We here at Ashmore Uniting Church would like to thank the City of Gold Coast for the COVID-19 Community grant payment(s). This support has meant we have been able to provide new signage to advise locals and visitors to the coast about our church and service times during this challenging time and into the future.
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I hope you are enjoying reading your Bible.
In this time of self isolation it is still easy to preoccupy your time and energy and mind on other things.
But I do want you to set apart a particular part of the day to reading your Bible.
The reason for that is simple.
It is one of the ways that God will speak with you.
While the Bible (Latin for Books or library) is a series of books written by humans, it has been inspired by God and you will be amazed at just how often God speaks to you from the pages into your situation that you are facing.
I am enjoying using the Discipleship series, written by my wife, Rev Janie French, which we are sending out to you every Wednesday.
This is a series which traces the time lines of the Bible and is starts with Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
There are no dates that tell you when to read, so if you’re like me you might be a bit behind.
Anyway, this morning I was reading Genesis chapter 3, the story of sin entering the world, and I was made very aware, I believe by God, of the word ‘blame’.
Blame is something that happens when we are fearful and mainly fearful of being caught.
This chapter is full of blame, that is, blaming someone else.
When God speaks to Adam, he blames his wife; when God speaks with Eve, she blames the snake.
This made me think of the many times that I have blamed someone else for what I had done, just to escape the punishment.
Of course, living in this Covid-19 pandemic, it is easy to blame.
Blame people who don’t keep the social distancing requirements, as well as blame people for hoarding or buying too much sanitiser, anti bacterial wipes and , of course, toilet paper.
But the story this morning from Genesis 3, made me pause and consider how I was to blame for the little things I am doing that cause hurt with other people.
It is interesting that, when we start looking at our own messes, we realise the needs to give people space in their own lives, so that they can clean up their messes too
Blaming others is passing the buck.
Didn’t JESUS say, before you attack someone for the splinter in their eye, you need to take the wooden beam out of your own.
God bless you
WHAT’S IN A COLOUR
Prior to the rains coming earlier this year the Australian countryside was a very dry brown.
Then the rains came and replenished the earth, and the Australian countryside changed to vivid green.
It is amazing what a bit of water can do.
I saw that first hand when I moved from the Tweed to Brisbane.
On the coast the earth is sustained by those coastal showers
But Brisbane last October was in the midst of a drought and the ground was brittle and dry and brown.
But it didn’t take long for the change to occur.
Our story this morning relates to change.
We are creatures of habit and our inclination is to serve ourselves.
The people in Ezekiel’s day had done just that and the result was utter devastation for them. (Ezekiel 37)
They were taken as prisoners into exile, never to see their homeland again.
It was as if a drought had come.
In their hearts and lives all they could see is death and decay.
But our God is not one to keep them there.
He wants us to enjoy life.
He had David write the 23rd Psalm which talks of life in vivid colour
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength. Ps 23: 1-3 NLT
The message is clear
We may cause our own grief or it may, like the corona virus, be thrust upon us
God comes to us and invites us to follow Him
He calls us out and encourages us to follow Him
He promises He will lead us in the right path
We can trust him, for He has proven Himself trustworthy.
In the Middle East, unlike Australia where shepherds drive their sheep, the sheep follow their shepherd.
They know it is the right way.
May you this week, look sup from the devastation around us, and see the Lord and His love enfolding you in ways that bring you life, life that you could never have found for yourself, life in abundance.
God bless you
ADVENT WEEK TWO
Today is the Second Sunday in Advent! Advent is the weeks before Christmas, a time of waiting for the Birthday of Jesus. It is also a time of preparation, or getting ready for, Christmas. During Advent, we prepare our church, our homes and our hearts for the coming of Jesus.
At Advent, Bible stories tell us about God’s promises to send the world a Saviour-someone who will show the way to God and teach us about God’s love and forgiveness. Today we are going to be involved in a play and nativity scene to help us to really understand the Christmas message. I am thankful to Daphne Watt for preparing and leading this play as well to the other members of our great church congregation who helped in the preparation.
The Advent candle we light this Sunday is the candle of peace.
The Bible points to a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord.
John the Baptist called for repentance; a change in direction that leads to God. Repentance brings us peace with God. That’s where real peace begins.
God fills us with hope, joy and peace when we believe. So, we relight the candle of hope.
We proclaim our belief in God’s faithfulness, as we light the candle of peace.
God of faithfulness – John the Baptist challenged his listeners to turn back to you, to discover the world shaped in accordance with your will and your design. Open our eyes, ears and hearts to a new understanding of your will and your plan for us.
Help us to be joyful in the knowledge that Jesus, the Messiah has already come and that through the work of the Holy Spirit we may experience him as the Prince of Peace in our lives today. We wait in faith, confident in your promises that you will complete what you started. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
I pray that the peace and joy of the season is with you.
Yours in Christ