26/01/2020: The Lord is Near

Call to Worship:     Psalm 27

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.

Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

OT READING:   Zephaniah 3:14-20

14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
15 For the Lord will remove his hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the Lord himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster.
16 On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid!
17 For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

18 “I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more.
19 And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and fame to my former exiles, wherever they have been mocked and shamed.
20 On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth, as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

NT READING:   Phil. 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

QUESTIONS:

  1. The Bible is full of commands to “Rejoice”. Yet they are not always “calls” to God’s people to just “be happy”. After all, the Scriptures’ calls to rejoice sometimes seem to come in the context of the least happy times and places. What do you think the word “Rejoice” in the Bible means? _________________________________________________________________________________
  2. Why is the clause “in the Lord” important, and what do you think it means? _________________________________________________________________________________
  3. With this in mind do you think “Rejoice in the Lord always” is something you could implement in your life? _________________________________________________________________________________
  4. “The Lord [Jesus] is Near” is useful to remember for our spiritual health and growth. There are two ways that we can look at what this means, and how that will be helpful for us: _________________________________________________________________________________
  5. We can learn the “Lord is Near” in the following ways. Our Father, in Jesus, promised to always be near us through the work of the _____________________________________
  6. The “Lord is near” through the comfort and _________________________ ; and in the loving prayers and presence of  ______________________________________________
  7. The Apostle Paul also recognised that the “Lord is near” because Jesus will ________________________________ and so we must live with___________________
  8. Why has the reading from Philippians been paired with Zephaniah 3? _________________________________________________________________________________
  9. Paul sees another reality at work within the world, and it is the reality that holds the future. That is the _________________________________________________________________________________
  10. Paul believed that the outcome of developing a life living “In the Lord… for the Lord is near” brings with it a “Peace ________________________________________________

“I invite you to join with me this year, to deliberately live in the ultimate victory of the God of peace, and I encourage you, with me, to learn to live with a quiet mind and a hopeful heart; for we do not live alone we “Live in the Lord”… and in the expectation …. “The Lord is near” … Always!”

God bless,

Rev. Tim

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