Weekly Service and Bible Reading

DEVOTIONAL 18 TH April 2021
Jean Merton

When God gives new beginnings it starts with an ending. Be
thankful for closed doors, they often guide us to the right one.
God will make away
Where there seems to be no way;
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me.
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side,
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way.
By a roadway in the wilderness
He’ll lead me;
Rivers in the desert
Will I see.
Heaven and earth will fade
But His word will still remain
And He will do something new today.
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me.
He will be my guide
Hold me closely by His side,
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way.
Deut. 31:6-8
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or
terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes
with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you”.
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the
presence of all Israel, ”Be strong and courageous, for
you must go with this people into the Land that the
Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you
must divide it among them as their inheritance. The
Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He
will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be
afraid; do not be discouraged.”
After 40 years in the wilderness, the Israelites
are about to enter the Promised Land. Although
with God’s guidance Moses had led them for
those 40 years, he now tells them he will not be
going with them. You can imagine how shocked
and surprised the people would be. Yes they
would be pleased they had finally arrived, but
things were going to be so different, they are
uncertain of what the future holds; and they
know that they have many battles to face.

Joshua, although chosen by God to be the new
leader, would also be afraid wondering if he was
equipped for the job in hand.
100s of years later, the Disciples witnessed Jesus’
arrest , even if some of them hadn’t stood at the foot
of the cross and watched their Master die, they all
knew about it. They knew He was dead and buried. On
the third Day they knew Jesus had risen, and they
rejoiced when they saw Him, but even though they
knew Jesus was alive, like the people of Israel in our
Bible Reading, they would be uncertain of what the
future held for them. I imagine some of them were still
For the past year we have lived through a pandemic,
even though our church doors have been closed, we
praise and thank God for being with us, we, His church
have survived, and now we are going through the
process of gradually bringing lockdowns and sanctions
on socializing to an end, and while like the Israelites
and the Disciples we rejoice, also like them we too may
wonder what the future holds for our individual
churches, our Circuit and the Connexion.
Things will never be the same, and they shouldn’t be.
Like Joshua we may worry that we are not equipped for
the job in hand.
God has a plan for our churches, and using the words
spoken to Esther, ‘And who knows but that you have
come to your royal position for such a time as this.’ Just
as surely as God chose Joshua, we have been chosen to
do His work in our churches and the community in
which we live. God knows all about us, our strengths
and our weaknesses, therefore there is no excuse we
can give Him, He chose us knowing He can do a work
through us, as it said in today’s chosen hymn. ‘He
works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for
me’. I am sure I am not the only one who hates seeing a
diversion sign, because I know it’s going to lead me on
to unfamiliar roads, and of course I prefer the roads I
am used to. God wants to lead us onto what might be
unfamiliar ground but we need to remember the words
of Moses are still as true today as they were when they
were first spoken, “Be strong and courageous, The Lord
Himself goes before you, He will never leave you nor
forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged”.
Joshua and the Israelites were victorious in battle, the
disciples successfully spread the Gospel, message
because they followed God’s lead, I pray we will do
Lord we praise and worship You this day, thankful for
all the good things You give us on a daily basis. We
thank you for the way you have upheld us during the
past year, which at times hasn’t been easy,. Now as we
face the future, may we do so with confidence, for You
have promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Yes we
may be asked to travel unfamiliar roads, but You know
the way, and if we faithfully follow You we won’t get
lost. Bless all who need our prayers today, the sick, sad,
and lonely, help us to be aware of the needs of others,
not just our family and friends, but those who live in
our local area, if we do see a need guide and direct us

in how we can help. Whatever we do within our home,
church and community, may we bring honour and glory
to You. We ask all things in the precious Name of Jesus
The Lord’s Prayer.

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches
Devotional for Easter Sunday 11 th April 2021
Prepared by Shaun Newton

As many prepare for further unlocking tomorrow, we gather on the
Sunday after Easter Day, Low Sunday, and consider once more the
actions and statements of Thomas, who so often reminds us of
John 20:24-29
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24  Now Thomas (also known as Didymus [a] ), one of the Twelve, was
not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25  So the other disciples told
him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and
put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I
will not believe.”
26  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas
was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and
stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27  Then he said to
Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand
and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29  Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have
believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have
Hymn: I serve a Risen Saviour
I Serve A Risen Saviour He’s In The World Today.
I Know That He Is Living, whatever Men May Say.
I See His Hand Of Mercy; I Hear His Voice Of Cheer;
And Just The Time I Need Him He’s Always Near.
He Lives, He Lives, Christ Jesus Lives Today!
He Walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He Lives, He Lives, Salvation To Impart!
You Ask Me How I Know He Lives?
He Lives Within My Heart.
In All The World Around Me I See His Loving Care,
And Though My Heart Grows Weary, I Never Will Despair;
I Know That He Is Leading, through All The Stormy Blast;
The Day Of His Appearing will Come At Last.
Rejoice, Rejoice, Oh Christian, lift Up Your Voice And Sing
Eternal Hallelujahs to Jesus Christ The King!
The Hope Of All Who Seek Him, the Help Of All Who Find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind
Much speculation has been made as to the whereabouts of Thomas
that first Easter Day!
Where he was and who he was with is not ours to know but at some
point in the week that followed Easter Day, Thomas had heard the
news, “We have seen the Lord” (v 25).
Again, the immediate response of Thomas is not known other than a
week later Thomas is found to be in the safety and company of the
other disciples.
What an encouragement to note that in the midst of turmoil and
sorrow that Thomas is once again in fellowship with the others.

That following Sunday saw Jesus appear once more to the disciples
and acting so graciously John records that Jesus made a bee-line for
Not to provoke humiliation or to give a telling off, but the offer of
grace. Yes, Thomas may have declared his initial unbelief, words
which I am sure Thomas later came to regret but Ryle suggests that
Jesus timed his visit at a time when none of the apostles were
missing. Ryle goes on to say “How kind and merciful Christ is to dull
and slow believers!”
And what an encouragement that is to us. That despite the unbelief
of Thomas Jesus is ever faithful. We know the story so well. Jesus
commands Thomas to touch the wounds, but Thomas rejects the
invitation and instead declares Jesus to be “My Lord and my God”
What a turn around. Not needing to physically touch the wounds,
seeing was enough for Thomas. A privilege that is not afforded to us.
But Jesus included you and me when He visited the disciples that
night, for Jesus went on to say, “Blessed are those who have not
seen and yet have believed.”
We are blessed, those of us who believe and may that encourage us
as we seek to serve the Risen Lord Jesus in this day and age. As we
head (slowly) out of lockdown and prepare ourselves to declare the
reality of the Risen Lord Jesus wherever we are called into the
service of God.
O God our Heavenly Father, we thank you for people like Thomas
who in so many ways was just like us.
Thank you that Scripture contains so many examples to encourage
us in our walk and service with You.
Help us appreciate just how blessed we are having not seen yet have
Help us share the Good News of the Risen Lord Jesus far and wide
to this needy world in which we live.
Help us play our part in the life of our nation, prepared to answer
questions and to give reasons when asked.
We pray for those who mourn, including Her Majesty the Queen and
her family. Like many they experience the grief and the sorrow that
comes from losing a loved One. Comfort them we pray, speak into
their situation through your people we pray offering the hope and
comfort that You alone can bring.
Continue to be with our decision makers and leaders as we tread this
slow road out of lockdown and restrictions.
Help us find our feet as a nation as businesses and services resume
their activities and enable the right help and support to be available
to those for whom continuing their business is no longer an option or
And as we worship you this day, Low Sunday, may be know and
experience the encouragement of gathering together either in-
person, online or even remotely to declare the truth that “He Walks
with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.”
May the honour and the glory be Yours and Yours alone.
The Lord’s Prayer

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches
Devotional for Easter Sunday 4 th April 2021
Prepared by Len Ogilvie

