THE NEED FOR REPENTANCE
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, said about 2700 years ago: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and confidence is your strength, but you would have none of it.” (Is 30 :15) This was a wakeup call for Israel so let’s not be like them and ignore the need for repentance in our nation. We all would much prefer to see quietness and confidence than the turmoil of our modern world. Some would really like the confidence that God is our strength, but not necessarily see the need for repentance. As a nation or as individuals do we want to repent, turn from sin, and have our true relationship with God restored ? True repentance would result in a revived life with a total change in what we do and think, and the experience of the quietness and confidence that God’s presence brings. “The LORD longs to be gracious to us; therefore, He will rise up to show us compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” (Is 30:18) John the Baptist told people how to repent and to produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Mt3 :8) Those with two shirts should share with someone who has none. Tax collectors should not collect any more than required and soldiers should not try to extort money nor accuse people falsely, and be content with their pay. (Lk 3:10-14).
Jesus said “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Lk 13:2-3). Our nation needs to repent of greed. Too often we hear of evidence of corrupt practice in all walks of life as people try to gain more than what they are entitled to. A total transformation will be needed by any who have abused the system by changing how they think and act. We are told the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer 16:12). Repentance is needed.
Let us pray;
* That those who have abused systems designed to help people, for their own gain, will be convicted of what they have done, openly acknowledge it, and repent by paying back what they have wrongly taken, and change the way they live.
* That each of us will acknowledge when we need to repent of what the Lord puts on our heart, experience the strength of His salvation again and the quietness, and confidence that a right relationship with Him brings.
* For our nation, too, to repent and not perish but come to know the reality of God’s salvation. That we will ask “Why do we spend money for what is not bread, and our earnings for what does not satisfy?” That we will listen carefully to God, and eat what is good, and let our souls delight in abundance.(Is 55:2)
ONLY GOD ……….
One day a businessman called his wife to say that he was bringing a foreign visitor home for dinner. His wife had 3 children in school and one toddler at home, so she had a full workload. But she consented and the meal she prepared was both delicious and graciously served. The foreign guest, an important Spanish official had a delightful time and thanked the couple repeatedly for inviting him and treating him to a home-cooked meal and an evening of family warmth and fellowship. Years later, friends of this family went to Spain as missionaries. But their work was brought to a standstill by Government regulations. When this particular Spanish official got word that the missionaries were friends of the couple who had hosted him in such a gracious manner, he used his influence to clear away the restrictions on their behalf. As a result, a vibrant and growing church was built in that province of Spain and people were won to Christ. Why? Because a busy wife and mother was willing to set an extra plate for a guest at her dinner table, and that guest proved to be a “Kingdom Connection”. Like a wise businessman, God sets the goal, then determines the plan required to reach it.
* that God would lead all His people by His Holy Spirit to live our lives in such a way that He can open up to us unexpected opportunities for us to bless others and be blessed by Him in return.
* that as a nation we would rediscover the spirit of hospitality in opening up our lives and our homes to strangers as well as friends so God can do what only God can do.
* that God would facilitate many “Kingdom Connections” throughout our nation in order to bring breakthroughs where barriers are stopping the spread of the gospel.
FREEDOM OF RELIGIOUS ASSOCIATION
Andrew Thorburn, former National Australia Bank (NAB) CEO, said he was forced to step down from his appointment as chief executive of the AFL”s Essendon football club after 30 hours because of his role as a church chairman. His church, the City on a Hill church in Melbourne, posted in 2013 a sermon that said acting on same-sex attraction was “a sin” and another likening abortion to concentration camps. These comments were discovered after Mr Thorburn’s appointment and he was previously unaware of them. However, the president of the Essendon football club, Dave Bareham, said, “…Despite these not being views that Andrew Thorburn has expressed personally and that were also made prior to him taking up his role as chairman, he could not continue to serve in his dual roles at the Essendon Football Club and as chairman of City on the Hill. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews agreed with the Essendon club’s approach, saying the views expressed by the church “are absolutely appalling”.
Mr Thorburn said his faith had not previously led to any issues with his leading large and diverse companies – CEO of a bank with 5000 people and then CEO of a bank that had 35,000 people. But as CEO of Essendon he said, “I was being required to compromise beyond a level that my conscience allowed. People should be able to hold different views on complex personal and moral matters and be able to live and work together, even with those differences and always with respect. Behaviour is the key. This is an important part of a tolerant and diverse society.” He also said, “I think my faith has helped me become a better leader because at the centre of my faith is the belief you should create a community and care for people and help people be safe and respect them as humans.”
“In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1
* Thank God that His purpose from the beginning has always been to save His children despite the human race constantly turning away from goodness and light.
* Thank God for Andrew Thorburn and Christian leaders like him, who refuse to compromise their Christian faith.
* Pray that this incident encourages many more churches, leaders and congregations, to stand firm in their faith and be the ‘light on the hill”.
PRAYING FOR ISSUES IN THE NEWS
* As flooding continues to ravage large portions of our nation let us pray for those affected and for those seeking to provide assistance. As floods are far slower in moving it can take days and even weeks for floodwaters to reach places that have not even had flooding rains themselves. Pray for God to provide, comfort, hope and a spirit of community amongst those affected as they see homes and community facilities go under. Pray too for farmers who have lost livestock and crops and pray for roads to remain open to allow movement of supplies in and out of flood zones.
* The cost of Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has blown out by another $8.8bn and needs to be brought under control to remain sustainable for future generations of people with disabilities according to NDIS Minister Bill Shorten. Mr Shorten blamed waste, inefficiency and fraud as the main causes of the blowout. The Budget next week will show the cost of the NDIS is forecast to be $50.3bn in 2025/26. Please pray that those responsible for administering the NDIS will quickly be able to find ways to reduce waste and inefficiency and that authorities will just as quickly be able to locate areas of fraud and bring culprits to account in order to be able to save this important social services safety net.
PRAYING FOR OTHERS
This week let us pray for Cuba. Pray that God will strengthen the Cuban Church, using them to share the gospel. Even in the face of persecution, pray that God will bring more people to know Him.
Source: Australian Prayer Network
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