St John's Church Over

Daily Encouragements

Thy Kingdome Come - 29th May 2020

Day 9: Celebrate

So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
Luke 15.20-24

Reflection:

How joyful God is when He welcomes us back. We can have such skewed ideas of God as if He is an angry dictator or fault-finding headteacher. But actually, God is love and His attitude towards us is compassion and grace. Even when we are far from Him, He is willing to run and meet us, the way this father did. Look how it says, ‘But while he was still far off ’ – the father didn’t wait for the son to come all the way to him, but he went and made up the distance. God does that. God doesn’t just wait – He comes out to us in His love and He stretches His arms in welcome. God is stretching His arm out right now, moving down the road waiting for your friends to come home.

 Prayer:

Loving God, please get my friends on the road where they see You running to meet them. Thank You that You welcome us with joy however far or however long we have been away.

 Action:

Think of how you have been hurt by someone, or disagreed with them. How could you reach out and meet them where they are, just as Jesus does for us?

Thy Kingdom Come - 28th May 2020

Day 8: Adore

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8.37-39

 Reflection:

We expect there must be something that can separate us from the love of God. But God is saying, ‘I don’t care where you are, what you’re doing, how far away you are: my love for you will not change.’ Sometimes we think that God’s love is dependent on the way we act. But God is saying, ‘Listen, not even the heights of this earth could separate me or stop me from loving you.’ Christianity is first a relationship with God through Jesus, not first a series of activities! The love of God is ultimately expressed in the Cross of Christ, which stands for all time as the sign and assurance of God’s unchanging love.

 Prayer:

Loving God, thank You for Your love from which nothing can separate us, and which does not depend on our efforts. Please reveal this love and the peace it brings, in the lives of the five people I am praying for.

 Action:

Think about how you can show someone that they are loved and known by God.

Thy Kingdom Come - 27th May 2020

Day 7: Help

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
1 John 3.16-18

Reflection:

When St John says, ‘Dear children’ he’s speaking to everyone, all the children of God. He says we shouldn’t just say we love people if we’re not doing anything to show that love – that if we have material possessions and yet we don’t show any pity for our brother or sister – how is that love? Not to say that that’s the only way to love people, but that’s a very practical way to love people. How generous are we as Christians? How caring are we as Christians? How hospitable are we as Christians, especially when it is not in our self-interest? If we don’t act, it’s almost as if we think we deserve to be in a better position because it’s only by God’s grace that we’re not in the position of the one in need. Jesus himself says: ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Everything that we do to people, we do as if we do it to Christ.

 Prayer:

Loving God, thank You for Your costly love. Please may my five friends understand something of the strength of Your love for them. Help us to use our resources well.

 Action:

How could you use what you already have to show others how alive and active the love of Jesus is?

Thy Kingdom Come – 26th May 2020

Day 6: Pray for

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves
is born of God and knows God.
1 John 4.7

Reflection:
What would the world be like if everybody loved each other? Imagine that! Of course love is difficult because our human nature, although capable of great love, is imperfect. Our selfishness keeps getting in the way. The Christian church is called to be a community of acceptance, forgiveness and love. This is not a cheap, easy, rose-tinted, naïve love. It is the stuff of revolution. As Mother (St) Theresa said, ‘I only love God as much as I love the person I love the least’. It is only possible with the Father’s love, Christ’s example and the Spirit’s power. And God teaches us to love as we pray. To pray is to love.


Prayer:
Loving God, help me to know You more. Through knowing You, may I show You more and love as You love. Please show Your love to my five friends – through me and others who love You.


Action:
How could you remind yourself to pray for your five friends? Could you set an alarm on
your phone every day to pray that they may come to know your Jesus’ love?

