July prayer diary

Vic Sekasi, Furness Deanery Youth Minister has published the July Prayer Diary:

Thought for the month
This month we are thinking about our identity and purpose as we lead a youth residential on this theme. I read this quote recently from Joyce Meyer, “If you know who you are in Christ, it won’t matter so much to you what other people think.” There are 3 questions, which we will be journeying with at the residential; Who am I?, Who does God think I am? and What am I here for? We hope as you pray for the young people by name you will also journey with these questions and get a greater understanding of who you are, what is important to you and how you see your purpose.

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June Prayer Diary

Victoria Sekasi, the Furness Network Youth Minister, has just published the June Prayer Diary.

June Prayer Diary

Here are some words she passed along to her readers: “I’ve just come back from Cherish, a women’s conference. It was a fantastic conference run by Life Church, Bradford. The highlight for me was the great teaching I received and the seeds of Gods word that he planted within me.  One teaching that I have been chewing over was this phrase “I am not your problem, I am your provision”, which came out of a teaching from 2 Kings 11.”

Pray that we will see and know God’s provision in our midst.

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The Light is with us

With the new year upon us, wild winds are blowing away the clouds obscuring our view.  Vision is what we are given.  The Light that we celebrate with Christmas, is with us.

250 souls attended our Christmas services.  What a blessing!  Tim is now back home from hospital getting stronger every day.  Our prayers are for God’s blessing on Tim, June and the communities of Coniston and Torver.  Peter and Pat, the Wardens Nick and Linda, Leigh and many other helpers kept the lights glowing and the the candles burning throughout the Christmas season.

May the light and love and peace and vision of Christ, be with you all!

A celebration of Christmas at St. Andrew's Church
A celebration of Christmas at St. Andrew’s Church

 

 

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Unlimited Generosity

Yesterday’s Commissioning service was an act of unlimited generosity full of unbounded love and joy in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Thank you to my church family and friends for bearing witness to my servant vows, for your prayers, encouragement and support.   I am truly humbled in my position to serve as Worship and Outreach Minister to the Parishes of Coniston and Torver.  In His grace and love and light we stand together.  Bless the Lord your souls.  Love, Pamela

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A New Beginning

At St. Andrew’s Church we follow the lectionary and what better place to enter the new year than the baptism of Jesus.  Peter chose this opportunity to bring us back to foundations with a talk that really spoke to me.

For one thing, I was reminded of the fact that God’s time is completely outside of the world’s time.  Can you imagine establishing a life changing, world changing, mission in three short years?  Just like God took Abraham when he was a good old age and asked him to walk to an unknown destination, those who listen and walk in faith will be able to move mountains.  Nothing extraodinary will take place by being bound to the norm.  No matter where we are, no matter how few or many years are in front of us, there will be something that we are being called to do or be which may defy all normal human conventions.  When we receive the call, we are to move and act in faith.

We are going to focus on these revelations and Peter’s points in our beginning prayer and praise service for the new year on Wednesday.  Our opening hymn in the words and music of Graham Kendrick says it all, ‘All heaven waits with bated breath for saints on earth to pray.’

 

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Pray in Confidence, Pray in Power, Pray Often

I don’t think any of us would argue that we are supposed to pray. I don’t think any of us would say we pray enough. I don’t think any of us would say that prayer is ineffective. However, some of us might be tempted to say my prayer is not powerful or effective.

It is easy to come to that conclusion. After all there are many verses similar to Proverbs 15:29. The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. How about James 5:16? Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. We are also reminded that we all sin and fall short of God’s glory. We know prayer is effective… when offered up by a righteous person. I don’t know about you, but I often don’t feel like I belong in that class very often, the class of the righteous.

This is where the grace of God comes in. It is part of the mystery of God that we who are unrighteous can be considered as righteous before God’s throne because of Jesus. Listen to what Paul said to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 1:30. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. You see, righteousness is required for God to hear and respond to our prayers, but the good news is, it is not a righteousness that we have to achieve through our own actions. The righteousness acceptable before God is the righteousness of Christ which has been imparted to us.

Have you ever been part of, or overheard a conversation, where some imagine what they would do if they were God? Well, think of this. Jesus is God. As we approach the Heavenly Father in prayer we do so covered in the righteousness of Jesus. With that kind of access and power, is it any wonder that prayer is referred to as the greatest tool of the Christian?

So what is our take away? Pray! Pray in confidence. Pray in power. Pray often. Even though we are aware of our shortcomings and unrighteous behavior, approach the throne in boldness and ask the Spirit to bring your prayers in line with the Divine will. If we can accomplish that, no door will remain closed to us and no enemy can stand. May you find new energy and confidence in your prayer life and may God’s power flow through your faith to the glory of God.

Faith Walk, Faith Presbyterian Church, Mike Martin, Pastor

November 2013

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

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Discerning God’s Will

This is another great letter from Pastor Mike Martin in Ohio

Someone asked me recently, How do you know Gods will? They were facing a major personal decision and wanted to make sure their decision was in concert with God’s plans for them. It is a great question and an important one. There is no hard and fast method for determining God’s will, but there are some key ingredients.

First, we can judge by God’s word. God will not ask us to do something contrary to the Scriptures.  Another key step is to actually talk to God and listen for the answer. You know that as prayer. The answer may come in many different forms, some of which are listed below.  Make sure to ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s great communicator, comforter and guide.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit doesn’t speak but you feel a nudge in a certain direction. At other times the Spirit speaks loudly and clearly! As you begin to make a decision, you will either feel a sense of peace or still be ill at ease. Simple peace just means the conflict is over. You can be at peace with the world which means you are in conflict with God. You are looking for God’s peace. You know it is God’s peace if the decision doesn’t make sense in the world’s terms but you still, inexplicably, have peace (e.g. leaving a six figure job to do a menial, low paying mission job).

Godly counsel is another voice God uses. This needs to be from people qualified in determining God’s voice in whom you have trust. The more people you have to counsel with, the better it is. As you ask and listen you will hear an emerging theme. Pay close attention to that leading.  Circumstances can play a part but should never be taken exclusively. God opens and closes doors. If a door is closed, perhaps you are being lead to self-examination in order to deal with something that God wants you to resolve. It may be unresolved sin, the conquering of a habit or attitude or the subjugation of your pride. Conversely, if a door looks closed and it suddenly opens, especially through miraculous provision, it can be an indicator of God’s guiding.

There are also some introspective questions to ask. Is there an option which will clearly bring more glory to God than another? Am I running from something or running toward something? I find that God has never asked me to do something easy that I am comfortable with. After all, I am already doing what I am comfortable with or else I wouldn’t be doing it! If the path outlined contains risk and/or sacrifice that is a good indicator. I am not talking about being irresponsible or reckless, but following God’s will is always a little scary and exciting at the same time. Will following one path cause me to abandon commitments and leave others high and dry? If so, is God asking you to sacrifice by staying, or asking you to leave them in God’s holy hands so they, too, can discern the divine will?

I have two final thoughts on discerning God’s will. Sometimes, even after going through a lengthy process covering all the items mentioned above, it seems like you are not getting any answers back. In reality sometimes it doesn’t matter which course of action you choose. God may not be indicating a preference because BOTH choices will be blessed. In such a case just make a choice and go for it with all your heart, soul and strength. Also, rest assured that making a mistake in discernment does not automatically mean you will incur God’s displeasure.  God is a God of grace, even in this process. If you make a mistake, repent and learn from it. In these situations, I find comfort in Romans 8:28. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love;

Do your best and watch and learn about God and the Godly ways.

Published in the August Faith Walk, Faith Presbyterian Church, Findlay, OH

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