Paul shares some thoughts from the Basics Bank warehouse.
The filming version of this devotion was set at the Basics Bank, Warehouse in Millbrook as we’ve been partnering with them for many years and especially over the last couple of weeks to serve hundreds of people a day during this time.
And the reason we filmed there was because the focus of this devotion is on loving the city. Also we’ve also partnered with hwww.lovesouthampton.org.uk and relaunched its website so if you want fresh ideas of how you can sharing the good news of Jesus go on to love Southampton website and see how you can serve. Also the kindness cards on my doorstep, so please email email@example.com to find out my address.
But why should we love Southampton and how should we do it? Well, I was thinking about God’s promise to his people in Jeremiah 29 when he says
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 ‘Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’ (Jeremiah 29:4-7)
God is saying, even though my people have been taken out of Jerusalem into Babylon, “I am with you. I carried you there. I allowed that to happen”. Nothing ever takes God by surprise and he knew we’d be in this situation and it is for such a time that God has brought us here, in Southampton, to be light and salt for him.
And he says to his people Make this your home. Babylon now is your home and you’re going to stay here for a period of time. He says settle there. Some of the false prophets, in verses 8 and 9 were saying “No, don’t go in the city, don’t seek the peace and prosperity of the city. You’re to be separate”. But God says “No, this is the place where I has placed you”. And God is saying to us ‘Make Southampton your home – seek the peace and prosperity of it. Do everything we can to help the city flourish in this time of need’.
But look at what God says straight after those instructions in verses 10 and 11,
This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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. (Jeremiah 29:10-11).
God says them this is your home but he also says this is not your home. Your ultimate home is heaven. He says to them in Babylon, “You’re only going to be here for 70 years and then you going back to Jerusalem”. And God says to us “You are aliens and strangers in this world (1 Peter 1:1) but you are citizens of heaven, you are seated with Christ in heaven (Colossians 3:1)”. That is our hope. That is where we’re going and belong. So bring the values of that home, that Kingdom, into this city of Southampton. Live with God’s values – the values of love, joy, peace, hope, forgiveness and gentleness. Then we can love our city effectively.
So go on www.lovesouthampton.org.uk or post some kindness cards if you want to. Pray for the peace and prosperity of our city. Let’s pray together now.
Father God thank you that you love each person in Southampton. They are made in your image. You knit them together in their mother’s womb. You love them, you know everything about them and help us to pray for our city and the seek the peace and prosperity of it by living with your values so that we may be blessed and we may be a blessing to others.
Have a great day.
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Daily Devotion // Saturday 4th April // Paul Webber
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