Well, here we are at Easter Sunday again. Is it just going to be
another ritual while life continues much the same even in the
strange and anxious times we are living through?
John 3.13-21; 2 Corinthians 5 15-17
No one has gone up into heaven except the one who came down
from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven. Just as Moses
lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must
be lifted up in order that everyone who has faith may in him
have eternal life. God so loved the world that he gave his only
Son, that everyone who has faith in him may not perish but have
eternal life. It was not to judge the world that God sent his Son
into the world, but that through him the world might be saved.
No one who puts his faith in him comes under judgement; but
the unbeliever has already been judged because he has not put
his trust in God’s only Son. This is the judgement : the light has
come into the world but people preferred darkness ot light
because their deeds were evil. Wrongdoers hate the light and
avoid it for fear their misdeeds should be exposed. Those who
live by the truth come to the light so that it may be clearly seen
that God is in all they do.
He died for all so that those who live should cease to live for
themselves and and instead live for him who for their sake died
and was raised to life. With us therefore, worldly standards have
ceased to count in our estimate of anyone; even if once they
counted in our understanding of the Messiah, they do so now
no longer. For anyone united with the Messiah there is a new
creation: the old order has gone; a new order has already
So much of our lives is lived on auto-pilot. We get the Christmas
stuff put away, lurch through the winter months, then it’s Lent and
then we reach Easter Sunday and we go through the ritual of the
stock phrases, sing Thine be the Glory at the top of our voices
and then by Easter Monday things are bit flat and by the following
Sunday it’s beginning sink in that nothing much has changed with
the world despite all the hype of the previous week.
That’s how it used to be! Events of this last year have brought
a tremendous challenge to our auto-pilot mentality. And that, very
possibly, is a good thing too. We have lived through some difficult
times and we don’t need gloomy newscasts to tell us that it will
be some time before anything like the regular patterns of life can
resume. And, even when they do, for many, including some of
those in our own fellowships, life will be very different for a whole
variety of reasons. All sorts of things will have happened to
disrupt those things which we have become used to, which will
have produced those radical life-changing experiences which are
going to affect the course of our lives forever, no matter what the
prevailing “normality” might become. “Life will never be the same
again!” So often, that is said with a negative despondency but the
essence of the Christian Easter message is that this self-same
exclamation should resound with a note of relief and exuberant
hope and joy. The fact that Easter services seem to have taken
on some of the character of a good intentioned memorial service
highlights how far our outlook has deviated from that of the early
followers of Jesus. To quote Andrew Ollerton* “As Paul put it:
‘You were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Live
as children of light’ (Ephesians 5.8) …This is how the gospel
works: .. you are a child of God now, so act like it!”

You will recall that whenever his followers encountered the
risen Jesus they were without exception given something to do.
They might have expected that having conquered death Jesus
would personally set in motion those things that would bring the
Kingdom of God to its fulfilment. But no: he says “My job is done.
It’s now down to you”. The world will never be the same again
and Jesus asks us to demonstrate what it’s going to look like, as
John says, “so that it may be clearly seen that God is in all they
do.” Well, we have still a fair bit to learn to be able to do that, but
make no mistake those early followers “stepped into the sandals”
of Jesus their Messiah and again to quote, “expanded his ministry
on a global scale”. Were they super-human? No. Did they have
worldly status? No. Were they perfect? No! They were just
ordinary people like you and me. But they knew three things:
They knew that the cross had brought them into a new
relationship with God, they knew that Jesus had been given full
authority over everything – he was boss, they knew that Jesus
would be with them until the end of time. Does anyone need
anything else?

  • Andrew Ollerton “The Bible – A Story That Makes Sense of Life” Bible Society
    p.263; 230.
    See what a morning, gloriously bright
    with the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
    folded the grave-clothes, tomb filled with light
    as the angels announce Christ is risen.
    See God’s salvation plan, wrought in love,
    borne in pain paid in sacrifice,
    fulfilled in Christ the Man for He lives,
    Christ is risen from the dead!
    See Mary weeping. “Where is He laid?”
    as in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb;
    hears a voice speaking, calling her name;
    it’s the Master, the Lord raised to life again!
    The voice that spans the years, speaking life,
    stirring hopebringing peace to us,
    will sound till He appears for He lives
    Christ is risen from the dead!
    One with the Father, Ancient of Days
    through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty;
    honour and blessing, glory and praise
    to the King crowned with power and authority!
    And we are raised with HIm, death is dead,
    love has won, Christ has conquered;
    and we shall reign with Him for He lives
    Christ is risen from the dead! Stuart Townend and Keith Getty
    Prayer: Lord, on this Easter Day, unlike those early followers we
    don’t have to wait for the gifts. You have full authority and the
    Spirit has been given. So, Lord, forgive us for our timidity in
    witnessing to Your kingdom. May the Easter message ring true in
    the way we live our lives, the way we treat others, the way we
    honour your creation and the way we communicate the Good
    News and demonstrate the character of Your coming kingdom.
    To the glory and honour of that Kingdom we pray in the name of
    Jesus. Amen.
    The Lord’s Prayer

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches
Devotional for Good Friday 2 nd April 2021

At the cross there were soldiers carrying out their work, they,
like the thieves, had no choice about being there but for them it
was probably a regular experience.
Hymn: O sacred head, once wounded
O sacred head, once wounded
With grief and pain weighed down
How scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown!
How pale art Thou with anguish
With sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
Which once was bright as morn!
O Lord of life and glory
What bliss till now was Thine!
I read the wondrous story
I joy to call Thee mine
Thy grief and Thy compassion
Were all for sinners’ gain
Mine, mine was the transgression
But Thine the deadly pain
What language shall I borrow
To praise Thee, heavenly Friend
For this, Thy dying sorrow
Thy pity without end?
Lord, make me Thine for ever
Nor let me faithless prove
O let me never, never
Abuse such dying love!
Be near me, Lord, when dying
O show Thyself to me
And for my succour flying
Come, Lord, to set me free
These eyes, new faith receiving
From Jesus shall not move
For he who dies believing
Dies safely through Thy love
Bible Reading: John chapter 19 verses 16 – 24
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the
soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went
out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called
Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others –
one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It
read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. Many of the
Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified
was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin
and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate,
‘Do not write “The King of the Jews”, but that this man claimed
to be king of the Jews.’
Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written.’

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes,
dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the
undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven
in one piece from top to bottom.
‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot
who will get it.’
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
‘They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my
So this is what the soldiers did.
For the soldiers the first Good Friday probably started like any
other day. They would have attended many crucifixions, living
in a society where death was more visible than our own, they
would be no strangers to the death of others. Their apparent
indifference to the suffering and horrific death of those being
crucified that day may seem heartless to us. Indeed to gamble
for the clothes of a dying man as he hung upon a cross seems
particularly callous. Yet, the soldiers would have become
familiar with suffering and death, over time they might have
become immune to the cruelty that they were witnessing.
For us too there is the danger that we may have become
familiar with the events of Good Friday. We may have become
indifferent to the horrors of the crucifixion, the suffering of the
Saviour. The story is familiar, we know too that Good Friday is
followed by Easter Day and perhaps in our minds skip to the
resurrection but we do well to spend time at the foot of the
cross meditating on the suffering of Jesus to appreciate what
He has done for us in the wonder of our salvation.
The price for our redemption was high for God the Father
watching the suffering of His only begotton son. For Jesus to
be beaten, mocked, spat upon and nailed to the cross involved
unimaginable agony but, although He could have called for
legions of angels to rescue Him from it, He willingly endured it
all, and death, for our sakes. This knowledge should be a
guard against sin every day of the year. This Good Friday let
us worship at the foot of the cross, meditating on Jesus’
sufferings and death and what it means for how we live every
Heavenly Father, we come before you with sorrow as we gaze
upon the dying Lord Jesus. We recognize that it was for our
sins that the spotless Lamb of God suffered and died. Forgive
us that we treat His sacrifice so lightly and sin so easily. May
we be more conscious of the price of our salvation and live in
the shadow of the cross.
We rejoice in the roll out of the vaccine programme and the
decreasing infection and death rates. We thank you for those
who are working to keep us safe and to maintain the essential
services in our land.
The Lord’s Prayer

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches
Devotional for Sunday 28th March 1021 (Palm Sunday)

Prepared by Shaun Newton

Today is Palm Sunday and the 2nd we have spent in
restrictions and lockdowns. Palm Sunday reminds us just
how quickly life’s events can change. As we prepare to
journey on the roadmap out of lockdown let us pray that
our faith will not deviate or change from the anchor of our
Hymn: Make Way
Make way, make way for Christ the King in splendour
Fling wide the gates and welcome Him into your lives
Make way! Make way! For the King of kings
Make way! Make way! And let His kingdom in
He comes the broken hearts to heal, the prisoners to free
The deaf shall hear, the lame shall dance, the blind shall
And those who mourn with heavy hearts, who weep and
With laughter, joy and royal crown, He’ll beautify
We call you now to worship Him as Lord of all
To have no gods before Him their thrones must fall!
Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1986 Thankyou Music
Bible Reading: Mark 11:1-10
11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to
Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus
sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the
village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find
a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it
and bring it here.
If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you
doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back
here shortly.’”
4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at
a doorway. As they untied it,

5 some people standing
there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?”
6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the
people let them go.

7When they brought the colt to Jesus

and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.

8Many people
spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread
branches they had cut in the fields.