Thy Kingdom Come – 25th May 2020

Day 5: Offer

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the
Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners
and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the
one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders
and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors,
saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
Luke 15.1-6; see also Matthew 18.12-14 

 Reflection:

The loving God pursues us. He leaves the ninety-nine to find the one. From a rational perspective, He would do better to guard his ninety-nine and forsake the one that He’s lost because that would be more profitable. But actually, God’s love doesn’t seek profit – every individual sheep is worth pursuing. Sometimes we can be exclusive about the people that we want to show love and care to. In verse 2 we read: ‘the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them”’. But the Jesus that we claim to follow had no requirement for those he ate with. The sinners and the tax collectors were people that he came to find. Jesus went to Matthew’s house – Matthew the tax collector – to have dinner with him. Jesus went out of his way to spend time to eat with a group of people whom society rejected. In the same way, Jesus left Heaven and came down, not only to dine with us but also to die for us. He has done everything to find us.

 Prayer:

Loving God, thank You for coming to find us with Your love. Please reveal your love and peace to my friends.

 Action:

Depending on where you are in the world, you may not be able to invite loved ones to church. But church was never a building, but the people of God. Therefore, in what ways can we leave our comfort zone and imitate Jesus by reaching out to them?

Thy Kingdom Come - 24th May 2020

 Day 4 - Sorry

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed,
rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person
someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we
still were sinners Christ died for us.
Romans 5.6-8

 Reflection:

What’s beautiful about the Christian story is that God loved us before we came to the realisation that we’re not perfect or righteous in our own strength, and before we turned to accept His love. The love of God we see shown in countless Bible stories comes from a broken heart. It is a love for someone which feels like an ache in the pit of the stomach. The kind of love which would do anything, however irrational it may seem to others, to find what is lost. As we shall read in tomorrow’s reflection, it is the love which risks everything for the sake of one who is lost.

 Prayer:

Loving God, I am sorry for the times when I have not loved others as You love. Thank You that, before I thought of confessing, You had forgiven me. I confess all that is not right in my life today and ask for the forgiveness You so lovingly give. May this love transform my friends’ lives also.

 Action:

During this week, how can I lay aside something important to me, so as to better serve one of my five?

Thy Kingdom Come - 23rd May 2020

Day 3 - Thanks

Reading:
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins… We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4.9-10, 19

Reflection:
It is so powerful that even when we didn’t know God and didn’t really care about God, He loved us. He doesn’t love us because we do things right or dislike us because we do things wrong. The revolution of His love for us is that it can’t be earned. He just loves us. It is a pure gift. In the same way God loves us before we knew it, He works for all whether they know it or not. God is working in everyone’s life. Some people see it, some people don’t. God’s love acts for all – but what God wants more than anything is for us to recognise it and welcome it. The calling of Christians is to be those who point out how God is already at work in their lives; it is a calling to be channels, not creators of God’s love.

Prayer:
Loving God, thank You that before we loved You, You loved us first. We recognise Your love for us today and choose to love You too. Thank You for my friends. Please open my friends’ eyes to Your love and action for them.

Action:
It is easy to take people for granted. Are there ways today that you can demonstrate to those you are praying for how grateful you are for them being in your life?

Thy Kingdom Come - 22nd May 2020

Day 2 - Praise

Reading:
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13.4-7

Reflection:
Love is lived out. Love is not just a declaration. It is commitment in action. That God feels love for us is absolutely amazing. It is humbling. He’s always seeking to shape our lives by His love and he’s patient and kind with us. One thing that God can really challenge us on is whether our Christian lives show something different which is worth living for. If there’s nothing that looks particularly necessary or attractive about being a Christian, then what’s the point? We should go out of our way to try and demonstrate God to as many people as we can, not just in our prayers but in our actions and in our praise to Him. We should be loving people and full of God’s goodness, joy and grace. They may not call it ‘God’ at the time, but
there’s something special about you which is your relationship with God. The fruit of that relationship is a loving nature.
Prayer:
Loving God, thank You for the way You love us. Please help me by the power of Your Holy Spirit to love as You love, so that my five people may come to know You.
Action:
In the next few weeks, how could you share the joy and love that we can find in Jesus with one of your 5 friends?

