Week of Prayer – Day 3 Have You Ever Wrestled With God?

Reading – Genesis 32:22-31

During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions.

This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.

“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.

 

The Bible shows us two amazingly intimate ‘one to one’ meetings that Jacob has with God, the first is in 28:10–17, but in this passage we’ve seen Jacob spending the whole night wrestling with God, wrestling because he is insistent that God would bless him, so desperate for a blessing that he will not let go, that is, not until he is blessed.

I wonder do you hesitate to wrestle with God over things dear to you? Jacob didn’t think twice, and I believe that we shouldn’t either. You see being a follower of Jesus is not just about being saved, but it’s about pursuing God, in His word and face to face in prayer.

After this encounter with God, Jacob is left physically weaker with a dodgy hip but in reality, he is stronger… he is stronger because he was blessed by God. He goes on in his life better equipped to deal with his past, his present and his future, because he has wrestled over some difficult things with God, and in wrestling he was changed, changed to be ready, able and willing to accept God’s blessing, accept God’s leading and most importantly to accept that God’s plan and God’s will are supreme over everything and God’s love and justice is without question.

Reflect: Jacob wrestled with God… God won and Jacob was blessed – just think that through as you go through the day!

Act: Take hold of God today and wrestle in prayer with Him, maybe it’s a break-through that’s not coming, perhaps it’s just the courage to keep on track, maybe it’s a sin you can’t shake off, or a hurt you can’t let go of… Wrestling in prayer is a hard task and it will permanently change you but don’t let that stop you, because that’s the way of blessing.

Children’s Prayer Activity

Day 3

Let’s thank God for all He has made –which is your favourite day of creation?

Week of Prayer – Day 2 Stop, Look and Listen

Reading – 1 John 5:20

And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.

No, it’s not the Stylistics song I have in mind, or the Green Cross Code, though that’s closer to the mark…

The question today is a big one and it is this: “Do you really want to know God?” Obviously I’m hoping the answer is yes, and if it is yes, here is where the Stop, Look and Listen comes in.

Stop trying to get close to God by following your own feelings, whims and opinions about who God is, without first seeing and agreeing who He says He is, because what we know about Him is completely dependent on what He has shown us about Himself. It is completely impossible know God until you take notice of what He has revealed to us about Himself. You see as with everything, the conversation starts with God, we get to know Him when we respond.

Look at what God has shown us. The Bible has been described as a window in which we can see what God will show us about Himself: His creation, His love, His plan, and of course importantly His desire for us to have a perfect and eternal relationship with Him, made possible through that once for all sacrifice as He came as our Saviour. As you seek God, ask Him in a simple prayer, every time you open your Bible, to show you more of Himself.

Listen – having asked, listen to what God has to say to you, if you’re not in the habit it will take patience and practice, but keep listening. Read your Bible, and listen to Him speak to you through it, and as you do, notice how you discover more about Jesus, His love for you and His plan for you.

Reflect: Do I know God as I should, or is the god I think I know my own invention. Might I need to stop, look and listen more?

 Act: Take things at the pace God sets for you, don’t try and spend hours just listening for a start, but do stop daily and gradually increase the time you spend looking at God’s word and listening to Him as you actively believe that as our text says:

the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God.

Children’s Prayer Activity

Day 2

Why not print out and colour in the picture today? Bring it to church on Sunday to share with your friends.

  

Week of Prayer – Day 1 Faith or Emotions

Reading – Isaiah 59:16

He saw…     …and wondered that there was no one to intercede;

Why is it that sometimes we find we’ve stopped praying, that we’ve cooled off when it comes to a real relationship with God? Could it be that our interest in prayer and our relationship with God is so often nothing to do with faith, but a lot to do with our emotions? We might talk about prayer; maybe make an effort to get to a prayer meeting once in a while, perhaps read a book on prayer which tells us how valuable prayer is, we might have heard it said in a sermon or two or read in the bible that when we pray our whole being is enriched and built up – we can have peace. We might read hear and remember that, but there will be times when we find we’ve wandered away, maybe a little or maybe a lot, but wandered we have. So what is God’s take on this?