9 Those who went

ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

As we enter Holy Week from today, and consider the year
we have faced, we all know how uncertain the things in
life are and how quickly things can change.
This week that lies before us speaks of the fact that the
grave does not get the last word or hold us.
The Christian hope provides an opportunity to focus on
things maybe beyond or outside of our control, but Mark
uses a phrase that has so much significance, “The Lord
needs it” (v3).
As we look ahead, filled with that hope of not just of
Easter Day but the lifting of restrictions, we must also
consider the part we have to play.
Or in the words of Mark as “The Lord needs it”, what is it
that the Lord needs from you and from me?
His plan for this broken and fractured world remains the
same. In that others too may know that Love, joy and
hope that we know.
The Lord will have different needs from each and every
one of us. For some it will be our talents, abilities and
giftings that He could use, for others our time, for some
our generosity with our finances, for others still, it could
be to be placed in those areas of influence where the
things of God are rarely seen or mentioned!
Does He need your knowledge, your wisdom or your
work experience?
Whatever God needs, as He speaks to you and to me, do
not hold it back, but release it freely, just like the village
folk released the colt.
If ‘The Lord needs it’, and you offer it, the Lord will use
you and me to do amazing things for His name and His
glory. Are we prepared to be used by Him this Palm
Sunday and Holy Week?
O God our Heavenly Father, thank you that you can take
people like me and still use us in the service of Your
Speak to me and let me know what it is that you need of
me, and help be freely give what it is you require.
Continue to work in this world, help the vaccine rollout be
a sift and steady process.
Help us live at peace with each other at this time.
And as we prepare to move out of lockdown we pray for
those who live in a permanent lockdown because of for
their faith in You. Help us play our part in seeking to have
them enjoy the same freedoms that we will soon have
once more. Amen.

Devotional for Sunday 21 st March 2021
Prepared by Shaun Newton

Today is Census day. We read numerous times in the
Bible of a census or a roll being taken. As we consider
Census 2021 let us consider as we head out of lockdown
where our name may also be recorded.
Hymn: Loved with everlasting love
Loved with everlasting love, led by grace that love to
Spirit, breathing from above, Thou hast taught me it is so.
Oh, this full and perfect peace! Oh, this transport all
In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.
Heaven above is softer blue, earth around is sweeter
Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow, flow’rs with deeper
beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know, I am His, and He is mine.
His forever, only His: who the Lord and me shall part?
Ah, with what a rest of bliss Christ can fill the loving heart.
Heaven and earth may fade and flee, firstborn light in
gloom decline;
But, while God and I shall be, I am His, and He is mine.
Bible Reading: Nehemiah 7:1-7
New International Version
After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in
place, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the Levites
were appointed. 2  I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother
Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the
citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared
God more than most people do. 3  I said to them, “The
gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is
hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them
shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of
Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near
their own houses.”
The List of the Exiles Who Returned
4  Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few
people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt. 5  So
my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the
officials and the common people for registration by
families. I found the genealogical record of those who had
been the first to return. This is what I found written there:
6  These are the people of the province who came up from
the captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar king of

Babylon had taken captive (they returned to Jerusalem
and Judah, each to his own town, 7  in company with
Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah,
Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum
and Baanah):
The list of the men of Israel:
As the Children of Israel prepared to return home from
exile it was necessary to ensure that only true Israelites
lived within Jerusalem. There follows a list of names of all
the families of those who came back from Persia to
Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra, some thirty
years before the time of Nehemiah. These were among
the ones who helped him build the wall. He is not only
giving credit to them but is also recognizing that they will
be responsible to carry on what he has begun. So, having
appointed leaders who would succeed him–men of
integrity, courage, and faithfulness–he now sees to it that
their followers are also true Israelites.
In a similar way as we plan to resume whatever work we
engage in as individuals and churches we need to know
that we really belong to God.
We will never be a successful in our service until we are
assured that we know Him and belong to Him. The hymn
quoted above concludes with the same phrase, “I am His
and he is mine.” This hymn was and is a firm favourite of
many but it has to be more than a favourite. It has to be
As we complete Census 2021, can we say, “I am His and
He is mine”? And if we can what is it the He requires of
us as we head on this roadmap through locjdown?

O God our Heavenly Father, thank you for the progress
being made as we travel on this roadmap out of
lockdown. Prepare us for what You have instore for us in
the coming days.
Work in us and through us for Your honour and glory.
Be with those who need our prayers, the lonely and
isolated; the decision makers and key workers as well as
those struggling with life as it is or as it will be. Comfort us
we pray as we rejoice in knowing that, “I am His, and He
is mine!”
The Lord’s Prayer

Devotional for Sunday 28 th February 2021

As I thought and prayed about lent I began to think of the
times that 40 days are mentioned in the Bible. I began to
think about Noah and the 40 days and 40 nights of rain
and began to look again at the story of Noah in Genesis.
Hymn: Father, hear the prayer we offer
1 Father, hear the prayer we offer:
not for ease that prayer shall be,
but for strength that we may ever
live our lives courageously.
2 Not for ever in green pastures
do we ask our way to be;
but the steep and rugged pathway
may we tread rejoicingly.
3 Not for ever by still waters
would we idly rest and stay;
but would smite the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.
4 Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wanderings be our guide;
through endeavour, failure, danger,
Father, be thou at our side.
Bible Reading: Genesis chapter 8 verses 15 – 22
Then God said to Noah, ‘Come out of the ark, you and
your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every
kind of living creature that is with you – the birds, the
animals, and all the creatures that move along the
ground – so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful
and increase in number on it.’
So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife
and his sons’ wives. All the animals and all the creatures
that move along the ground and all the birds – everything
that moves on land – came out of the ark, one kind after
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of
all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt
offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and
said in his heart: ‘Never again will I curse the ground
because of humans, even though every inclination of the
human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I
destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
‘As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will
never cease.’

The words of our Bible reading are familiar and often
quoted at harvest, but I wonder if we give much thought
to the time between the start of the flood and this
tremendous promise. We all know about the 40 days of
rain Those who are involved in Bible Comes Alive know
that the flood lasted for 150 days yet we also find that
there was another 40 days before Noah opened the
window of the ark to send out a raven. There were still
more days in the story but during that time God is not
recorded as speaking.
Noah had to show great faith and perseverance in difficult
circumstances. It can be hard to persevere when we don’t
know when and how it will end but we can see from
Noah’s experience that:
God had given explanations when He wanted Noah to
understand why He was acting as He did for example
when God told Noah why He was sending the flood.
God had given instructions when He needed faith and
obedience, such as His call for Noah to build the ark and
fill it will the animals.
God had given details when Noah needed to know them
for example when God gave Noah the dimensions for the
Even when God was silent He remembered Noah as we
can see during the period when Noah was in the ark.
When God makes a promise he keeps it, as we know
from the promise to continue the rhythm of the seasons
and never again to destroy the earth.
By faith Noah trusted, obeyed and persevered and in due
time he was rewarded, may we follow his example.
Heavenly Father, we worship and adore your holy name.
We give thanks for your goodness to us, that you lead
and guide us throughout our lives. May we hear when
You speak to us, living obediently and may we persevere
with faith when we cannot hear Your voice.
We rejoice in the roll out of the vaccine programme and
the hope that it gives us of returning to a more normal
way of life. May we hear clearly what You would have us
do that we may extend Your Kingdom and glorify Your
holy name.
The Lord’s Prayer

Devotional for Sunday 21 st February 2021
Prepared by Shaun Newton

Today marks the first Sunday of Len and as we head towards
these last few weeks before Easter with our hopes held high of
being able to meet together in person, it is good for us to
remember what Jesus himself endured as He prepared
Himself for what lay ahead.
Hymn: What a friend we have in Jesus
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy-laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge— take it to the Lord in prayer;
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace
Bible Reading: Luke 4:
Luke 4 – New International Version
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the
Spirit into the wilderness, 2  where for forty days he was
tempted [ a ] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and
at the end of them he was hungry.
3  The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this
stone to become bread.”
4  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread
alone.’ [ b ] ”
5  The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an
instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6  And he said to him, “I
will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given
to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7  If you worship me,
it will all be yours.”
8  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God
and serve him only.’ [ c ] ”
9  The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the
highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he
said, “throw yourself down from here. 10  For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;
11  they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike
your foot against a stone.’ ”
12  Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to
the test.’ ”

13  When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until
an opportune time.
Luke records Jesus being tempted three times in different
ways by Satan during those 40 days spent in the wilderness.
What is striking is that the three kinds of temptation are still
present today.
The first temptation is to do it yourself, when Satan
tempted Jesus to turn the stones to bread.
The second is to take the easy option when Satan
tempted Jesus to worship him.
The third temptation was to demand evidence rather
than faith.
We may not be tempted to turn stones into bread, but
nonetheless we may well be tempted to do many a thing in our
own strength rather than look to God for guidance and
Had Jesus succumbed to the second temptation then there
would have been no cross. Jesus did not give in to the easy
option and obediently followed the path as determined for Him.
Many people today say, “I won’t believe until I see; show it to
me on my terms” and I am sure we all have had this said to us.
This is not a life of faith that we are told to embrace.
What links all three temptations is that each one was an
attempt to destroy the relationship between Jesus and God the
By following the example of Jesus and taking note of that
hymn of old, “Have we trials and temptations? . . .take it to the
Lord in prayer.” We too can overcome the temptations that we
face and maintain that close relationship with God.
As we go through Lent and yearn for the day when we can
gather once more, together and heartily sing the praises of our
God, let us resist the temptations that come our way.
O God our Heavenly Father, thank you for the progress being
made with the vaccination programme. Continue to speak to
us and teach us during this period.
“When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt
within upward I look, and see Him there Who made an end to
all my sin.”
Thank you for the gift of salvation, help us live out the
exhortation from james, “Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn Mission Praise 151
For I’m building a people of power 
And I’m making a people of praise 
That will move through this land by My
And will glorify My precious name 
Build Your church, Lord. Make us strong,
Join our hearts, Lord, through Your Son 
Make us one, Lord In Your Body 
In the kingdom of Your Son 
Build Your church, Lord. Make us strong,
Join our hearts, Lord, through Your Son 
Make us one, Lord In Your Body 
In the kingdom of Your Son 
Bible Reading. Jeremiah 33 vs 1 – 11
Promise of Restoration
1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the
courtyard of the guard, the word of the
LORD came to him a second time:
2 “This is what the LORD says, he who made
the earth, the LORD who formed it and
established it—the LORD is his name:
3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell
you great and unsearchable things you do
not know.’
4 For this is what the LORD, the God of
Israel, says about the houses in this city and
the royal palaces of Judah that have been
torn down to be used against the siege
ramps and the sword
5 in the fight with the Babylonians : ‘They
will be filled with the dead bodies of the
people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I
will hide my face from this city because of
all its wickedness.
6 “ ‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and
healing to it; I will heal my people and will
let them enjoy abundant peace and security.
7 I will bring Judah and Israel back from
captivity and will rebuild them as they were

