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A God given opportunity

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

A Time for Everything

3 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. 5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. 6 A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.

Many of us for some time have been complaining about the pace of modern life, now we have an enforced sabbatical! (I have often thought that God has a sense of humour!) I know many of us were feeling weary from the relentless pressure of maintaining our family life, work and church life, not to mention having some time for ourselves to do things that we enjoy. So I don’t think that we should feel guilty stopping and resting. J John pointed out in psalm 23 that verse 2 says, He makes me lie down in green pastures. (This however is not an excuse to simply waste our time.) The pattern of “Sabbath” rest is part of God’s creation mandate that we have ignored for far too long. So let’s make the most of this God given opportunity to reassess our priorities and to recharge our spiritual batteries.

Here are a few ideas.

1. I’m sure that many of us have got Christian books that we have had for years and never got around to reading them. Now is the chance to do so.

2. One of the things that I’ve realised is that while I do pray every day the one aspect of prayer that has got squeezed out of my life is listening to God. So I am deliberately making time each day to be still and asking God to speak to me.

3. Some time ago Di reminded me that I’ve lost contact (other than at Christmas) with many of my friends. Now is a good opportunity to reconnect with them. While we might not be able to meet up with them in person at the moment we can send them encouraging emails. (We are so blessed to have the internet which means that we are better able than ever before to continue to keep in contact with people even while our movements are limited).

Being told we cannot do something actually makes us appreciate the things that we enjoy much more. We have taken our freedom very much for granted. I’m already beginning to appreciate much better and feel solidarity with what our brothers and sisters across the world, who are imprisoned for their faith, are going through on a daily basis. This has made me all the more determined to continue to pray for them on a daily basis.

To him who is able to keep us from falling and present us without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only wise God our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory majesty dominion and authority, before all time now and forever. Amen

Suggested songs for the 12 noon prayer times:-

Wednesday blessed assurance

Thursday one thing remains

Friday Guide me o thou great Redeemer

Saturday It is well with my soul

Sunday (aim to listen to the service which we hope to do from the Rectory more details later in the week)

Monday at the name of Jesus.

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