That heading caught your attention methinks.

This page is for passing information during “Whilst we are isolated” situation. It is open to anyone in the group who wants to make comments.

Because there isn’t much happening in the churches at the moment, we would like to hear about any amusing incidents you have encountered; if you have had a brilliant idea for filling your time, or perhaps on a serious note, if you are needing any help with shopping etc,.

At the moment, Sue is in the process of sending out Heather’s letters by post to those not on the internet.

From Heather:

Prayer in the morning
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!1 This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.2
Spend a few moments praising and thanking God.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.3
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any sin that you need to confess, and ask for forgiveness.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.4 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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.5
This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore, I will put my hope in him.6
Invite the God of hope to be enthroned in our lives and our world, especially in stressful, stubborn or seemingly hopeless situations.
A prayer for our land: O High King of Heaven, have mercy on our land. Revive your Church. Send the Holy Spirit for the sake of the lost, the least and the broken. May your Kingdom come to our nation. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.7
Continue in prayer as God leads you, ending with the Lord’s Prayer.
Prayer at bedtime
Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.8
Take a moment to reflect on the past day, giving thanks for all that went well, laying down the things that went badly and asking for forgiveness as needed.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.9 Keep me as the apple of your eye. Hide me under the shadow of your wings.10 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.11 1 Psalm 118:1
2 Psalm 118:24 personalised
3 2 Chronicles 7:14
4 Psalm 103:8
5 John 3:16-17
6 Lamentations 3:22-24
7 The Caleb Prayer from Ffald-y-Brenin in Wales
8 Psalm 124:8
9 Psalm 31:5
10 Psalm 17:8
11 Psalm 4:8 Some verses to take into the rest of the day: Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10) You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3) Jesus said, “Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b

In these

uncertain

times…

Dear Friends,

As the Covid 19 virus continues to spread around the UK and worship and church activities have been suspended, it feels as though we’re in very uncertain times and we may think that there’s very little we can do other than heed the advice given to us about regular handwashing and social distancing. Perhaps that’s all that we can do physically, although a walk around the garden or the local park wouldn’t go amiss, or a jog if that’s your routine. We could also exercise our fingers and use the phone to contact friends who may be feeling isolated, and in doing that we could use our voices to offer support or encouragement, and perhaps even a prayer. Some of us may also be able to offer practical help.

Whilst we may be somewhat restricted physically there are no such limitations spiritually. It’s worth remembering that we’re still in Lent, a time of reflection in preparation for Easter. Some of us might not normally have much time to reflect, pray or read our Bibles, but this hitting of the “pause button” of normal life may give us opportunities that it would be good to take.

fix our eyes on

Jesus!

Earlier this week I was reminded of the time when Jesus and the disciples were in a boat in the middle of a storm. They were anxious, panicking even, but Jesus was asleep and apparently unconcerned about the situation. They woke him up and begged him to do something, which indicates that they had faith that he would save them from the storm. Nevertheless, before Jesus spoke to the storm he spoke to them. “Why are you afraid?” he asked them. They had no need to be afraid, because Jesus was there with them.

Like the disciples, we’re in a storm that we can’t control. We don’t know whether it will soon die down, or if it will continue for a long time and perhaps worsen before we’re out of it. The question is, can we respond with faith. We have two choices: we either focus on our circumstances, or we fix our eyes on Jesus, trusting him who knows every outcome and who is always by our side calling us to live by faith, not by sight.

As we live by faith, with our eyes fixed on Jesus, let’s not forget to pray. We can ask God to intervene, as the disciples asked Jesus to help them. We can pray for ourselves and for one another, that our faith may withstand this storm. We need also to be praying for those who have the virus, for those who are struggling with loneliness or facing financial difficulties because of it, for all those who are working so hard in the NHS, and for our government, for wise decision making at this difficult time.

Please remember that I and the elders, and indeed other church members, are here for you. If you need someone to talk to or to pray with you please get in touch.

God bless,

Heather.

19th March 2020

Dear Friends,

As predicted by both the government and the media, the Covid 19 virus continues to spread in the UK, and it seems that we’re still some way off the expected “peak”. It’s clear that it will be quite some time before life becomes relatively normal again, even if the current restrictions are lifted in a few weeks. Meanwhile, we need to find ways of maintaining our spiritual well-being.

I think that part of the answer is to accept the circumstances we’re in, even though we would like things to improve, and to seek God’s help to persevere. I’m reminded of St Paul’s words in Philippians chapter 4: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (verses 11-13)

I can do all things

through Christ who strengthens me.

This is part of a longer passage in which Paul thanks the Christians in Philippi for their support, and thanks God for their generosity. However, it seems that the gift caused him problems due to his principle of paying his own way, so he tells them that he didn’t need the gift and that he has learned how to cope with all the ups and downs of life. He says that he can accept and survive whatever circumstances he finds himself in; that he has the ability, the power, to cope with both prosperous and adverse times. He seems to be affirming his own sufficiency and independence, but then he adds a very important qualifying phrase: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” This version of the Bible doesn’t make it clear who “him” is, but in the Good News Bible it says, “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” The secret of his independence and contentment was his dependence on Christ, who continually gave him the strength he needed. We too can rely on Christ to give us the strength we need.

It’s important that we continue to worship and pray during this time. For those with internet access, the URC offers daily devotions, a weekly service and other resources: see https://devotions.urc.org.uk . There are also daily services on Radio 4 and a service on BBC 1 on Sundays. I’ve put together some suggestions for morning and bedtime prayer and these are being sent out with this letter.

Please remember that I and the elders, and indeed other church members, are here for you. If you need someone to talk to or to pray with you please get in touch.

Finally, if you have an email address that you can access easily but have received this letter through the post or by hand, please email me at ministerhalifaxgroup@gmail.com so that I can send future letters electronically. This will help to get the letter to you more quickly and save costs.

God bless,

Heather.

26th March 2020

Isaiah 41:10

 
 
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

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