8 I will cleanse them from all the sin they
have committed against me and will forgive
all their sins of rebellion against me.
9 Then this city will bring me renown, joy,
praise and honour before all nations on
earth that hear of all the good things I do
for it; and they will be in awe and will
tremble at the abundant prosperity and
peace I provide for it.’
10 “This is what the LORD says: ‘You say
about this place, “It is a desolate waste,
without people or animals.” Yet in the towns
of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that
are deserted, inhabited by neither people
nor animals, there will be heard once more
11 the sounds of joy and gladness, the
voices of bride and bridegroom, and the
voices of those who bring thank offerings to
the house of the LORD, saying, “Give thanks
to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is
good; his love endures forever.” For I will
restore the fortunes of the land as they
were before,’ says the LORD.
The Prophets such as Jeremiah, Nehemiah
and Ezra speak of the restoration of Judah
and Jerusalem.
The City of Jerusalem and the other towns
and cities of Judah, and Israel, had been
destroyed and the people taken captive
All seemed lost. It was bad enough that the
towns and city walls had been destroyed but
it by far much worse that the walls of
Jerusalem and the Temple had been
The Prophets felt ashamed that God’s Holy
Places were in ruins and they were
In verses 6 to 11 of our lesson we have a
message of hope for the people
Are we depressed about the state of our
When we read the account of the rebuilding
of the walls of the Holy City, we see how
everyone worked together regardless of
their normal occupations. We have people
who would normally make perfume working as
laborers. Priests and Levites working as
builders. Men and women working together

Jean Merton

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed
for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you. I
will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Is. 41:10.
In heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?
Wherever He may guide me,
No want shall turn be back;
My shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim,
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.
Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;
Bright skies will soon be o’er me,
where the dark clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure,
My path to life is free,
My Saviour has my treasure,
And He will walk with me.
Bible Reading.
Romans 8:38-39.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us
from His love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels
can’t and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our
worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell
can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above
the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation
will ever be able to separate us from the love of God
that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord Amen.
Most of us of a certain age, can I am sure, remember
having to learn poetry at school, we had to memorize
each verse, and how we dreaded that we would be the
one chosen the next day, to recite it in front of the
class. Therefore I imagine most are familiar with
William Wordsworth’s poem, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a
Cloud’. A few days ago I suddenly found myself

thinking about this poem, and as I quoted the first 2
lines; ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud, that floats on high
o’er vale and hills.’ I could imagine this man’s
loneliness as he, head bent low, wandered the hills and
valleys of the Lake District.
It reminded me of the loneliness many people are
feeling right now, it could be a new experience for
some, brought on by the fact, at the moment we no
longer have the freedom to have friends and relatives
in our homes, nor visit them or even meet up with
them. Even in a house full of people, some can still feel
lonely; they may feel no-one cares, no-one
understands. Isaiah and the writer of Romans reminds
us that it doesn’t matter who we are, what we have
done or where we are in life, we are never alone and
nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Then I recalled the remainder of the first verse of
Wordsworth’s poem, ‘When all at once I saw a crowd,
a host of golden daffodils. Beside the lake, beneath the
trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.’ And I could
feel this man’s spirit lifting, his loneliness forgotten in
the beauty of the daffodils.
God in His great love for us sends us ‘daffodils’ to lift
our spirit, to take away our feelings of loneliness and
despair. These daffodils come in many forms. A phone
call from a friend, a letter or card, an e-mail or text, the
arrival of a small gift placed on our doorstep. Simple
things, and yet, they can mean so much.
But God doesn’t just want us to receive ‘daffodils’; He
wants us to become His ‘daffodils’ to others. So today,
thank God for the ‘daffodils’ you have received and
also ask God in what way you can be used as one of His
‘daffodils’ to help someone in need.
I conclude with this short story which was posted on
the internet, may it be an inspiration to us.
“A teenage boy in our church has been struggling with
a brain tumour. He cannot have visitors, obviously. The
members of our church and his friends in the
community decided to show him love and support last
night by doing a ‘drive-by’. Hundreds of cars drove
slowly past his house in the dark tooting their horns.
How encouraging that we can still find creative ways to
reach out to each other.”
With God’s help let us get creative.
Lord, in these difficult days, help us to remember

You are always close at hand, and therefore we are
never completely alone. We thank you for all those
who enrich our lives by their deeds of kindness, and
guide us in how we can enrich the lives of others. Lord
we don’t know what the future holds, but we are
thankful that You do, therefore in You we put our trust
The Lord’s Prayer.
I have been reminded not everyone is familiar with the
poem, so for their benefit I enclose a copy.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud [Daffodils]
by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of the day:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed- and gazed- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches
Devotional for Sunday 31 st January 2021
Prepared by Len Ogilvie

One thing after another! The prospect of gruelling weeks and
possibly months to come. No let up from fear, uncertainty. What
can Paul offer us as we live in a 21 st century pandemic!
2 Corinthians 1.23 and extracts from Chs 2 and 7
I appeal to God as my witness and stake my life upon it: it was
out of consideration for you that I did not, after all, come to
Corinth.. I made up my mind that my next visit to you must not
be another painful one. If I cause pain to you, who is left to
cheer me up, except you whom I have offended?.. That letter I
sent to you came out of great distress and anxiety; how many
tears I shed as I wrote it! Not because I wanted to cause you
pain; rather I wanted you to know the love, the more than
ordinary love I have for you… When I came to Troas, I still found
no relief of mind for my colleague, Titus was not there to meet
me so I took leave of the people at Troas and went to
Macedonia. Even when we reached Macedonia we still found no
relief; instead trouble met us at every turn, fights without and
fears within. But God, who brings comfort to the downcast has
comforted us by the arrival of Titus, and not merely by his
arrival but by his being so greatly encouraged by you. He has
told us how you long for me, how sorry you are and how eager
to support me… At every point you have cleared yourselves of
blame. And so although I did send that letter it was not the
offender or the victim that most concerned me but that you
would be able to deal responsibly with the matter. We have been
delighted beyond everything by seeing how happy Titus is.
Anything I may have said to him to show how much I trusted
you has been justified…The measures you agreed upon at the
general meeting have met the offence well enough. Something
very different is called for now: you must forgive the offender
and put heart into him; the man’s distress must not be made so
great as to overwhelm him. I urge you therefore to reassure him
of your love for him… Anyone who has your forgiveness has
mine too (so far as there is anything for me to forgive). For
Satan must not be allowed to get the better of us, we know his
wiles all too well.
The amazing thing about this passage is that we don’t really have
any idea what Paul was talking about. There is no real clue in
Acts or any of his other letters. But we can all too readily
understand some of the strains and stresses that the situation
caused for everyone involved: will the people we’ve trusted do the
right thing; has something we’ve said or done put a strain on or
damaged a friendship or relationship; waiting anxiously for a
response or reply which will make the difference, good or ill, to
the situation – and all at the same time living and doing the
ordinary everyday things with these shadows and worries at the
back of our minds. Most of us can put our hands up to those
experiences at some time or other.
The first thing to be said is that it puts pay to the idea that
somehow the life of the early church was an idyllic existence
where nothing went wrong and that somehow these early
Christians (not even the notable ones) knew what they were
doing all of the time. In fact it reassures us that in many ways
they were like us with the same sort of strains and stresses – the
causes may have been different but the emotional responses and
costs were very similar.

