Monday the 27th April
Those who love Your law have great peace
and nothing causes them to stumble.
Before this period of isolation began, our bible study group (held at Carols on a Thursday evening), were looking at the book of Job. I know after re reading through the book, watching an overview/study video, we all felt moved by the events that unfolded in the story, the effects on individuals and the meaningful, purposeful intentions of God in all that happened. In light of our current season, there is much to reflect on and lessons to be learnt by re-looking or looking for the first time at the book of Job.
Job was a respected and influential community leader. His priorities were: God and his large, active family. We read that Job loved them both. He knew that his legacy of significance was not going to be his possessions, title, status, rather his children and grandchildren. He was a man with a vision for the future, a man of God, a man that had been blessed by God and a man that had caught the attention of Satan.
For reasons that are perhaps beyond our understanding, God gave satan some freedom to test Job’s faith. A series of catastrophies follows for Job- he loses everything, he is encouraged to curse God and die (2:9). Through this series of events and because Job remained God’s man (1:22), we are given valuable lessons for us to benefit by. Things on the outside, can be taken away from us, but no one can take away those things on the inside- our heart, our character, our soul. We know that Jobs trials strengthened his character and people talked about his patience (…you have the patience of Job), but he shows us a faith in God that has staying power, that has an ability to endure to the end. In all of his trials, Job did not sin, and he did not blame God. Further on, in chapter 42:10-16, we see how God responds to His people who have faith in Him.
When things in our life pull us down- what is our earthly response? Our heavenly response? We can choose to, and we are encouraged to rejoice in our God in all situations and to give thanks in whatever challenges might come our way, knowing that God is right there for us, right in the middle of every situation. Our struggles can be the source of our spiritual growth. If you feel like you are being tested in this season, turn to the book of Job as a source of encouragement and an example of the great love God has for you.
I love the battle cry of Romans 13:11-12. “The present time is one of the highest importance- it is time to wake up ready… the night is nearly over, the day has almost dawned…Let us arm ourselves for the fight of the day”. Every one of us will be experiencing these current times in our own way , as well as together as the body of Christ, as a community and as one keenly interested in what is going on around us.
How are we responding? How are our leaders responding? What are we saying or doing that encourages us and those around us? Are we ‘feeding’ in to the fear of events unfolding or are we standing firm and being a way-maker? Is our faith, our words and actions helping others?
Don’t go through these testing times alone; stand firm knowing that God is in your court and that He has placed people around you to lift you up and encourage you. Seek Him and seek those who reflect His hope and His love.
TRUST GOD IN ALL SITUATIONS.
Bring to mind right now, those areas of your life in which you need to trust God more each day.
Further readings: Psalm 66:10; 2 Corinthians 4:7-9; Psalm 53:10.
Monday the 27th April
“God claims the world as his. Everything and everyone belongs to him!”
Psalms 24:1 TPT
Every night, well most nights, I pray that line of scripture; "God, this world is yours, and everything in it." It is my way of reminding myself, that no matter what information has been attempting to program my response to life, I remember that I have a relationship with God; I can trust that relationship, & I can trust God.
It’s easy to trust when all is going well though isn't it? What about when we get caught on the rising tide with the current against us, taking us to waters where we find ourselves out of our depth? I've never been in such circumstances but I have had to help rescue someone who was. Trust takes on a whole different perspective when the stakes of life & death are raised. It's almost like trust means something completely different in these times. Now it is a matter of survival; and survival is something that I am told our human condition is hard wired for ie, self preservation or survival.
When you are in that kind of mortal danger, it’s difficult to imagine God calmly and casually floating beside us, and in a gentle voice saying “relax, don’t struggle, trust me”. No, our instinct tells us to start swimming with all of our might and get out of there. (Interestingly, the opposite is often lauded as a better approach, i.e. don't use up all of your energy fighting the current; float on it instead, until you are clear of the imminent danger. But I digress)
So it is that we find ourselves in rising waters right now. There are tides of illness rising all over the planet. None of us really has firm knowledge as to how things will pan out. It would appear that even after the illness has passed, the Global economy will take some time to repair. Right now, people stockpile food and goods; people queue up for Centrelink payments, people grasp at plans to make money; all of this serves to that make it look like they/we are swimming with all possible might against the impending danger.
