He Is Our Light In The Dark…

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

It is Prayer & Fasting week here at Church At Barking Riverside and the theme is hope and Jesus being our light in the dark.

January is always a bit of a let down for numerous reasons:

  • most of us are on a come down from the socialising, constant eating and drinking (or is that just me?!), and the general good will and merriment that comes with Christmas and December
  • all of us have been paid early, before Christmas so the next pay day feels so much further away
  • Blue Monday is a real thing
  • the dark and dreary weather still exists, just without the beautiful twinkling fairy lights that come with Christmas decorations

Granted it is our first January not in lockdown, but to counteract that, we have the cost of living crisis and political uncertainty, alongside all of the usual letdowns January tends to bring.

For many, the start of 2023 isn’t an exciting prospect, especially financially.

But as a follower of Christ, and as a general optimist, I challenge that.

Regardless of everything that is going on and our worries and struggles, we are still here by His grace. He has brought us this far, taking every, single step with us, and He will continue to do so.

He is our provider and eternal life giver.

Therefore, though we may need practical help, some of which we reference here, we also need to stand firm in our knowledge that He has our back and only ever puts us in situations that we can handle, with His support.

On Sunday at the last Celebration, we focused on Matthew 7:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Matthew 7:24-29

As a part of discussing that passage, one thing that came out of it was that as Christians, it isn’t that Jesus takes us out of difficult situations. It isn’t that because of our faith, we see or feel no suffering. But instead, because of our faith and our relationship with Him, we have a stable foundation. And in turn, that means we can weather any storm, and we have His strength within us to do anything and get through anything. It is in that place of difficulty, that we might be best placed to stretch out a hand to someone else that’s in a similar position, or who may also be suffering, to support them and share about Jesus, which in turn strengthens their foundation. Jesus radiates from us when we handle difficulties with grace and faith. Sometimes that’s how He intends on using us to reach those around us that are yet to know Him.

So while we are praying for ourselves and for those close to us, to find the hope that Jesus brings, I also encourage you to fix your eyes on Him and ask for the specific names of people who need our prayer most this week. It might be neighbours, friends, other parents you see on the school run. Whoever it is God puts on your heart, pray for them to see Him as their light in the dark and that He is the one that will bring them out of their situation.

Worship Songs To Lift You Up

Bibles Verses To Lift You Up

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Romans 8:28-30

Prayer Of Hope

O Father in Heaven

Look upon all your people who struggle with anger, anxiety, doubt, frustration, guilt, hopelessness, loss, memories, lack of patience, pain, regret, sadness, selfishness, temptation and weakness. Your Holy Word tells us “All things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” And that means that you make all these things work for your good purpose in our lives, even when we do not understand. Remind us of your invitation, “Cast all your cares upon me,” and of your assurance that goes with it, “because I care for you.” …through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

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