Thy Kingdom Come - 21st May 2020

Day 1 - Jesus

Reading:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3.16-17

Reflection:
John 3.16 is one of the best-known verses in the Bible because it emphasises God’s love for everyone. Jesus didn’t just love those who are easy to love, He loved the people who hated Him, who despised Him; He loved the people that others looked down on. He didn’t just love some people – He loved the whole world. This speaks about the action that God took to show His love towards us – it shows us how love is an active word. God loved us so much that He chose to send His beloved child for us. Not because of anything that we did, not because we deserved it; but because He’s a loving God. God’s love is selfless and sacrificial and shows us what we are worth to Him. If God can love anyone, the least we can do is to do the same.
Prayer:
Loving God, thank You that You gave Your Son Jesus for me, and for all people. Help me accept the love that You showed me in sending Your Son. I pray for my five friends. Please open their hearts to Your love. And teach me to love more truly. Amen
Action:
Ask yourself: is there anyone that comes to mind who God may be bringing to your attention?

Daily Encouragement #48 - 1 Peter 3:18-22

20th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #47 - 1 Peter 3:13-17

19th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #46 - 1 Peter 3:8-12

18th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #45 - Isaiah 45:20-25

15th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #44 - Isaiah 44:1-8

14th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #43 - Isaiah 43:1-7

13th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #42 - Isaiah 42:1-9

12th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #41 - Isaiah 41:8-14

11th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #40 - Matthew 9:27-34

8th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #39 - Matthew 9:18-26

7th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #38 - Matthew 9:14-17

6th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #37 - Matthew 9:9-13

5th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #36 - Matthew 9:1-8

4th May 2020

Daily Encouragement #35 - Matthew 8:28-34

1st May 2020

Daily Encouragement #34 - Matthew 8:23-27

30th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #33 - Matthew 8:14-22

29th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #32 - Matthew 8:5-13

28th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #31 - Matthew 8:1-4

27th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #30 - Psalm 128

24th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #29 - Psalm 127

23rd April 2020

Daily Encouragement #28 - Psalm 126

22nd April 2020

Daily Encouragement #27 - Psalm 125

21st April 2020

Daily Encouragement #26 - Psalm 124

20th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #25 - Psalm 123

17th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #24 - Psalm 122

16th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #23 - Psalm 121

15th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #22 - Psalm 120

14th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #21 - John 19:11-16

10th April 2020 - Good Friday

Daily Encouragement #20 - John 13:1-17

9th April 2020 - Maunday Thursday

Daily Encouragement #19 - John 13:21-32

8th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #18 - John 12:20-36

7th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #17 - John 12:1-11

6th April 2020

Daily Encouragement #16 - 1 Peter 2:22-25

3rd April 2020

Daily Encouragement #15 - 1 Peter 2:13-21

2nd April 2020

Daily Encouragement #14 - 1 Peter 2:9-12

1st April 2020

Daily Encouragement #13 - 1 Peter 2:4-8

31st March 2020

Daily Encouragement #12 - 1 Peter 2:1-3

30th March 2020

Daily Encouragement #11 - Isaiah 40: 27-31

29th March 2020

Daily Encouragement #10 - Isaiah 40: 18-26

28th March 2020

Daily Encouragement #9 - Isaiah 40:12-17

27th March 2020

Daily Encouragement #8 - Isaiah 40:6-11

26th March 2020

Daily Encouragement #7 - Isaiah 40:1-5

25th March 2020

Daily Encouragement #6 - 1 Peter 1:22-25

24th March 2020

Daily Encouragement #5 - 1 Peter 1:17-21

23rd March 2020

Daily Encouragement #4 - 1 Peter 1:13-16

22nd March 2020

Daily Encouragement #3 - - 1 Peter 1:10-12

21st March 2020

Daily Encouragement #2 - 1 Peter 1:6-9

20th March 2020

Daily Encouragement #1 - 1 Peter 1:1-5

19th March 2020