But what if God is floating next to us on the current saying, “trust me; now that there’s no way out except me, trust me.” Hard to do, but perhaps as a church we can encourage one another to stay the course with God.
Call to mind any areas of your life that you need to let go of, and trust God. Write them down.
Lord, this world really is yours, and everything in it. I want to trust you more each day; really trust you. Not just when life is easy and just rolls along; but in every aspect of my thinking and being, each and every day
Saturday the 25th April:
Anzac Day, 2020.
Here's what we have on for today:
For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all.
And this great love is demonstrated
when a person sacrifices his life for his friends. John 15:13. TPT
Reflect on the above scripture; take all day if you need to.
Thursday the 23rd April
A Daily Devotion
In Tricky Time’s – He’s my Rock
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
2 Samuel 22: 2 - 3
I’ve felt these last weeks have been a bit like going on a Fast- a fast from many of the usual rythems and daily habits. (let alone the enormity of the news we are hearing constantly) When on a fast things often get revealed as to what type of attachment you may have to them, and if this is a healthy thing or not. Often you gain extra clarity about your own journey, its ups and downs and the why’s. It’s a bit like being under a microscope and too much of this can get depressive. At times I’ve had to really declare the truth of who I am in Christ, and also to lead every thought captive to that truth.
So in this present tricky time, when things that looked secure are not, when all is in a state of change and many things are unknown, more questions than answers, then I will declare He’s My Rock.
Let’s look a little closer-
Jesus is the Way through difficult situations, eg from the Cross to the empty tomb.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, a teacher who leads the way to our Father and into His Kingdom.
Jesus is the Door to fellowship with the Father.
Jesus is our Righteousness, by faith we exchange our sinfulness and find Grace and forgiveness.
Jesus is our burden bearer – we carry together with Him and learn His way and it fits perfectly, and it becomes light.
These and there are many more examples of who Jesus is to us.
Sooooo JESUS is our ROCK and He rolls our Blues away. YAY Love JudyXO
Thankyou Jesus for knowing me from when I was in my mothers womb. For loving me and having plans for me from before the world began. I put my trust in You for all my needs, and I know that You’ve got it covered. Help me to walk with You each step of the way, to know you more, and to be a light in my world. In your name Jesus, Amen.
(Judy is an Elder at RVC)
Tuesday 21st April:
Brought to you today by the beautiful Jenny Syme
On Saturday night, I felt God calling me in time with Him and encouraging
me to think about all the households in our community. He gave me pictures
of the houses around me, then street by street in Millgrove, along the
highway, Yarra Junction and Warburton.
As l saw house by house l stopped, in my mind, at particular houses of those
where people l knew lived. However, I also stopped at houses where l did not know who lived there. I felt a strong sense of unity with the people inside and God calling me to pray for them.
I woke up Sunday morning, thinking about the map of Millgrove that Andy had on the wall of his office at the River Valley Centre many years ago. It outlined every street and every house in what was called Millgrove estate. He (and we) often used this to pray for people, using this map as a guide.
At 9 am Sunday morning, l tuned into Discovery service online, only to hear that they were starting a new series on the house church.
Jodie (the senior pastor) talked about how (among other things, including the Acts church) every home can become a church and how we can minister to each other, how there was unity among'st the believers of the early church, how they met in each others homes, how they prayed for one another...
I felt God's confirmation on what He had shown and encouraged me in during the time we had spent together Saturday night and Sunday morning. I feel God is specifically calling myself and River Valley Church back to the basics of our faith.
We have an opportunity to come back to the Lord in a new and vibrant way. We have an opportunity, through Christ, for healing, restoration and a new freedom for ourselves, our family, our church, (God's church) our immediate community and the community in which River Valley Church ministers.
We have a chance to make a difference, to lift people up in prayer - whether we know them or not, we have a chance to change the culture, to draw people into relationship with their Lord and Saviour.
Let's grab this opportunity with all the strength and commitment that we can muster.