That in itself is strong encouragement but there is more to come
when we see how these quite ordinary people took those strains
and stresses in their stride. Not because they were different from
or better than us but because they had encouraged and
supported each other in a faith which stands the test. They had
learnt to trust primarily because they had understood and taken to
heart what the resurrection of Jesus really meant. They were
convinced that through Jesus, God could be trusted implicitly not
just in the good times but in the anxious and testing times which
will inevitably come; when it literally is just one negative thing
after another – no-one is exempt and sometimes that trust has to
be uttered and exhibited through gritted teeth, “fights without and
fears within”.
But what was Paul most concerned about? That Satan should
never get the better of us – should never have the last word. God
has broad shoulders and he will never take offence if we
question, complain, stamp our feet or scream blue-murder at him.
The psalms are full of all those things. What he cannot do
anything about is if we paint ourselves into the corner of our own
resentment – letting these
Godless negative forces
discourage us to the point
where we feel that there is no
point in carrying on. As Paul
says, “Something very
different is called for now.” Let
us put heart into each other so
that our distress will never
overwhelm us.
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do nnot carry everything to God in prayer
Have we trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere?
We must never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious saviour still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer
In His arms he’ll take and shield thee, thou wilt find a solace there
Prayer: Lord, we thank you that whatever we are going through
as individuals, as families, as fellowships that we can rely on you.
Help us always to look outwards to the people we can encourage,
put heart into and help us to receive graciously the
encouragement that others would seek to give us. We pray for
grace and patience to bear the disappointments and griefs, to live
hopefully in the uncertain situations we face day by day, and
when the circumstances seem fearful and we can’t seem to work
out what to do, help us above all to trust in your wisdom, your
love for your world and your cherishing of ourselves as your
children. In thankfulness and praise we offer these prayers in the
name of Jesus. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches
Devotional for Sunday 24 th January 2021

Prepared by Eric Southwick

The last year has been described as unprecedented, so
much of what was familiar has been taken from us but
this may be a wakeup call.
Christ is surely coming bringing his reward,
Alpha and Omega, First and Last and Lord:
Root and stem of David, brilliant Morning Star:
meet your Judge and Saviour, nations near and far;
meet your Judge and Saviour, nations near and far!
See the holy city! There they enter in,
All by Christ made holy, washed from every sin:
thirsty ones, desiring all he loves to give,
come for living water, freely drink, and live;
come for living water, freely drink, and live!
Grace be with God’s people! Praise his holy name!
Father, Son, and Spirit, evermore the same.
Hear the certain promise from the eternal home:
‘Surely I come quickly!’ Come, Lord Jesus, come;
‘Surely I come quickly!’ Come, Lord Jesus, come!
Bible Reading: Luke chapter 1 verses 26 – 38
What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is
short. From now on those who have wives should live as
if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those
who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy
something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use
the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For
this world in its present form is passing away.
With lockdowns and restrictions much of the routine of life
has been disrupted in the last year. In lockdown we have
been forced into a more basic existence, many of the
routines as well as the highlights of life have been
disrupted. Whilst often in times of trial people are able to
turn to the known and take solace in the familiar much of
the known and familiar was taken away.
However, the rest of creation began to raise their voices
as the sounds of humans and their machines reduced.
Whilst restricted to their gardens in the summer many
rejoiced at hearing birdsong more clearly than before.
People longed to see friends and family and had an
opportunity to stop and reassess their priorities and what
was truly of value.

There was much excitement that as a result of their
lockdown experiences our nation and the world might
emerge to a new normal. The hope was that there would
be a realignment of values which would result in the world
being a better place. This may be true from some people.
However, someone commented that when lockdown
began everyone was lovely but as it went on everyone
became horrible and it’s stayed that way! We have seen
that when restrictions were eased the selfishness of
many became more evident. We should not be surprised
by this because the Bible teaches us of the sinfulness
However, our reading reminds us that as Christians we
should not fit into the ways of this world. We do not know
when this world will come to an end, but we do know that
it will.
Our lifestyle should not follow the priorities of those
around us, whether that is the prevailing mood of the age
or traditional values. As Paul wrote in Colossians chapter
3 verses 2 – 4 we should “Set your minds on things
above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is
now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is
your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in
Let us use our time in lockdown to make sure that we are
aligned to God’s priorities and live as citizens of His
Kingdom within this world.
Almighty God, we thank You for all Your goodness to us.
Teach us to number our days that we may use the time
that You grant us to bring glory to Your Name. May we,
being mindful of the temporary nature of our life on earth,
prepare for an eternity in Your presence, spending our
time in serving You and fulfilling Your purpose for our
We give thanks for those who are ensuring the vaccine
programme is protecting ever more people from Covid-
19, for the frontline staff who are caring for those who are
ill and for all those involved in providing essential
services. We pray for wisdom for those who govern us, a
sense of communal responsibility for all and the
movement of Your Spirit in our land.
The Lord’s Prayer

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches
Devotional for Sunday 17 th January 2021
Prepared by Shaun Newton

Bible Reading. Habakkuk 2:1-2
I will stand at my watch and station myself on the
I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer
I am to give to this complaint.
Mission Praise 1350: Speak O Lord
Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of your holy word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfil in us
All Your purposes, for Your glory.
Teach us Lord full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise
Cause our eyes to see,
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of power that can never fail;
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.
Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us.
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time,
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises;
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, ’til your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.
Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2005
Thankyou Music
As we continue on into 2021, many of us are still
wondering what to make of it all. Or maybe wondering
what does God have to say of it all. And concern soon
leads to worry.
Well, that concept is not new.

Here in Habakkuk we have the prophet struggling to
understand the ways of God. Struggling to make sense of
what is happening, and he waits.
JM Boice describes Habakkuk as the “Waiting Prophet” at
this point.
Face with a perplexing problem before him, Habakkuk
waits on God having committed his problem to God.
And so Habakkuk waits for God to answer, but while he
waits he leaves his problem with God.
And while he waits, he watches. Watching and waiting.
In these days of Lockdown 3.0 maybe we should heed
the example of the prophet to fold to watch and wait.
To leave our problems and issues with God and whilst we
wait for an answer, we keep watch.
As we enter chapter 3, we find Habakkuk has turned from
worrying to worship.
Wiersbe closes his comments on chapter 2 with these
words and may they be found true of us, “When you
behold the glory of God and believe the Word of God, it
gives you faith to accept the will of God.”
Whatever worries and concerns we may have. Let us
continue to bring them to God at this worrying and trying
time, asking God to help us turn our worries to worship as
we continue to trust in Him.
May God bless us and be with us as we seek to service
Him in these most difficult of days.
Father God, we come before you with our worries and
concerns. Help us to trust in You by bringing them to You
and leaving them with Yu.
As we watch and wait help us turn our worries into
worship as we draw closer to you in these difficult days,
we pray.
Be with those who continue to work in and through this
pandemic and especially those who are now instrumental
in the vaccination programme underway. Through all of
this may Your name be glorified, we pray!
The Lord’s Prayer!

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches
Devotional for Sunday 10 th January 2021
Prepared by Christine MacTier

Hymn Mission Praise 740
We three kings of Orient are; bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty
westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy
perfect light.
Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain, gold I bring to crown him
King forever, ceasing never, over us all to reign.
Frankincense to offer have I; incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, voices raising, worshiping God on high.
Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone-cold
Glorious now behold him arise; King and God and sacrifice:
Alleluia, Alleluia, sounds through the earth and skies.
Bible Reading. Matthew 2 vs 1 – 12
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time
of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem
2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the
Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all
Jerusalem with him.
4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests
and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah
was to be born.
5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the
prophet has written:
6 “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means
least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a
ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from
them the exact time the star had appeared.
8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search
carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me,
so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and
the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it
stopped over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother
Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they
opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold,
frankincense and myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to
Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
On the TV quiz program QI, they were discussing Christmas
and it was mentioned that Matthew and Luke were the only

Gospels that mentioned the Birth of Christ and that they didn’t
give the same version of the story. They added that Mark and
John don’t mention the Birth of Christ. To me it showed that it
is not OK to have a limited overview of Scripture rather than
actually looking at the whole picture from Scripture. With their
limited knowledge of scripture, they didn’t know that each
Gospel writer wrote to a specific group of people, and from
their own experiences
When we look at the visit of the Magi as described in Matthew.
We see how these visitors from the East went to visit the Christ
Child after seeing and following the star of Bethlehem. They
brought gifts appropriate to whom they thought this special
baby could be.
Although surprised at the fact that this special child had been
born in such a lowly place, they recognized His greatness and
offered their gifts.
Gold for a king. This child was indeed the King of kings. He
had left the Glory of Heaven to become this helpless baby and
one day after conquering sin and death He would return to
Heaven and reclaim His crown
Frankincense for a priest. When we read the books of the Law
as given by God to Moses, we read of the use of frankincense
in the Temple worship. The priest would take any sacrifice
brought by the people and offer it to God as described in the
Law. The priest was acting as an intermediary between the
people and God. Jesus is our intermediary. The letter to the
Hebrews shows how Jesus is our Great High Priest who
intercedes for us with the Father
Myrrh, often used in burials. I sometimes wonder if Mary kept
the myrrh and if it was one of the spices taken by the women
to anoint His body when they went to the tomb on that first
Easter Morning. That small baby who was worshipped by
Shepherds and magi would become our King; Priest and
On the first Sunday of the New Year we often hold a Covenant
Service when we remember God’s Covenant with us and
renew our Covenant with Him
A favourite Carol is “In the Bleak Mid Winter”. The last verse
says “What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
As we continue to look back at 2020 may we thank God for the
way He brought us through and look forward to this relatively
New Year with all it’s opportunities and give Him our hearts
and lives to be used by Him to His Glory
May the Lord continue to Bless You and Best wishes for 2021
Father God, we stand at the beginning of a New Year, a year
of opportunities for service for you. We cannot change what
happened in 2020, all we can do is look forward in faith and
trust You to guide us and keep us safe in the year ahead.
We bring to you our families and friends; our country and the
people of this world

