Tena koutou, and greetings church family.
Well what a week this has been! As I write this the sun is shining over Tauranga, but the evidence of the horrendous effects cyclone Gabriel caused are devastating. It is hard to believe that this time last week we were in the middle of one of the worst weather events to hit NZ with a national state of emergency declared on 14 February.
As we watch the news our hearts go out to those affected and wonder what we can do. Financial donations to reputable charities are a safe and trustworthy way to help, but what we as Christians can also do, is Pray.
2 Corinthians says 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Tuesday night (Today 21/2) we will be praying for these communities at our corporate prayer meeting, praying that they will receive comfort not only for physical needs but also spiritual needs. I encourage and welcome all our church members to pop down from 7-8pm tonight.
Let’s listen to God together and pray for our church, our local community as well as our nation. If you need a ride ring Enosa 0274 869213.
This week is also the beginning of Lent.
In fact, Tuesday is called shrove or pancake Tuesday and is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. (We will have a light supper after the prayer meeting).
What is Lent?
Lent is a season of repentance, prayer and fasting, the season lasts for 40 days beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter.
The season reflects the 40 days Jesus spent in prayer and fasting (the Temptation of Christ), in the desert before starting his public ministry.
Many Christians honour it by abstaining from certain things (e.g. different foods, media/entertainment like TV or Facebook, or even some comforts), and by praying more and taking part in daily devotional activity.
Many Christians attend special church services, where they receive ash on their foreheads. Ash Wednesday derives its name from this practice, which is accompanied by the words, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or the dictum “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Another way of reflecting about lent, is as a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter.
Perhaps you might like to take up the challenge of fasting from something this Lent. As I shared two Sundays ago on fasting, it draws you closer to God as you submit your will to His.
This Sunday I’ll be preaching from Matthew 4:1 -11 where Jesus is tested in the wilderness for 40 days. It shows his humanness as he is tempted but the good news for us is he overcame it.
If you are struggling through something, remember so did the Lord, it will pass, it is a season, part of your journey of faith and he will be your comfort. May you have a great week, I leave you with this scripture.
Psalm 37:23-24 “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” The Good News: Struggles are part of life, but as long as God is in your life, he will provide comfort and strength”.