The Merry Month of May has fled and we are entering Flaming June – which for once is living up to its name. In twenty days time we will mark the longest day, and the summer solstice. When we started our Thursday clap for Carers we still wore our winter coats and went out in the dark; as we finish ten weeks later we are in our summer clothes and enjoying the long light evenings. The Lord is good!
Brief Devotional: Recipe for Happiness
Come with me, please, to 1 Peter 3 verse 10. Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. Which of us doesn’t want to love life and see good days? Happiness is what most people in the world are seeking. I read a very sad story last week about a young man they call “The Hound of Hounslow”. In 2010 he managed to single handedly bring the US stock market to its knees by wiping off one trillion dollars from its value in one day. What made this story remarkable is that Navinder Singh Sarao, a 36 year old single man living with his parents, did this from his bedroom in a semi detached house in a London suburb. He amassed a fortune of $70 Million. But it couldn’t last. He was tracked down by investigators. At 6am on a cold, dark Tuesday in April 2015 he was arrested by FBI agents and prosecutors from the US Department of Justice. On January 28th 2020 he was sentenced in a Chicago courtroom. When it was his turn to speak, Sarao spoke quietly. “I spent 36 years trying to find happiness on a path built on a lie,” he told the judge. “I made more money than I could have imagined. I did the things society says will give you happiness, and when they didn’t, I didn’t know where to look.” How tragic that the world promised him so much and failed to deliver the happiness he longed for.
The same day I read that report, I turned to Faith Cook’s biography of William Grimshaw of Haworth. A few months before he died, he wrote a letter to the Methodist Societies in Newcastle. He had something to say about happiness: “And now, what doth the Lord require of you between this day and death: this new January and the New Jerusalem? Only love and the fruits of love. Love six things, and happy will you be for ever. 1. Love the Lord. 2. Love his word. 3. Love his people. 4. Love his ways. 5. Love his works. 6. Love his cross; and be sure your love be sole, whole and pure, and perfect love; as constant and immutable as his love to you; for truly, what is genuine Christian love, but love to God resulting from his love first to you, and shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to you.”
Just as the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, including unhappiness and distress; so the love of God, sincere and pure, is the true source of happiness in this world and the next. As Grimshaw says, love those six things and you will be happy for ever.
1. Slavic Gospel Association reports, “In our admittedly difficult situation we can easily forget that circumstances in E Europe, C Asia, and Far East Russia are even more difficult, given widespread poverty in many regions, the absence of quality health care and inferior medical facilities. The general situation in each country is similar. There is widespread concern for personal and family well-being; church services are suspended, and social distancing measures are in place. There are shortages of supplies in some regions and believers are distributing food parcels to needy people. Pray that God’s people will experience His peace, and that they will continue to witness a good confession of Jesus Christ.”
2. London City Mission reports: “It is estimated that the Muslim population will triple in the UK by 2050 – so this is a huge and growing area for ministry. But the church is not ready to engage with Muslims. Christians are afraid to seem Islamophobic, and secularism has affected our mindset so we are encouraged to be tolerant of other world views. Pray for more churches to be trained in outreach to Muslims.”
3. The Our Daily Bread office is closed due to Coronavirus. This means that we will not receive the Daily Reading booklets that many of you use regularly. If you have access to the internet you can find the daily readings at ourdailybread.org or if you have Facebook there is an Our Daily Bread Facebook Page. If you would like one sent to you, you can sign up on the website ourdailybread.org/subscription If you don’t have access to the internet, our secretary, Andrew Nicholas, is happy to order a copy for you, please get in touch with him.
Brief Prayer Requests
1. We often say that we must use the opportunities that we have because we don’t know how long the doors will be open for evangelistic work. These last three months have shown us how true that is. But it is also true that seed sown in the winter can lay dormant for many weeks and months before germinating. Let us pray that gospel seed sown in Girls Craft, Sunday School, Teeny Tots and Afternoon Tea will be brought to spiritual life in many hearts during lockdown.
2. Whit Sunday reminds us of the need for the work of the Holy Spirit. Whilst we pray for his work in regeneration (bringing unbelievers to new life through the New Birth), let’s also pray for his work of sanctification (the inward work of making us more like Jesus day by day) in our own lives.
3. As the Coronavirus slowly declines in Wales and the rest of the UK, let’s pray for those who have been severely affected by it physically and mentally. Especially, pray for those who have been bereaved and those who have been traumatised by their experiences in dealing with patients.
Finally, for those who are following the daily readings, here are the readings from this Wednesday
Wed 3rd Psalm 90 Thursday 4th Psalm 91
Friday 5th Psalm 92,93 Saturday 6th Psalm 94
Sunday 7th Psalm 95,96 Monday 8th Psalm 97,98
Tuesday 9th Psalm 99,100,101 Wed 10th Psalm 102
Warmly yours in the Lord Your Pastor Jeremy 1st June 2020