Father we need you to intervene in this pandemic which has
taken over the world. We need your healing power and
May we look to You in all circumstances and glorify your
precious Name. Amen
The Lord’s Prayer

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches

Circuit Devotion for Jan 3 rd 2021

Prepared by Jean Merton

Psalm 121
“I look up to the mountains-does my help
come from there? My help comes from the
Lord, who made the heavens and the earth.
He will not let you stumble and fall; the One
who watches over you will not sleep. Indeed,
He who watches over Israel never tires and
never sleeps. The Lord Himself watches over
you. The Lord stands beside you as your
protective shade. The sun will not harm you
by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps
you from all evil and preserves your life. The
Lord keeps watch over you as you come and
go, both now and forever, Amen.

I imagine many people were pleased to close
the door on what, I’m sure you’ll agree has
been a difficult year. As we think back, many
will have found comfort and strength in
familiar Bible readings, which have reminded
us that God is always with us. And as surely as
God was with us during 2020 He will be with
us during the good times and bad that awaits
us in 2021.
I do not know what lies ahead,
The way I cannot see;
Yet one stands near to be my guide,
He’ll show the way to me.
Chorus, I know who holds the future,
And He’ll guide me with His hand;
With God things don’t just happen,
Everything by Him is planned.
So as I face tomorrow,
With its problems large and small,
I’ll trust the God of miracles,
Give to Him my all.
I do not know how many days
Of life are mine to spend;
But one who knows and cares for me
Will keep me to the end.
I do not know the course ahead,
What joys and griefs are there;
But one is near who fully knows
I’ll trust His loving care.

Michael Angier wrote, “In order to
embrace the new, we must release
the old. A trapeze artist cannot swing
from one bar to another without
letting go. An important part of
preparing for a New Year is to review
the past year, to release it and to learn
from it.”
I pray we will indeed put all the
problems we experienced in 2020
behind us and that we will go forward
using all the good things that we
learnt during the past year as a base
from which to grow even further.
We read in Jeremiah 29:11 “’For I
know the plans I have for you’
declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper
you and not to harm you, plans to give
you hope and a future.”’
The realization that God has a plan for
each and every one of us and for our
churches can encourage us as we
begin a new year of service. Focusing
on His plan will help us become the
people we are meant to be.
Heavenly Father, we praise and
worship You. We live in an ever
changing world, but thankfully You are
the same. Yesterday, today and
forever, You are the rock on which we
can depend. We thank you for the
Fatherly care with which You watched
over us during what has been a
difficult year. You have protected us
from the evils of this world and have
showered us with blessings. As we
begin a new year in service, we ask
that You will guide us as individuals
and as churches, and by the Power of
Your Spirit may we have the strength
and courage to be obedient. We ask
all things in the precious Name of
Jesus Amen.
Repeat ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches
Devotional for Sunday 27 th December 2020
Prepared by Len Ogilvie

“Here it is – Merry Christmas!??? to quote Slade – question
marks my own! In Advent we trace God’s plan through to
Christmas but Isaiah reminds us that God’s Christmas Party is
scheduled not for the 25 th December but when time will be no
Isaiah 25. 6-8 (abridged)
On this mountain the LORD of Hosts will prepare a rich banquet
of rich fare for all the peoples; a banquet of wines well matured.
On this mountain the LORD will destroy the veil shrouding all
the peoples, the pall thrown over all the nations. He will destroy
death forever. Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from
every face and throughout the world remove the indiginities
from his people. The LORD has spoken.
Luke 14. 15-24
One of the company at the meal said, “Happy are those who will
sit at the banquet in the Kingdom of God!” Jesus replied, “A
man was giving a big dinner party and had sent out many
invitations. When the time came he sent his servant to tell the
guests, “Please come, everything is now ready.” One after
another they all sent excuses. The first said, “I have bought a
piece of land, and I must go and inspect it; please accept my
apologies.” The second said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen
and I am on my way to try them out. Please accept my
apologies.” The next said, “I cannot come; I have just got
married.” When the servant reported this the master of the
house was furious and said to him, “Go out quickly into the
streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the
crippled, the blind and the lame.” When the servant informed
him that his orders had been carried out and there was still
room, his master replied, “Go out on the highways and along
the hedgerows and compel them to come in; I want my house
full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall taste my
For those who have prayed that Christmas would be less
commercialised it certainly shows you have to be careful what
you pray for. Certainly the feasting and the banqueting will have
been somewhat constrained this year.
The same is true about the meal that Jesus was was invited to
in Luke 14. 15-24. The invitation had come from a well-to-do
religious leader and you might be able to guess that it was not a
heart-felt invitation but a summons for examination. When one of
the guests says, “Happy are those will sit at the banquet in the
Kingdom of God”, as Kenneth Bailey* points out, Jesus would be
expected to reply something like, “O that we might keep the Law
in a precise fashion so that we may be counted worthy to sit with
the Messiah and all true believers at this great banquet.” As we
might expect, Jesus fails their test – deliberately and
The text of Isaiah’s magnificent, compassionate and all-
encompassing vision of that final banquet had been deliberately
distorted and diminished by the Jewish religious teachers over the
years to make it out to be an exclusive club dinner only for those
in a particular religious clique. So Jesus not only deliberately
challenges their interpretation, but goes on to condemn them for
their narrow restrictive outlook. The reasons that the guests in the
parable offer for not attending were not lame excuses but
deliberate insults. Who would buy a piece of land or oxen without
inspecting or testing beforehand? The third guest doesn’t even
bother to apologise.The guests at the real banquet would be well
aware of that.

Oh yes! The master is angry but not in a negative way. It
makes him determined to show his generosity to the whole of
humanity wherever they happen to be. God’s Christmas Party will
be exactly as Isaiah saw it – compassionate and all-
encompassing – personal without being exclusive – and it is the
coming of Jesus that make’s it all happen. God wants us to be
good and also beautiful. Let’s listen to Isaiah again: The arid
desert shall be glad, the wilderness shall rejoice and burst into
flower with fields of white roses. It shall rejoice and shout for
joy. Brace the arms that are limp, steady the tottering knees.
Say to the anxious of heart “Be strong and fear not, your God
comes to save you. He himself is coming to give you triumph.”
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the
deaf will be unstopped. The lame will leap like deer and dumb
shout shout aloud. And a causeway will appear there and it shall
be called the way of Holiness. No-one unclean shall pass along
it and no fool will trespass on it. No lion will come there, no
savage beast shall set foot on it. But by it the redeemed shall
return and the Lord’s people, set free, will come back and enter
Zion with shouts of triumph crowned with everlasting joy.
Gladness and joy will come among them while suffering and
weariness flee away. (Isaiah 35. 1-10) Of course you, like the
elder of the father’s two lost sons (Luke 15. 11-32), can choose to
miss out on the party. No-one, least of all God, is going to force
you to enjoy yourself. Are you up for some gladness and joy and
seeing the back of suffering and weariness? See you at God’s
Christmas Party then?
*Kenneth E Bailey “Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes”
SPCK 2008.
Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth
Ye who sang Creation’s story now proclaim Messiah’s birth
Come and worship Christ the New-born King [Gloria in excelsis
Shepherds in the fields abiding watching o’er your flocks by night
God with man is now residing: yonder shines infant light
Come and worship ….. [Gloria in Excelsis Deo]
Sages leave your contemplations, brighter visions beam afar
Seek the Great Desire of Nations, ye have seen his natal star.
Come and worship ….. [Gloria in Excelsis Deo]
Saints, before the altar bending, watching long in hope and fear
Suddenly the Lord descending; in his temple shall appear.
Come and worship ….. [Gloria in Excelsis Deo]
[Though an infant now we view him, he shall fill his Father’s
Gather all the nations to him, every knee shall then bow down
Gloria in excelsis Deo]
Two links – to get all these marvellous words in!
Prayer: Lord we thank you for the message of repentance,
generosity, forgiveness, belonging and joy that Christmas brings
us. Help us by the power of your Holy Spirit that, no matter what
we are challenged with in the year ahead, we may faithfully reflect
that message as we live our lives to the honour and glory of your
compassionate, generous and Holy Name. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer

Annual Christmas Carol Service

As we are all aware this has been a very difficult year without exception

Everyone has in some way been affected but we now can see some light at the end of what has been a dark tunnel

These next couple of weeks are very important for us in the church where we look to celebrate the real meaning of christmas

This Sunday ( 20th December ) we will be holding our Annual Christmas Carol Service but due to the Covid 19 pandemic our normally full church will be limited to the guidelines of 30

We send an open invite to all to join our service via the church’s zoom link which is attached below

We hope you can join us and be part of our service albeit remotely

From all at Easington Lane Independent Methodist Church have a peaceful Christmas

Take care and God Bless

Topic: Christmas Carol Service 2020

Time: Dec 20, 2020 05:15 PM London
Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83251528467?pwd=RlExQ3BUSndHOVFGUm16cVFHeXRLQT09
Meeting ID: 832 5152 8467Passcode: 718135

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches

Devotional for Sunday 20th December 2020 


The wait is nearly over, Christmas is almost here but can we spare a thought for Mary who had to wait 9 months facing an uncertain future after an incredible experience. The faith of Mary is an example to us all. 


Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered
Will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby
You’ve kissed the face of God

Oh, Mary, did you know
Oh, Mary, did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
The praises of the lamb

Oh, Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your Baby Boy
Is Heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding
Is the great I am

Mary, Mary, did you know

Bible Reading: Luke chapter 1 verses 26 – 38

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’

34 ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’

35 The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.’

38 ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.


Every year the complaint is heard that Christmas begins earlier, Cards go on sale in August, shops fill their shelves with Christmas items in October and people decorate their homes from the beginning of November. Spare a thought for Mary whose preparations began 9 months before the birth of Jesus.  When greeted by Gabriel she was troubled and wondered but when told that she would bear the Son of God from her virgin womb she responded with faith and acceptance.

Mary risked rejection by Joseph for expecting a child before their marriage, this could have destroyed her reputation and caused her to spend the rest of her life alone and an outcast.  Whilst we are familiar with the story of the virgin birth imagine how disbelieving her family and the community would be. 

Mary did not know what would become of her or her child but she accepted the news from Gabriel trusting that God would fulfil His purpose through her.  She had no idea that she would give birth far from home with only Joseph to help her. Mary could not foresee that her son would be visited by humble shepherds or by wise men from afar. There would be no thought of fleeing to Egypt to live in exile.

The life that Mary’s son was to live could not be imagined by her nor the death that He would die but Mary accepted with faith that it should be as the Lord decreed. 

After a year like no other and facing many uncertainties may we have the same faith that Mary had to accept that whatever the future holds the Lord holds the future and may we, like Mary, be the Lord’s faith filled and willing servants.   


Gracious God, in this season of Advent you invite us to wait and wonder again after a year full of wondering and waiting – wondering what this pandemic all means, and what the future holds; waiting for lockdowns to end, to meet friends, to see if vaccines work. So much wondering and waiting overshadowed by anxiety and loss.

And yet this waiting is different in Advent – we wait for your coming, for the fulfilment of the Kingdom promises in Christ and for time to be wrapped in eternity. We wait full of wonder at your grace, love and mercy; we watch and wait for the signs of your coming, overshadowed not by fear but by your sheltering wing.

Kindle afresh your hope in us, as we respond to human need; renew within us your joy, that we might banish despair; and light afresh the flame of your love and light within and through us as we proclaim the angels’ message of great joy for all people, the birth of a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. For we put our trust in you and run with wonder to see afresh the baby in a feeding trough, the bread of life on his mother’s breast.

So, we pray for those in palaces to be granted generous hearts; for those in cowsheds, that you would come to their aid; for those on hillsides, bring light into their darkness, and for those far from home, that you would be their guide. For all the powerless in the world, may your kingdom come,

Through Christ, born of Mary and coming King, Amen.

(Advent prayer by the Rev Dr Paul Goodliff, General Secretary of Churches Together in England)

The Lord’s Prayer

Devotional for Sunday 13th October 2020 3rd Sunday of Advent

Prepared by Shaun Newton 


Have you noticed that Christmas decorations went up far earlier than usual this year in a lot of households? Maybe the desire for some cheering up or a sense of hope is needed.

As we consider this in this season of Advent maybe this is how the people of Jesus’ day felt as they waited in expectancy and hope for the coming Messiah?

What is it that we desire this year as we prepare and then celebrate to remember the birth of Jesu, the Messiah?

Bible Reading: Micah 5:2-4

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,  in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.


Our reading is a familiar one featured in our Carol Services. 

The focus of the reading is an ancient prophecy about an insignificant little place called Bethlehem. We remember Bethlehem as the place of Jesus’ birth. But to the hearers of Micah and across the centuries that followed, this prophecy relates to a little town with no seeming reputation yet will actually produce a leader with worldwide impact. Bethlehem’s past reputation will not hide its future influence.

That picture of the small and insignificant becoming powerful and having an impact is often lost on us. Wesley wrote “Our God contracted to a span” whilst Townend & Getty wrote, “In Christ alone who took on flesh, fulness of God in helpless babe.”

Yet so often at this time of year the small and insignificant is overlooked for the bigger and better. From parties and celebrations to gifts of the latest model and versions.

Small and insignificant will just not do so often.

Yet it was Bethlehem, insignificant as it was that was chosen for the place of the Messiah’s birth.

Yet the plans and purposes of God are so often at odds with the world’s priorities.

Small and insignificant are not problems or barriers to God. In fact it could be said that the small and insignificant can reach further and wider and that bigger is not always better.

Christmas will be different this year, that is for sure. And no matter what Tier we may find ourselves in come the Review on the 16th we can rest assured that he insignificant and poor will become great to the ends of the earth. (v.4) That is the heavenly response to an earthly dilemma; God’s solutions don’t follow the logic of the human mind. The usual places people search for answers are not those places where God begins to provide the resources to transform our lives.

Hymn: O little town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
Oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!


Almighty God, we thank You that you used Bethlehem of old despite it being small. In so many ways we too are small and insignificant and we pray that we may be used in places and ways that would not be possible otherwise. Help us be encouraged that you still work in and through people like us so help us serve you even though in the eyes of the world it may be small and insignificant. Be those who need our prayers and we pray for the effective implementation of the vaccine in the coming days. 

The Lord’s Prayer

Devotional for Sunday 6th December 2020 – 2nd Sunday of Advent

Prepared by Christine MacTier

Hymn Mission Praise 1086

Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes, Let me see
Beauty that made this heart adore you
Hope of a life spent with you

Here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that you’re my God
You’re altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me

King of all days
So highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly you came to the earth you created
All for love’s sake became poor

Here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that you’re my God
You’re altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me

I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross

Here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that you’re my God
You’re altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me

Bible Reading. John 1 vs 1 – 14

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John.

7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.

8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Isaiah 60 v 1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.

Recently the expression “There is light at the end of the tunnel has been used on several occasions on the News when referring to the COVID vaccine

We can picture being in a tunnel and watching the light grow bigger as we move toward it until we are out in the light again.

Perhaps this is how we have been feeling over recent months, especially for those who have been and are still shielding or self-isolating

We need hope and perhaps the news of a vaccine has given us hope

In Isaiah we read of a time when the Children of Israel needed hope. They had been taken captive by other nations and had lost sight of God. God through His prophet Isaiah gives a message of hope. He tells how the people will return to their own land. Through Isaiah God promises that He will call His people from the farthest corners of the world and they will return home. He tells them to arise and shine for their light has come. Other prophecies in the Book of Isaiah point toward the Birth of a Saviour who redeem His people

John reminds us in his first chapter that light has come into the world.

Light that shines in the darkness.

We may feel that we are living in darkness at the moment, but we have a Saviour who came into the world to bring light.

We are called to shine His light.

Sometimes people speak of the ‘Dark days before Christmas’, the time when we have short days and long nights. For many, it isn’t just the physical darkness, there is mental and spiritual darkness. We are called to show His light in these dark times. As Christians we can allow His light to shine through us. Our Light has come so let Him shine in our hearts

As we go through Advent and look towards rejoicing in the birth of our Saviour, may we show His Light to others, Happy Christmas and every blessing for the New


Father God, there are so many uncertainties around us at the moment. So many things to bring darkness into our lives yet we know that the Light of the World has indeed come.

Help us to see that light and allow Him to shine again in our hearts

May His light shine through us and enable us to bring light to others and may that light illuminate the world around us and may we live to your Glory

The Lord’s Prayer


The One who is the True Light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. [John 1:9]

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and tonight in my home church we will light the first candle on our Advent Wreath, the Candle of Hope. After the events of this year, the World, now more than ever, needs hope.