Well from our text we can see that God wonders, He is astounded… You see prayer and worship were what we created for, God created us to “glorify Him and enjoy Him forever,1” that is to worship Him and enjoy Him. If in our daily lives we don’t put God first, if in our daily lives we don’t chat with Him, have long conversations with Him, ask His opinion and follow it or in other words if in our daily lives we’re not communicating with God, but are going our own way… well then, God will look and He will wonder.

Reflect: Does my life honour God, am I enjoying His grace and mercy, or might I be causing God to wonder.

Act: make a regular time to spend with God, to be thanking, asking, listening and submitting.

Children’s Prayer Activity  

DAY 1 adoring God –tell God you love Him in your prayers today

 

Feasts of Israel – Study 5

Study based on sermon: Jewish Feasts Part 5 – Tabernacles (Sukkot)

Reading: Leviticus 23:33-44

  1. Take a quick tour through the first 6 feasts and relate what they looked back to and also what their prophetic fulfilment is or was.
  2. This feast is known as The Feast or The Great Feast – why do you think that is?
  3. In the Sermon we looked at again at the number seven in relation to this feast, the feasts in general and God’s plan. Discuss as a group how much of this you can remember and how it all fits together.
  4. Jesus (John 7 specifically v.37-39) taught at this feast. How do Jesus words look to the fulfilment of the feast of tabernacles and how does it fit with Zechariah 14:4-9.
  5. What should we, as a church today, take and apply to our lives from our study on the feasts.
  6. If as a group you have unresolved questions on this study please don’t be afraid to ask Pastor.

Feasts of Israel – Study 4

Study based on Gordon’s sermon: Jewish Feasts Part 4 – Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

Reading: Leviticus 23:26-32

  1.  Leviticus 16 contains instructions for the priest on the Day of Atonement. Why do you think Aaron needed to make atonement for himself before making atonement for the people? (see vv 11–14). How is this step different from when Christ performed His Atonement? (Hebrews 9: 6-15)
  2. Why did Aaron need two goats? (see vv. 6–10). How do both goats (the one used for the offering and the one used as the scapegoat) represent Christ and His Atonement? (see vv. 20–22).
  3. Using Hebrews 10 vv1-18 compare the work of the High Priest with that of Christ in achieving atonement.
  4. Discuss the effects of Christ’s finished work of Atonement, past (sins forgiven), present (no condemnation) and future (We shall be like Him).

This term’s prayer pointers:

  • Give regular thanks for answered prayer;
  • Pray that The Lord will build His Church at New Connexions: spiritually, physically and numerically;
  • Seek the Lord for direction as to outreach in the year ahead.

Feasts of Israel – Study 3

Study based on the sermon:Jewish Feasts Part 3 – Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)

This study may prove tricky if you missed the sermon, please do pick it up before attempting the questions

Reading: Leviticus 23: 23-25

  1. Discuss why there is a gap between the spring and the autumn feasts; what does that gap relate to?
  2. How have the spring feasts been fulfilled?
  3. In the sermon we looked at a number of passages alongside our reading from Leviticus 23.
    1. How do these OT readings help us in understanding the feast: Leviticus 23: 23-25, Numbers 10:1-10, Exodus 19?
    2. Which NT readings relate directly to this passage, (there are at least 3) Hint: 1 Corinthians 1 Thessalonians and Revelation.
  4. How is this relevant to us, and what lessons might we apply?
  5. Please take time to pray for each other and pick up on this terms prayer pointers below:

This term’s prayer pointers:

  • Give regular thanks for answered prayer;
  • Pray that The Lord will build His Church at New Connexions: spiritually, physically and numerically;
  • Seek the Lord for direction as to outreach in the year ahead.

Feasts of Israel – Study 2

Study based on the sermon: Jewish Feasts Part 2 – Pentecost

Reading: Leviticus 23: 15-22

There are only a few questions here but take each one in as much depth as you can.

  1. What was Pentecost:
    1. looking back to;
    2. giving thanks for;
    3. looking ahead to?
  2. Why was yeast used in the bread and why were there two loaves – what do the loaves represent?
  3. Where is the application for us as a church in the UK in the 21st century?
  4. please take time to pray for each other and pick up on this terms prayer pointers below:

This term’s prayer pointers:

  • Give regular thanks for answered prayer;
  • Pray that The Lord will build His Church at New Connexions: spiritually, physically and numerically;
  • Seek the Lord for direction as to outreach in the year ahead.

