Good morning folks, I hope all is well with you – or at the least, as well as you can be at this challenging time.
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Good morning folks, I hope all is well with you – or at the least, as well as you can be at this challenging time.
Prior to last Sunday which was, of course, Remembrance Sunday, we had just finished a series of the “I AM” sayings of Jesus and they were, and still are, ways in which Jesus shows just who He was and what His “Mission Earth” was.
It was not to bring people to church but to bring people to God.
‘This is how God is” Jesus says – “see me, see how I am, how I love and care for people – that’s God’s way – and that how God wants you to be.”
And He didn’t just talk about God almighty power – but He showed them through Miracles, Healings and much more.
Today we look at ‘priorities’, Gods and ours – but before that, let us share a prayer –
Let us Pray ~
we come to worship you, setting aside this short time
to spend in your company, committing ourselves to learning more about you and your ways.
You are our amazing God and offer each of us a new, life-changing beginning, yet so often we prefer to hold on to our old familiar ways.
And so we pray that in your mercy you will forgive us, cleanse us, restore and renew us.
Open our hearts to your renewing touch, open our eyes to your amazing grace, and so help us to see our faults and correct them so we might live more truly as your people, living good and wholesome lives as you intended.
Hear our concerns Lord, and hear our personal prayer of confession for the things that we have said, done and thought – things that we are not proud of – things we pray you will forgive us for – in Jesus’ name……… so be with us Lord – as bring these things to you – in the peace of our silence……………………
Listening Lord – as undeserving as we are – we pray that you will forgive us and bless us with your mercy and your Grace.
Lord we know that you hear us when we pray to you in faith – so hear us now as we say together – the prayer which brings us together as one family – the traditional version of the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer ~
Who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name..
Thy kingdom come..
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…..
Give us this day our daily bread..
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors..
Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .
For thine is the kingdom..
The power and the glory forever….
Our Reading this morning is taken from the Gospel of Mark – the shortest of the 4 Gospels.
Although it is second in order in the New Testament – it was written before Mathew, Luke and John – and if you are looking to read the Bible but don’t know where to start – then I would recommend reading the Book of Mark to you.
In our Reading this morning – we hear Jesus talking about the great Temple in Jerusalem – “ perhaps it is a beautiful building” – He says – “ but you’re forgetting all the people outside – what are you actually doing to help them ? – you’re too tied up with your precious temple – to be concerned about showing the love of God to those who so badly need it !” – and then He prophesied the Temples’ destruction.
Let’s read Gods’ Word together now ~
Mark 13 : 1 – 7 – from the New International Version
The Destruction of the Temple
“As Jesus was leaving the Temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”
This is the Word of the Lord – thanks be to God
Have you read the book or seen the film ~ the Lord of the Rings ?
It’s a gripping trilogy by J R Tolkein – which revolves around an enchanted golden ring which draws people to it and enslaves them in to its mysterious power – and corrupts all who seek to possess it.
There’s a slippery character called gollum – once a friendly hobbit – who is now completely under it’s spell and his whole life revolves around finding the ring and feeling it’s power once again.
For gollum – and others – the ring is more important than friends and relationships – more valuable than life itself.
He calls the ring “my precious” and is at the very centre of his every thought.
It’s pure fantasy of course – but it reminds us of the things that have a hold over us.
For the Jewish people the Temple was central to every aspect of their lives.
It was magnificently built, facing the east – and the roof was covered in gold leaf so that when the morning sun struck it’s first rays on the temple – people had to turn their eyes away – as you would if you were looking at God himself.
There’s no doubt – the temple was a great and wonderful structure – a tribute to man’s ingenuity and faith – for it was built to the glory of God.
But it was more than just a building – their whole lives revolved around it.
It held great spiritual value –– and was the place where God lived – or so they believed .
So, for many reasons –the great temple of Jerusalem was, to the Jewish people, the most important and wonderful building ever constructed.
To be fair, no-one who saw it for themselves could fail to be impressed. And as we heard in our bible reading how it’s beauty had seduced even the disciples – “Look teacher” they said to Jesus “ what a magnificent building !!”
But as Jesus looked at the temple – it’s wonderful craftsmanship – it’s gold leaf shimmering in the sunlight – yes – it’s magnificence could not be denied – but
He could also see what it had become, and its power to mislead their faith.
The People came to worship the building –
Instead of the God to whom it was built.
“Yes, it is magnificent” – Jesus said – “but God doesn’t live in a building – He lives in us and in our relationship with him and with each other”.
He then makes an amazing statement – He prophesies the destruction of the Temple.
“You may not believe this ” He was saying “ but one day –all this will just be a pile of rubble” – and in less than 50 years – His prophecy came true – when the Romans – under the ruler ‘Titus’ – completely destroyed Jerusalem and the “precious” temple.
As it lay in ruins – the Romans even prized apart the massive marble stones to collect the gold leaf that had melted from the roof when the temple was set on fire.
Tragedy – desolation – disaster – the temple had been destroyed – and all it’s ancient treasures had been carried away.
But as bad as all that was – there was another problem.