Hymn O come, let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. 2] We’ll give Him all the glory……………….. 3] For He alone is worthy……………………

Bible Reading. Is.9:2, 6-7 2] The people who walk in darkness will see a great light, a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow. 6] For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. These will be His royal titles; Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.7]His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end, He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David, The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this. Amen. The definition of the word hope in my dictionary is; “A feeling that something you want may happen; A course for hope; something that you wish for.” Although not in my dictionary I prefer this definition, “Hope is like a light shining in a dark place.” On the Legonier Ministries web site, they have a list of “Reasons to hope when all seems hopeless”; I share with you some of that list which I feel is most applicable for us today. 1] Hope moves us forward; Christian hope is a realistic expectation of a joyful longing for future good and glory based upon the reliable Word of God. 2] Hope energizes the present; It is worth living today because the eternal tomorrow is so much brighter. 3] Hope lightens our darkness; Hope doesn’t always remove our pain and sorrows, but it does shine bright light into those valleys of despair and points to the sunrise at the end of them. 4] Hope increases faith; Faith fuels hope and hope fuels faith. Heb.11 makes it clear hope and faith are closely tied together. The greatest believers are the greatest hopers and vice-versa. 5] Hope is infectious; we can inspire and motivate through our inspiring hope. We cannot only encourage other Christians; unbelievers may ask the reason for the hope they see in us. 6] Hope stabilizes in the storm; like an anchor hope grabs what is out of sight. As one Puritan put it ‘The cable of faith casts out the anchor of hope and lays hold of the steadfast rock of God’s promises. In this season of Advent may we all put our hope in God, the things of this world may disappoint us, people may let us down, but in God we can trust. Prayer Heavenly Father, we praise and worship You for You alone are worthy of our praise and adoration. We are in the season of Advent, regardless of what is said in the media, Christmas is not cancelled, no matter what is happening in the world, in the coming weeks help us as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the reason for which He came and the Hope we have in Him. Help us to share this good news with family and friends, the greatest gift is always available, we don’t have to queue for it or spend hours on the internet seeking it, all we have to do is open our hearts and minds to Jesus, for to seek Him is to find Him. We pray this Christmas many will seek and find this gift of greatest price, so that they too will have the hope that is in Jesus, for as surely as He was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago He will one day return in all His glory; in Him the best is yet to come. Thank You Lord Amen The Lord’s Prayer

North East Circuit of Independent Methodist Churches Devotional for Sunday 22nd November 2020 Prepared by Len Ogilvie


This is the last Sunday of the church year before Advent starts. Recently it has been designated the feast of “Christ the King”. In the current situation that might sound a bit hollow but our bible reading encourages us to hold on to and respond to the faith in a God who can and does turn terrible situations around. Bible reading: Matthew 9. 34 – 10.1 So Jesus went round all the towns and villages, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every kind of illness and infirmity. The sight of the crowds moved him to pity; they were like sheep without a shepherd, harrassed and helpless. Then he said to his disciples, “The crop is heavy, but the labourers are too few; you must ask the owner to send labourers to bring in the harvest. Then he called his twelve disciples and gave them authority to drive out unclean spirits and and to cure every kind of illness and infirmity. I came across a picture recently depicting the two main characters of the Back to the Future films, Marty McFly and Doc Emmet Brown. Marty is sitting in the driver’s seat of the De Laurien and the Doc is saying earnestly, “Whatever you do, don’t set it for 2020.” As we progress through this terrible year I think most of us will have a certain empathy with those sentiments and just long for the time when somehow things will get turned round. What Matthew is trying to get across is that God is in the process of turning things around and this is going to be done through Jesus. He is the one with the authority to turn things on their head. Early in the gospel there was the Sermon on the Mount which systematically changed our perspective on the things we should really rejoice about: being poor in spirit, being mourners, being humble, being merciful, being pure, being peacemakers, and even being persecuted! Whatever the words mean to us now the people listening then were amazed at his teaching; unlike the religious leaders of the day, he taught with a note of authority (Matthew 7.29) But it wasn’t just words. Matthew then goes on to describe the miracles. Immediately, a leper approaches – definitely a “hands, face, space” case. Touching meant infection and ritual uncleanness. So what does Jesus do? – deliberately touches him but instead of Jesus being infected the leper is dis-infected. The normal expectations turned around. There follows a whole series of miracles which demonstrate the same thing: Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with a fever – definitely a case for self-isolation but not for Jesus; a paralysed man comes to terms with his sinful past and starts walking again; a woman with chronic internal bleeding who would render anyone she touched ritually unclean, but again the tables were turned; the dead twelve-year old daughter of a synagogue official – touching the dead brought ritual uncleanness but Jesus takes her by the hand and she’s no longer dead. You can read about them all in Matthew 8 and 9. No wonder the words of Isaiah sprang to Matthew’s lips: “He took away our illnesses from us and carried away our diseases.”(Isaiah 53.4). And what about the onlookers – the crowd: “the people were filled with awe at the sight and praised God for giving such authority to a human being.” (Matthew 9.8) But “hang on,” I hear you say. That was Jesus. I haven’t got the authority to march into a hospital and cure those suffering from Covid 19 even if they were my nearest and dearest. And you’d be right. But the world’s abilities to deal with health issues have never been as assured and as authoritave as they are today – just look at what has been learned so quickly over the last few months – take President Trump’s treatment for example and the astounding speed at which effective vaccines have been found. But what about the inequalities; what about the causes? We seem by the grace of God to be OK at trouble-shooting but not so hot at avoiding the trouble in the first place; not so good at identifying causes and dealing with the careless and malign attitudes that bring such suffering and devastation. Another poster I’ve seen recently: “Science should stop analysing animal behaviour and start studying human stupidity.” Well, that may or may not happen. But we know that someone who loves us more than we love ourselves, has already got a handle on the problem, who, indeed, knew about it before ever the world came into being. He came into the world to challenge and deal with it once and for all. The questions we have to ask of ourselves is how much do we want to be identified with that project; and can we be trusted with the authority he has promised for us to be able, like the Jesus we claim to follow, to challenge and be instrumental in turning the consequences of so-called “normality” around. Hymn: https://youtu.be/ceyyGuoMzf8 Restore, O Lord, the honour of your name! In words of sovreign power come shake the earth again that men may see and come with reverent fear to the Living God, whose kingdom shall outlast the years. Restore, O Lord, in all the earth Your fame, and in our time revive the Church that bears Your name and in Your anger, Lord remember mercy O Living God whose mercy shall outlast the years. Bend us, O Lord, where we are hard and cold, In Your refiner’s fire come purify the gold; though suffering comes, and evil crouches near still our Living God is reigning, He is reigning here. Graham Kendrick/Chris Rolinson Prayer: Lord God, help us to remember as we live and try to cope in a world which seems in such disorder, that you came to turn the world’s values and expectations upside down. We are sorry that often our attitudes and behaviours suggest that we condone the world’s false values and expectations. Forgive us, O Lord, as we look forward to celebrating the time when you quietly entered your world to challenge those norms. By the power of your Spirit, encourage us to worship and work more faithfully in serving your purposes. We pray especially for those who are involved and are suffering directly from this pandemic all over your world and we earnestly pray that those words, “He took away our illnesses from us and carried away our diseases” will be gloriously fulfilled as your Kingdom comes. In the name of Jesus we offer these prayers. Amen. The Lord’s Prayer

4th October

27th September

Blessed Assurance

17th July 2020

Because He Lives 

By The West Coast Choir


God will make a way 

By Don Moen 


 Jesus Be The Centre 

From Keswick Convention


10 July 2020

14th June

Whenever Life’s burdens oppress you,

And trials are too much to face;

Remember God’s strength in your weakness

He’ll give you His power and His Grace. 

30th May

24th May

2nd May The Lord’s Supper

27th April

Sunday 19th April

Sunday 12th April

Easter Day

Friday 10th April

Good Friday

6th April

2nd April

A never-ending prayer chain has been formed around the world. to be included we are asked to pray the following short prayer between 10 and 10-15pm every night until this crisis is over.    ”Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon Your world.”

There is a candle of hope poster available on the following web-site, please download and display in your window. http://www.cte.org.uk/prayersofhope 

31st March

Father God in the mighty Name of Jesus! I pray, speak and declare healing all over the land! We are standing and trusting in Your promises! By Your stripes we are healed! Touch the minds and hearts of our leaders! I humbly ask that Your will be done! I pray a special blessing over the ones that are reading this prayer and passing it on to others! I declare and decree Victory in Jesus! Amen.

30th March

23rd March

16th March

In these testing times for all take time out to look after the elderly

9th March

Celebrating our 104th Women’s Auxillary weekend

2nd March

24th February

17th February

Just remember if you did not get a Valentines card or gift this past week

10th February

3rd February

27th January

20th January

13th January

6th January

The Leaders, Members and Congregation would like to wish you all a Blessed New Year

22nd December

The saviour is born

16th December

Remembering the real reason for Christmas

9th December

2nd December

18th November

11th November

28th October

21st October

14th October

16th September

9th September

2nd September

25th August

God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile

19th August

12th August

Believe in Faith

“My faith didn’t remove the pain, but it got me through the pain. Trusting God didn’t diminish or vanquish the anguish, but it enabled me to endure it.” 

5th August

22nd July

15th July

8th July

23rd June

16th June

  • On this Fathers Day

9th June

2nd June

Footprints in the sand

20th May

13th May

6th May

30th April

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'”