Perhaps in time, we will be able to tell people (in the street what we are praying for) that this is what we did - and perhaps doors will open, barriers broken and the light of Christ will cause people in the Valley to dance in the streets!
I am calling you, where possible, to pick a few houses in a street of
Millgrove - or a whole street (as well as your loved one and those in the
street where you live) and pray as you feel led by God
A Daily Devotion
Brought to you today by Fabulous Firthy (AKA Denise)
A word from God
Encourage one another daily as long as it is called Today.
So that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3.13
A Few Thoughts
During this period how do we encourage one another when we have social distances and
Today there are many forms of modern day multimedia such as Facebook, Zoom, Skype, Snapchat, What’s App and a new one Tiktok, l am not very familiar with a few of these, and have just started learning how to use Zoom and What’s App during the course of helping Mick Mc with the web pages.
It’s a far cry from when l was growing up, no mobile phones or tablets, no multimedia tools, no computers.
Back then the way we communicated was by telephone, writing letters, or just plain going and visiting people, it was the only way to stay in touch. Just think during biblical times the only way then was visiting or by writing a letter, which is very much on the decline these days. How far we have come since those days. I love modern technology; l might not understand a lot of it but l do love a challenge. What modern times we live in.
So, with all this modern technology there is no excuse for us not to stay in touch with one another, just pick up the phone or use one of the apps on your computer or tablet.
I have heard quite frequently when we get back to normal or at church,we will be able give each other a big hug, yes that is true but still what about now? Right in this moment there are people out there who are isolated, having no contact with the outside world, lonely, just craving for a friendly word or just a smile.
Do you know someone like that? Can you contact them one way or another?
We can post notes on the website, make a phone calls, or as the saying goes face time them. There are so many ways these days to stay in touch, even the good old fashion way by letter or card telling them you are thinking of them, just to bring a smile to their face knowing someone is thinking of them and cares enough to get in touch. Do you have someone in your heart right now who needs to hear an encouraging word from you.
Your words could give life and bring a smile to lift their day as you reach out to the lost and lonely, not just your friends and family. Just like me, I am sure that you miss seeing friends and family. We take comfort in the knowledge that this will not last forever then we can get together again.
In the meantime, in faith, we must lift each other up to the most high God, encouraging each other, showing God’s love to everyone.
As the scripture says encourage each other while it is Today!!
Dear Lord, thank you for reminding us that we are the hands and feet of your love & your presence in our community. In this time of potential darkness, I pray that we would shine the light of your love like a lamp in the window of our soul.
18th April: By Mick Mc
A few Thoughts
We don’t like to dwell on death much do we? Our mortality is not often the subject of dinner parties or other social gatherings. It’s odd really, because as one writer (Benjamin Franklin?) once put it “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death & taxes”. I once heard a preacher say “apparently the mortality rate on the planet is running at around 100%, so let’s talk about death.”
We don’t want to make it that much of a focus though do we? It involves thinking about a whole range of stuff that is not easy to consider. Things like pain, loss, uncertainty & grief to name but a few. Yet here we are, one week after Easter; one week after death gets some airtime and if we listen, God tries to teach us something about death. Yet here we are, isolated from one another with the world in the grip of a deadly virus. It would seem that death is indeed back on the table for discussion. If we take a step back though to last weekend; the distress of Good Friday, the waiting on Easter Saturday and the relief on Easter Sunday; what do you think it is that God is trying to teach us about our supposed mortality? What is He trying to teach you?
Todays word from Isaiah had a glimpse of it; if we read any accounts of Jesus death and resurrection, then we will see that Jesus had a handle on it. Let me go one step closer; my mother in law who passed away just a few years ago now; she had both hands on an understanding of death. When the doctor was explaining the medical options that were available to her, (one of them being the they could keep her at the hospital, make her comfortable and relatively pain free and that she would pass probably within a week), quick as flash she looked the doctor in the eye and said “so I get to be with Jesus? Let’s do that!”
Take some time to think about what Easter teaches us/you about life, death and everything in between.
Lord, we thank you for our lives; we thank you for the lives of those we have lost. We ask that you might take hold of the world at this challenging time, and allow us the grace to re-focus on what you say that the core of life is all about