If God did live in the temple – and it was no longer there – does that mean that God was no longer there either ?? “Where was our God now??” They said. Had God deserted them too ?
This had been Jesus’ point.
God can’t be contained by stones and mortar – He was saying – God lives in the hearts of those who love him – He lives in you and me – when we take Him into our hearts and minds..
You see – it’s tempting to place too much emphasis on the physical things of this world – we all do it at times – but in so doing – we can be distracted from the spiritual things.
That too was Jesus’ point.
Mankind loves grand buildings, impressive and magnificent Temples.
Whereas God loves you.
We are impressed by pomp, ceremony and grandeur.
Whereas God is impressed by the good things that you do for those in need.
It’s a matter of priorities. God’s and ours –
We prioritize the things of this world like new cars, bigger homes, money, rank, position, standing and status.
God prioritizes people – you and I.
“man sees the outward appearance – God sees what’s in our heart” (1st Samuel 16 : 7).
And like that glorious Temple – we will not stand forever – but our souls will – when we prioritize God in to our lives, through his son, Jesus Christ – who in turn urges us to prioritize the sad, the lonely and the hungry and all who are in need of comfort.
At the end of the day, quite literally – you will have to decide what your priorities are – we all will.
What will you build your life upon?
Things of this world – or things of God’s kingdom.
Which is more “precious” to you?
One will only last for a limited number of years – while the other will last in to all eternity.
Long or short term thinking? The choice is yours to make.
I hope and pray that you will choose wisely – for it will greatly free hymnsbless your life here – and hereafter.
And I pray for you in the name of God’s only Son, our only hope, Jesus Christ.
And may God bless this preaching of His holy Word – and may all the glory and the praise – be His.
Let us pray
Loving Lord, we come to thank you for this world, which you created for us. But aware that it is far from perfect – and that it is us, your children, who have made it so. You made the world to live in peace, harmony and unity – but our own agenda’s have corrupted and spoiled it.
We pray for all who are enduring life rather than enjoying it – for those caught up in wars and conflict – for those who barely have enough to exist on while others have more than enough.
We pray for the families who are hurting, perhaps because of a broken relationship or bereavement –
for families who, because of their busy schedules, fail to know the joy of spending quality time together.
We pray too for all whose faith is weak and uncertain – perhaps someone reading (or listening to) this today – someone who wants a good and strong faith – but have questions and doubts. They may doubt themselves – doubt the whole Christian message – but long for the love and warmth which Jesus brings to others.
Give them a mind to spend time in prayer and read Scripture for themselves – and so better come to know you and your ways…… and come to know the wonderful love of Jesus for themselves.
We pray for all who have lost loved ones and ask that you draw close to them in their difficult time. May we know the deep love and comfort which can only come from a true belief in you – through your son Jesus Christ.
Loving Lord, we bring before you, in prayer, our own families. We pray that you will watch over them – whether they be nearby or far from home – watch over them and keep them safe.
Be with us now Listening Lord, as we sit for a few silent moments, each with our own thoughts, each with our own prayer- for those we know and love – be with us Lord, in the peace of our silence……………………
Hear our prayers Lord, for we bring them to you in the name of the one who walks with us, talks with us – the one who is there in our dark times as well as the good – our dear, sweet Saviour, Jesus Christ.
‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’
Can anyone tell me what a pair of trainers – a bottle of wine and a character from ‘the Lord of the Rings’ have in common ? – well – they all have a child named after them.
There’s a report just out which says that parents are calling their children some funny names these days.
Apparently names such as Reebok – ‘Chardonnay’ and Gandalf are becoming commonplace (poor things !). There’s even a wee boy named ‘Superman’ somewhere in Britain – and baby girl called ‘Cherry Blossom’ ! (What a shame !).
They say that a name can say a lot about a person – (perhaps poor wee Cherry Blossom’ will out-shine all her classmates !)…………..
So here’s something you might like to take away and think about ~
How would you like to make name a for yourself that people will talk about ?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got a name for sharing God’s love with everyone you meet !?
So that when your name is spoken – people will say – “oh yes. That was that lovely lady who cared so much for other people –she was a Christian you know!!” – or –
“oh yes, he was a lovely ‘gentle-man’ man wasn’t he? –and always shared his faith with others.”
So here’s a thought for all of us –
Will people say something like that about you ??
Well, don’t worry it’s not too late – they can – and they will – if you take your faith seriously – and follow the way – live God’s way.
It’s never too late !!
Now – that is something to think about –
Don’t you think ??
Whoever you are,
wherever you go,
Whatever your strengths,
whatever your weaknesses,
Be assured that God will be with you, to hold, and to heal, to guide and to bless.
Go, then, in peace – assured of his love.
And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father – Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families and friends and all who you know and love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.
Take care and May God Bless you
And your loved ones.
And Please – keep safe
Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.
And can I remind those of you who aren’t too far away from Kilmacolm, that our Murray Chapel is currently opened for a time of personal Peace and Prayer, each day from Monday to Saturday from 11am – 1pm.
“Be still and know that I am God”
Psalm 46 : 10