 

Feasts of Israel – Study 1

The Jewish Calendar

Study based on the sermon: Jewish Feasts part 1

Reading: Leviticus 23:1-14

  1. What does it mean to keep the Sabbath? How might we either be too legalistic or too liberal in this?
  2. Are these feasts in Leviticus 23 really relevant to us today? If so how, and why don’t we celebrate them within the modern church?
  3. As a group discuss each of the first three feasts; how are they a reminder of past things and in which ways do they speak of things that were to come.
  4. In the sermon we looked at the dates of Passover, preparation, selecting the sacrifice etc. and how the prophecies of Daniel 9, Psalm 118 and Zechariah 9, Luke 11:29 form part of the picture. Discuss how all of this fits together in God’s plan, how tradition has confused things and what this might teach us about the importance of studying the whole of scripture.
  5. Please use the points below to guide you in a time of prayer.

This term’s prayer pointers:

  • Give regular thanks for answered prayer;
  • Pray that The Lord will build His Church at New Connexions: spiritually, physically and numerically;
  • Seek the Lord for direction as to outreach in the year ahead.

Building, Watching and Walking

This week’s study picks up on these two sermons:

Which Way? Jeremiah 6:16

Unless The Lord… Psalm 127

  1. Read Psalm 127 and Jeremiah :6:16 – 21
  2. Who are these verses aimed at, believers or non-believers? Why is it important that God’s people (The Church), put their own house in order [try to look at this from every possible angle]?
  3. If God is the builder and the watchmen why do we need to do anything?
  4. what is meant, in Jeremiah 6:16, by “the old godly way“, and how do we find it?
  5. For Christian’s the message in these few verses is ‘blindingly obvious’, so why do we often find ourselves doing the wrong thing and continuing to think we know best when it comes to certain, if not every, aspects of our lives?
  6. As a House group talk through how you might encourage, guide, and support each other in the year ahead as you seek to let the Lord build and watch and walk in the ‘old ways’ with Him

This term’s prayer pointers:

  • Give regular thanks for answered prayer;
  • Pray that The Lord will build His Church at New Connexions: spiritually, physically and numerically;
  • Seek the Lord for direction as to outreach in the year ahead.

 

 

Another year passes but God’s love goes on and on and on

You may not know me…

But I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you get up. I’m familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139: 1-3

Even the hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31

You see, you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27

And in me you live and move and have life. Acts 17:28

For you’re my child. Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5

And I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

You were no mistake, because all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16

I decided the exact time of your birth and where you’d live. Acts 17:26

You’re wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

And was at your side from the day you were born. Psalm 71:6

I’ve been lied about by those who don’t know me. John 8:41-44

But I am the cause and supply of all love. 1 John 4:16

And I love you so much! I want to share that love with you. 1 John 3:1

Because you’re my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1

I give you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11

You see I’m the perfect Father. Matthew 5:48

Every good thing you’ve ever had, or will ever have, comes from me. James 1:17

I’ve met all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future is filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

You see I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3

And I never stop thinking of you. Psalms 139:17-18

And I love to calm you with my singing. Zephaniah 3:17

I won’t leave you. Jeremiah 32:40

You’re treasured by me. Exodus 19:5

I want to show wonderful things. Jeremiah 33:3

So remember if you seek me with your whole heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29

Love me, and then I will give you your heart’s desire. Psalm 37:4

Remember it’s me who gives you right desires. Philippians 2:13

And I’m able to do more for you than you could ever imagine. Ephesians 3:20

I’m your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I’m your loving Father comforting you in difficult times. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When your heart’s breaking, I’m with you. Psalm 34:18

I’ve carried you close to my heart, like a shepherd would. Isaiah 40:11

One day I’ll wipe away all your tears. Revelation 21:3-4

And take away all the pain you’ve suffered. Revelation 21:3-4

I’m your Father, and I love you just as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23

You see it’s in Jesus, I showed my love for you. John 17:26

He’s the exact image of who I AM. Hebrews 1:3

He came to show that I am on your side. Romans 8:31

And to tell you that because of Jesus, I can wipe out your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Because of Jesus you can know me as your perfect Father. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate demonstration of love for you. 1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32

And if you accept the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7

I’ve always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15

But here’s the important question…Will you be my child?  John 1:12-13

I’m waiting for you.  Luke 15:11-32

Almighty God

Your loving Dad

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