Psalm. 79  Please read the whole Psalm

v.1-4 – O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble. 2 They have left the dead bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the sky, the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild. 3 They have poured out blood like water all around Jerusalem,

and there is no one to bury the dead.4 We are objects of contempt to our neighbours,

of scornand derision to those around us.

There is a view of Christianity where Christians never get sick, never have any problems, always prosper and the Church always triumphs.  The only problem with that view is that it is simplistic and false.   The Bible makes it very clear that being a Christian is not a passport to a life on this earth of continual victory and bliss.   Yes – we are led by the still waters and brought to the banqueting table.  But we also go through the valley of the shadow of death.  Yet we fear no evil – not because evil does not happen to us –  but because ultimately it cannot harm us.  That is why – in the midst of all of the storms of life – we keep our eyes on Christ. 

When we make ourselves the beginning and the end of all the good we do, it is an argument of a barren person.  None ever came to heaven but those that denied themselves.”  (Sibbes).

Petition: Please join with us in praying for:

1.The World   – The number of confirmed cases is 67,063,428 (up 4,423,138 from last week).  The number of deaths of people with Covid is 1,536,023 (up 78,005).  There are now 13 countries with over 1 million cases.  The US seems to be getting worse – with California now going into a three-week lockdown to try and ease the pressure on the hospitals.

2. AustraliaThere have been 27,965 cases in total (up 72 compared with 72 the week before, with 2 being community transmission – 8 last week)

State Total Cases Weekly Change TW/LW Total Deaths Change in Deaths TW/LW
ACT 117 +2 (0) 3 0
NSW 4,610 + 42(30) 53  0
NT 59 +5 (+6) 0 0
QLD 1,212 +11 (5) 6 0
SA 562 +0 (7) 4 0
TAS 230 + 0 (0) 13 0
VIC 20,345       0 (0) 820 +1
WA 830 +12 (19) 9 0

There are 29 people in hospital (+8) with 0 in intensive care (0). 10, 181,727 tests have been carried out with 0.3% positive. 25,442 people have recovered.  There are 44 active cases (-16).   Community transmission has virtually ceased within Australia.  We have much to be thankful for.    

3. Vaccine and Cures – The UK begins its vaccination programme this week.  Russia and China continue theirs.   

4. Church – We are grateful that most churches will now be allowed to sing.  Although there is some confusion as to just exactly what the legislation is – whether people are required to wear masks or not.  Nonetheless many of us will rejoice that we can rejoice singing praise together this Christmas.     

5.  Personal and Family –  Pray for those families who feel that they do not fit the (false) stereotype of the ‘perfect’ Christian family.     Pray that in the midst of strife, trouble, sickness and discouragement, the Lord may bring healing, love, unity and encouragement. 

A Prayer of Repentance:    O Lord, do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.9 Help us, God our Saviour, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake. Amen (Psalm 79:8-9)

Song of Praise:  As we come towards Christmas it’s a great opportunity to sing truth through some of the great carols.  This week’s is both prayer and praise – O Come, O Come Emmanuel -two versions.  First Theocracy’s…

If ‘metal’ praise is not your thing (don’t knock it till you try it!) here is a more traditional version – from Kings College Chapel choir.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving:   

Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever;

from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise. Amen (Psalm 79:13)