well known ‘I am’ declaration, that He is the Bread of Life. He is in conversation with the disciples after they have witnessed the miraculous feeding of the 5000. Reference is made to the supply of manna in the desert, seen as a sign from heaven, they are asking Jesus about what sign he will give. Enigmatically, he explains that He is the bread His Father has sent to bring life to the world. At Passover that sign was translated into the New Covenant when Jesus ‘broke the bread’ with the disciples. Today we continue to give thanks and celebrate the promise of Jesus that as long as we go to Him we will never go hungry.
Song: Resurrecting - Elevation Worship
Week 5 Day 2
Thurs Mar 18
Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “ ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ ”
Here we witness Jesus, the man, in his sadness, fully aware of the vulnerability that will beset the disciples when He is arrested, tried and crucified resulting in their betrayal and denial of Him. We also see the Son of God, The Good Shepherd, referring to the prophecy in Zechariah relating to this event, when He will be ‘struck’ and the sheep ‘scattered’. A sobering thought that we still have an enemy who prowls around looking for who he can devour. Let us stand firm today and pronounce that Jesus is that Good Shepherd who has laid down His life for His sheep and we are the sheep who know His voice.
Song: Living Hope: Phil Wickham
Week 5 Day 3
Fri Mar 19
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Let’s not be too hard on the disciples in their weakness of disloyalty to Jesus. Paul was to later wrestle with such inner conflicts. In this passage we clearly recognise the dilemma we often face between doing ‘good’ and battling with ‘evil’. As part of the human condition,even as Christians, sometimes we need to be rescued (delivered) from the law of sin at work, in us. We all know that ‘wretched’ feeling at times. Like Paul, let us celebrate and proclaim, “Thanks be to God, who delivers us through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Song: Man of Sorrows Hillsong United
Week 5 Day 4
Sat Mar 20
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
The time for this prophetic picture of the suffering servant is relevant to us as Christians at Easter. On the road to Emmaus Jesus himself explained this to the two travellers. Let us take this time of reflection to walk with Jesus on our Emmaus Road. Pray that our ‘eyes will be opened’ and that ‘our hearts will burn’ with the transforming power and presence of the Holy Spirit revealing more of Jesus to us.)
Song: Rise Up (Lazarus) - Cain
Week 5 Day 5
Mon Mar 21
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Galatians 3: 13-14
During Lent we are focusing on our ‘Redemption Story’. By grace, through faith we acknowledge that the penalty for our sin has been lawfully paid for by Jesus. We celebrate our freedom in Christ, now blessed to receive the promised Holy Spirit. It is a gift we don’t deserve nor can we earn it. Let us continue to pour out our gratitude to God for His plan of redemption for the World.)
Song: That's My King: Dr S.M. Lockridge
Week 5 Day 6
Tues Mar 22
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
1 John 5: 3-5
Today we are focusing on the ‘overcoming’ power of the Easter message. Jesus candidly warns his disciples that this world is not without its troubles. We witness the disciples facing their troubles when Jesus is arrested. Those overcoming words did not resound with them in their fear which led them to disown their friend and master. Jesus died on the cross. It seemed all was defeated until the Risen Jesus stepped out in victory leaving death behind Him in the grave. The truth of Jesus’ words were now manifest among them, He had overcome the world. As we are facing a very troubled world in 2021 we can confess our hope in these words that by faith in Jesus the Son of God we too are enabled to ‘overcome the world’. Bring your troubles to Him today, trust ‘the overcomer’ - He is alive.)
Song: Lion and Lamb : Leeland