The Rectory Bulletin
Philemon

Whose Plans?

Mon 30th Nov 2020

Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you. (Philemon 21–22) - We might pray, but God might not have the answer to our prayers which we wish. Peace is to be found when we accept that God is God, and so trust in his purposes.

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Sundays

Keep Watch!

Sun 29th Nov 2020

Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake. (Mark 13:35–37) - The more we are aware of the reality of God, the more we consciously live in his presence, the more we meet with God. Jesus urges us to “stay awake”. Don’t sleepwalk through life.

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Philemon

How Important is Faith?

Sat 28th Nov 2020

So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. (Philemon 17–20) - How important is faith? It is worth everything. Even “your own self”.

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Hymn Stories

Blest be the Tie that Binds

Fri 27th Nov 2020

Blest be the tie that binds Our hearts in Christian love: The fellowship of kindred minds Is like to that above. - In 1765 John Fawcett (1740-1817) took up the post as minister of a Baptist Church in Wainsgate, which is in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. It was not a wealthy, prosperous or prominent place but Fawcett wasn't much concerned. He had a great love for his people, and they had a great love for him too.

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Philemon

“Sending my Very Heart”

Thu 26th Nov 2020

I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. (Philemon 12-14) - Paul understands that Christianity has a radical message at its heart: as we are united to Christ we are united to one another.

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Philemon

Paul’s Example of Prayer

Wed 25th Nov 2020

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 4–7) - Faith is not static, but is something which grows. Perhaps when you pray for someone, you might also pray for their faith.

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Church History

John Knox and the Book of Common Prayer

Tue 24th Nov 2020

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!” (Psalm 95:6) - On this day in 1572 John Knox, the foremost leader of the Scottish Reformation, died in Edinburgh. Whether it was turning down the role as bishop, or taking on the Privy Council, Knox was a man who stood by his convictions. A man with a spine!

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Philemon

Philemon

Mon 23rd Nov 2020

Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philemon 1–3) - To be a Christian is not something to do on a Sunday morning, but it is to be part of a new reality: the family of God.

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Leaping like a Deer

Sat 21st Nov 2020

GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:19) - Christianity is not just hope after you die, or even simply the moral courage to keep on going. It is knowing the indwelling presence of God in times of real stress and struggle. It is being able to leap like a deer, and experience the high places of closeness with God even in the midst of toil.

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Hymn Stories

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

Fri 20th Nov 2020

the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,to receive glory and honour and power,for you created all things,and by your will they existed and were created.”(Revelation 4:10-11) - All hail the power of Jesu's name; let angels prostrate fall; bring forth the royal diadem to crown him, crown him, crown him, crown him Lord of all.

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The Hesitant Woman

Thu 19th Nov 2020

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. (Luke 8:42) - She wasn’t bold like Jairus, she didn’t fall at Jesus’ feet and implore him to help. She just came up behind him, and reached out to touch “the fringe of his garment”. And was healed.

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A Very Present Help

Wed 18th Nov 2020

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) - Prayer is not connecting with someone “out there”, but someone who was here all along. It is speaking to someone who already knows, and who is at hand. Someone who is “very present” as you chunter out your problems.

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Church History

The Reek of Master Patrick Hamilton

Tue 17th Nov 2020

If you go to St Andrews and make your way to the University chapel you will find in the pavement just outside some letters made out in brick. They read “PH” and mark the spot on which a young man was burnt for his faith.

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Water on a Thirsty Land

Mon 16th Nov 2020

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. (Isaiah 44:3-4) - Oh those times when you feel spiritually dry! You have no enthusiasm, and you cannot bring yourself to pray. If you find yourself athirst for the living God, then the answer does not lie in looking inward. It lies in looking up.

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The One Who Made Us

Sat 14th Nov 2020

Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3) - You owe your very existence to God. Surely that stirs within you both gratitude and duty!

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Hymn Stories

Peace, Perfect Peace

Fri 13th Nov 2020

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) - Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin? The blood of Jesus whispers peace within. Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed? To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

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Love the Lord Your God

Thu 12th Nov 2020

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5) - In Christianity there are no more sacrifices to offer, as Jesus has made the only sacrifice necessary on the cross. All that is left to do is love God, and allow that love of God to flow through into love of neighbour.

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Exalted by being Humble

Wed 11th Nov 2020

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 18:14) - To be clothed in humility before God is to allow yourself to be exalted by him. To exalt yourself is simply a path to disappointment.

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Church History

Martin of Tours

Tue 10th Nov 2020

Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. (Luke 6:30) - Martin of Tours is an important figure in the history of the church, rising to become Bishop of Tours where he founded a monastery and set up a basic parish system for the area. His most famous act does not come from this time, though, but rather from when he was a teenaged soldier.

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Gaining Your Desires

Mon 09th Nov 2020

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) - The more you find delight in God, the more you desire to follow him and the more he gives you those desires. You come to desire the same thing as God.

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Sundays

The Wise and Foolish Virgins

Sun 08th Nov 2020

But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ (Matthew 25:6-10) - Don’t put off getting the oil to another day, or thinking that someone else’s oil will do for you too. You cannot cash in a future promise of faith, or rely on someone else’s faith. When the bridegroom comes, the question is a simple one. Where is your oil?

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Call on the Name of the Lord

Sat 07th Nov 2020

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. (Joel 2:32) - Christianity really is that simple, but how often we find it the hardest thing in the world! How often do you hunt for salvation in family, friends, money, health or causes? Sometimes the easiest thing can be the hardest: simple trust.

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Hymn Stories

The Dangers of Promiscuous Singing

Fri 06th Nov 2020

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16) - Do we sing hymns without paying much attention to the words? Do we accept the words, but not ask ourselves if they a right? Oh! Dear reader! Beware “promiscuous singing”!

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Emotions and God

Thu 05th Nov 2020

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out (John 6:37).- There are times, many times, when we feel spiritually low but we mustn’t ever believe that is a result of God changing his relationship to us. Rather, like the sun on a cloudy day, we just can’t feel his warmth at the moment. Keep praying, keep following and the cloud will dissipate

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Can you Flee God’s Presence?

Wed 04th Nov 2020

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! (Psalm 139:7–8) - As we face the prospect of church services once again being stopped, we should take comfort from Psalm 139. It is not possible to be absent from God. Or, to put it another way, it is not possible for God to be absent from you!

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Church History

Charles Simeon

Tue 03rd Nov 2020

Aged only twenty-three, a young Charles Simeon (1759-1836) found himself an unpopular figure. Worse, his unpopularity sprang from his own church. Services were disrupted, and abuse was thrown at young Simeon as he walked through the streets.

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Anxiety

Mon 02nd Nov 2020

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. (Proverbs 12:25) - Perhaps the “good word” you can cling to at this time is that God “cares for you”. As we consciously place ourselves under the “mighty hand of God” we can be confident that he will see us through. The life of the Christian is often not easy, and Jesus never promised it would be. What he did promise, though, was that it is not lonely. “I am with you always”, he said.

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Sundays

The Poor in Spirit

Sun 01st Nov 2020

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:3-5) - If you are poor, and lack food, your hunger keeps reinforcing the fact that you need help. If you are poor in spirit, then you recognise your need of God. You are not reliant upon your own spiritual prowess, or goodness. You know you are dependant on another. And then the kingdom of heaven is yours. You can only enter empty-handed.

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