May 2018

6th May: Easter 6: John 15  9-17

“Love one another as I have loved you” Jesus said.  This is the greatest of all commandments for followers of Jesus.  God loves us unconditionally – whoever we are and whatever we have done.  We are to love others like that – wanting the very best for them, whoever they are.  Whatever we think them, God loves them as much as he loves us.

Who do I find it hard to love like that? Pray for that person, knowing that God loves him/her.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other.

 

13th May: Easter 7 (Sunday after Ascension)

John 17: ‘Jesus prayed’ – 6-11

On the last evening before his arrest, Jesus prayed for himself, his disciples, and for those who came to follow him in the future.  In these verses we read his prayer for his disciples.  He prayed that they would remember what he had taught them, so that they would be able to spread the Good News of the Gospel.  Then he prayed that they might “be one” – united in prayer, fellowship and their work for God. Try to read the whole of John Chapter 17.  In this beautiful prayer, see what he prays for himself (verses 1-5), his disciples (verses 6-19) and for all who would come afterwards (verses 20-end).

Is there a verse which speaks specially to you?

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.  Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.  For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.  I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.  I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”

 

20th May: Pentecost:  Acts 2 1-4; 14a; 22-24

After his resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days on earth, revealing himself to his disciples and to many others who had followed him.  He then ascended into heaven and was seen for the last time.  Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Ten days later the spirt came to them in a dramatic way!  He gave power, confidence and a variety of gifts to enable the disciples to go out into the world and proclaim the good news of Jesus

We are also to proclaim Jesus to others.  Pray for gifts and strength from God’s Holy Spirit.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:  “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

 

27th May: Trinity Sunday: John 3: 1-17

Nicodemus was a member of the Jewish ruling Council – the Sanhedrin.  He had heard of Jesus’ preaching.  Maybe he had even joined the crowd to listen for himself.  He wanted to know more.  Being ‘born again’ Jesus explained, was not a physical act of rebirth.  It was a complete turning towards God away from all that is sinful.  It is an act of heart, mind and spirit.  Today is Trinity Sunday when we think about the three ways God has revealed himself to us – as Father, Son (in Jesus) and Holy Spirit.  This is a difficult concept, which we shall never fully understand in this life.  We, like Nicodemus though, must want to learn more about God, through bible reading and prayer.

How can I learn more about God?  How can I learn to know God?

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

 




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