Our church building may be closed, but God’s eyes are open and his ears are attentive to our prayers (2 Chronicles 7.15).
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Speak these words out loud:
‘Where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.’
from Matthew 6.21 (Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount)
Read the proverb through three or four times, slowly. Pause in-between, maybe write it out by hand – savour the words, let them speak deeply to you.
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. (NIV)
Gossip is so tasty—how we love to swallow it! (GNB)
What is the most delicious meal you’ve ever had? I think I have a top three, though I’d be hard-pushed to pick the top. One is the best (South) Indian meal I’ve ever had at a restaurant we visited on our trip to New Zealand. It was spectacularly good, I was genuinely speechless. Another is the lunch Jess took me out for on my birthday last year in Birmingham, at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The third is the pie and chips I had at a pub near where we stayed in the Lake District this summer.
But what many of us like to eat most of all, is gossip. We even call it ‘juicy’, like a delicious (not well-done!) steak.
We love to be ‘in the know’ about other people, don’t we? We love the insight into other’s lives, we love to judge their decisions, revel in their misfortunes (especially when in our eyes ‘they deserve it’). We love the conspiratorial whisper, keeping our voices down in case someone hears. We think it makes us feel better about ourselves – and it does, but only for a while, like a drug.
The thing is, those choice morsels of gossip go deep – and (though we might not like to admit it) deep down we realise that although we might like to gossip about others, they are also gossiping about us. That makes us vain, it makes us care far too much about what others think about us or our appearance, and at its worst it can make us withdraw into a world of shame.
Friends, I know it’s hard, and I know it often seems harmless, but gossip is more dangerous than we realise. It may be tasty, but it leaves a bitter after-taste. How I wish we could learn to use our words to encourage instead of criticise, or to stop using words and learn to listen instead!
Pray for Five – pray for your five friends / family from Thy Kingdom Come.
Our daily prayer sheet includes the names of everyone for whom we have a signed church family directory form – and local parishes and senior church leaders. Today we are praying for:
Robins Family (Daniel, Joanna, Rachel, Steve)
Father, please bless them with your peace, and a deep awareness of your presence with them, every day and in every way.
We also pray for: PCC & Standing Committee
Please pray for our leaders and healthcare workers, and all those working to keep us safe, well, and fed. Please pray that people would unselfishly put others before themselves.
Church Family Prayer
Come Holy Spirit,
and make us one in heart and action,
so that we can serve God faithfully:
abounding in love,
maturing in holiness,
and seeking out the lost.
Help us grow as disciples of Jesus –
in commitment, in depth, and in number –
that we may be a blessing to Amington;
to the glory and praise of God the Father.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labour in vain.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus
the only way to the Father.
Psalm 127.1, Hebrews 12.2 & John 14.6
May Christ our Saviour give us peace.