Sunday 1st September 2019

” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. “

John 3:16 NIV

It’s a beautiful day

I wasn’t feeling great after a restless night’s sleep. I’ve got a bit of a cold, and kept waking up coughing. However, I felt a little happier when I opened up the curtains and the sunshine was blazing in. So warm, and welcoming. For this blog today I thought I would go over what I jotted down at the service today.

We were reminded of How God’s loving kindness is everlasting, with reference to Psalm 118.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.
Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
    but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,

    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.
15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.

21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.
25 Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
    up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
    you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever. “

Psalm 118 NIV

We have all been invited to be part of God’s kingdom. We are all invited, but some, even though invited still make excuses not to attend and come to Jesus.

Before the prayers, we were referred to Isaiah 54.

Though the mountains may be removed and the hills may be shaken, My loving devotion will not depart from you, and My covenant of peace will not be broken,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:10

I have a Lord that loves me, I can feel complete and secure. We, as a fellowship, come together to God in prayer. Prayer for anything and everything that happens to come up. Today we prayed for our schools, and people who have converted from other faiths to turn to Christ, and have been persecuted for it, individuals and families in the church needing prayer.

“We thank you Lord that you do not leave us, you are always there, with your amazing sense of presence. You stand firm for us. We pray for our children, who this week are going into first days, new years and new levels of education and first jobs, we pray to you Lord for your peace and guidance in this new season for so many, to know your heart as we move forward, with wholeness. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

To stand side by side, praying to our God to ask him for his help is so empowering. To provide that reassurance that as a fellowship, we can make so much difference to so many by doing this, is just amazing. Just being in the presence, in time of prayer often gives me goosebumps and an overwhelming feeling of peace and joy.

and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

Colossians 2:10 NIV

After prayer our pastor began to look into Mark 10:46

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Mark 10:46-52

He emphasised the point that in the story it was Jesus that had said to the blind man “What do you want me to do for you”.

He explained that the ministry of Jesus is loaded with questions, and the fact that Jesus asked a lot of questions, who, why, what etc. e.g. What say ye of Christ? Is He the Son of God? Is He Saviour? Is He the Messiah?

All of the answers are there, in the bible, in the gospels, if we look closely enough. Eternity has been put in our hearts, it’s in our human nature. The bible asks us questions that dig deep into who we really are, questions which pose us to face up to ourselves, or question others.

He went on to explain how sometimes we need to ask simple, clear and direct questions to make people think. He talked about how often his wife would just come out and ask people ‘do you know where you are going if you die tonight?’ It reminded me of the story of Frank Jenner, the George Street evangelist.

“If you were to die today, where would you spend eternity?”

Frank Jenner

The pastor then went on to speak in further depth about the story of the blind man. Think about this, Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he must have known that he was on his way to his crucifixion, and being human, this must have affected his concentration and focus of what was happening on the way.

We often find ourselves doing the same, we get so preoccupied getting to the destination, that quite often we miss things along the way. The same applies to spending time with God in prayer and worship and reading the scriptures, life often gets in the way.

In Luke and Matthew, Jesus told the disciples not to take a staff or a stick with them, as there would be things that would happen along the way.

Sometimes it is important to stop and help others if they need you, even if it could change your plans last minute, as you may be the person that God has assigned to help them. The Levite and the priest didn’t stop, they were too busy to help – but we need to be more like the good Samaritan.

Bartemeus was a blind man, sat at the roadside, had no voice, and often referred to as the unclean one. He cried out to Jesus and was told to shut up, but he didn’t. He continued to cry out as Jesus passed by, and Jesus heard him, stopped and answered.

There is an old saying, seeing is believing, but in this case it was not seeing and still believing. Think about a blind person, due to their lack of sight, often their other senses are heightened, so he would probably rely more on his hearing and it is quite likely that he must have heard that Jesus was on his way, through the conversations of people that passed or stood near him.

So this was an event! When Jesus passed by, things fell into place, as you can see if you refer back to the verse Mark 10 above. As soon as he realised that Jesus was passing he referred to him as Son of David, and asked him to have mercy on him, the One who sits on the everlasting throne. It’s quite that he would have been hearing the word of God every day and the book of Romans declared Christ.

Sometimes the enemy (Satan) will use anything and everything to stop us declaring that Jesus is Lord! or stop us listening to the word. In this case the people were telling him to shut up as he called out, thankfully it didn’t stop him and Jesus replied as a result of his tenacity.

Back in those days cloaks were precious, and if you had two cloaks you were asked to give one away to someone that needed it. So in verse 50 of the scripture it says he threw it off to go to Jesus so that he could experience his love, that was a huge gesture of how important it was to that blind man to get to Jesus.

Some have also referred to this as the man throwing off his cloak to mean throwing away and leaving his old life to go to Jesus.

Jesus said to Bartemeus “What do you want me to do for you?” How amazing, and we need to remind ourselves that he says this to us too. He wants us to call out to him when we need help, he wants us to tell him what the problems are and what we want him to do to help!

We must always remember that God does not always answer our prayers, a good example was Paul, one of the greatest apostles for the Christian faith, who referred to the thorn in his side. Paul asked for help three times and God’s response to him was “My Grace is sufficient for you”.

Don’t think that your problems are too small, God wants us to go to him for anything and everything, from the smallest requests to global scale.

He finally finished up with the line, don’t be an ask not have not. Take everything to the Lord in prayer, whatever is troubling you. He loves you, and wants to hear from you.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. “

Matthew 16:24-25

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