7th August 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

How's your run going? Be encouraged by Hebrews 12's top tips for your daily run...

Run as one who is unhindered and undistracted (vv.1-2)

Run as one trained by the wise discipline of a loving father (vv.3-13)

Run for the good of others (vv.14-17)

Run as one who is almost home (vv.18-24)

In the words of Erci Lidell:

I believe God made me for a purpose, and when I run I feel his pleasure!

a prayer for today

Pray that our love for each other be marked by the same attitude as Jesus Christ (Phil 2.5-11). Give thanks and pray for the pastoral care team who aim to provide support and encouragement for those who are especially isolated and vulnerable in this present season.

6th August 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 11

Hebrews 11.6 - without faith it is impossible to please God

There are many ways to live to please others in our world, but there is only one way to please the living God. There is no other way to enjoy God’s real and lasting pleasure, his commendation (v.4), apart from faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

Hebrews is written to exhort us…keep going…by faith…

And faith is defined for us in verse 1

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Faith is not just knowing God’s promise to us in Jesus (forgiveness – hope) is true, but knowing that is promised is better than all else that we can see in front of us, while we wait for God's promise to be fulfilled.

a prayer for today

Pray for the Bush Church Aid Society and the the many churches the organisation supports in rural and regional Australia. Give thanks for gospel witness in the towns and regions of this land. Pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit to bring the fruit of salvation in these places.

5th August 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 10

I confess to worrying about our church family during this season of isolation. It is not natural for us. We are called to be in the habit of meeting together, called to meet to spur one another on while we wait for Jesus' return. I am thankful for the ways technology has allowed us to keep 'meeting'. But, my prayer is that when the day comes that more and more of us can be physically together again, we do not neglect the habit. How easy it would be, having lost the muscle memory for meeting, to simply see gathering as something we don't need to fill our busy lives with again. May I ask you to join me in praying that the Lord lays on our heart a longing to be together, to see that time is short, the day when the Lord will return is approaching. These are days to be about gathering, about stirring each other's hearts to be active and ready for that day.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

a prayer for today

A prayer of thanksgiving - How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues. Praise be to the LORD, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. Amen. (Psalm 31.19-21)

4th August 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 9

Our world doesn't know how to handle guilt. We either downplay our own sin or we refuse to forgive the sin of others. It is not a surprise we find guilt hard to deal with - the reality of sin and the guilt it brings is not imagined. It can not be wished away, not can it be forgiven easily. This is how C S Lewis puts it:

‘We have the strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. I have heard others, and I have heard myself recounting cruelties and falsehoods committed in childhood as if they were no concern to the present speakers and even with laughter. But mere time does nothing either to the fact, or to the guilt of sin.’

But, the gospel of Jesus Christ is that God has made a way for sin and guilt to be taken incredibly seriously and yet forgiven completely.

he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed onceto take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

a prayer for today

A prayer of repentance - In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; reliever me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge; a strong fortress to save me. Amen. (Psalm 31.1-2)

3rd August 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 8

A massive promise

magnificently fulfilled

by a merciful Father

and his mighty Son!

I will put my laws in their minds

and write them on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

11 No longer will they teach their neighbor,

or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.

a prayer for today

Pray for discernment and courage to see and abandon false gods and hopes. Pray that we would know and trust in the one true God, who is our hope and salvation.

2nd August 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 7

Praise God for his Son, our high priest who truly meets our needs!

26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

a prayer for today

Give thanks for our growing diversity of ages, cultures and backgrounds, as a church family. Give thanks that we are all one in Christ Jesus. Give thanks for our common hope, faith and love in Him. Pray that we would express our diversity and unity in the ways we gather together.

1st August 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 6

A word to hear after a week of rain! A call to let the word of God soak deep, rather than bounce off us!

7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed.In the end it will be burned.

a prayer for today

Give thanks and pray for our student ministers - Meagan McGilvray, Andy Tuskan, Ben Feather and Jonathan Adams.

31st July 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 5

Each one of us is utterly exposed and found guilty before the living God who is our judge. And yet, in grace we have one who speaks in our defence. And he is enough! Why? Hebrews 5 tells us why. Because the one who stands between us and our - our High Priest - is the loved, tested and proved faithful triumphant Son of God!

a prayer for today

Pray for the Building for the Future project - that it may be completed soon, that the finances to fully fund the project may be provided, that the gospel of Jesus Christ may bear fruit and multiply in the new spaces.

30th July 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 4

Just about my favourite passage in the whole of scripture!

The word of our judge who knows the very heart of who were are - nothing is hidden...even our sin!

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

The word of the one who understands our humanity, who doesn't not excuse it, rather he stands in our place and lives to offer gracious and timely help...

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

a prayer for today

Pray for our mission partners in Bolivia: The Lovells - serving in Bible Teaching with MOCLAM (Moore College in Latin America). Give thanks for our partnership with Adrian, Anita and Mattias. Praise God for his provision of safety and health for the Lovells in the COVID-19 season. Pray for wisdom as they seek to grow knowledge and understanding of God and his good purposes amongst the people of Bolivia and Latin America. Pray for wisdom for how best to use the time you give them.

29th July 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 3

Scripture is filled with warnings about hardening our heart to the voice of the living God. Each of us is either in the process of softening or hardening out heart, toward or away from him. But, each new day is a fresh opportunity to turn toward God and to hear his voice with a soft heart. Why not pray that God's Spirit would soften your heart to his voice today?

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.

a prayer for today

A prayer of thanksgiving - I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, LORD, Brough me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Amen. (Psalm 30.1-5)

28th July 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 2

What a word for a world caught in the grip of a virus that exposes our fragility and powerlessness. To a world that is right afraid of death God speaks the gospel of his Son:

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

a prayer for today

A prayer of repentance - Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. Amen. (Psalm 30.10-12)

27th July 2020 - Bible Reading - Hebrews 1

On Sunday In Daniel chapter 2, Daniel praised God that he reveals the deep and hidden things, that he is the revealer of mysteries.

And here at the start of Hebrews, we see that he has been about that work for a very long time. And now at last he has revealed himself fully by showing us his Son!

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son...

a prayer for today

Pray that as kingdoms and rulers and authorities rise and fall in our world, that we would see and take comfort in Jesus Christ, who will reign forever. Pray that we would be humbled and courageous as a result of knowing and trusting this.