Advent · Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

JESUS – the reason for the season!

Love came down at Christmas‘ (C Rosetti)

Love.

What does the word mean to you?

Does it make you think of how your parents watched over you when you were younger?

Does it make you think of how your spouse or partner makes life seem better after a bad day?

Does it make you think of childhood friends known many years ago?

Or maybe you think about other things.

Love can come in various forms; the way we love our partners will be different from the way that we love our wider family, and different again from the way that we love our friends.

There are four words in the Greek language for the term ‘love’ that are used in the Bible;

Storge (storgē, Greek: στοργή),

Philia (philía, Greek: φιλία),

Eros (erōs, Greek: ἔρως), and

Charity (agápē, Greek: ἀγάπη)

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Loves – accessed 22/12/18).

The love that we want is agápē. This is the love that God has for us, it is unconditional, unending, eternal, life-giving, redeeming, a love ‘no-matter-what’!

That is how God loves the world; he loves it so much;

that he gave his one and only Son’ (John 3:16 NIV).

And God sent him, knowing that we are constantly failing;

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23 ESV – emphasis mine).

Yet even through our failing, God loved us and sent Jesus. And further than that, we know that he loved the world and wanted to save everyone on it, for;

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time’ (Romans 5:6 NLT).

WOW.

God’s timing is perfect, ‘while we were yet weak’ (Romans 5:6 RV1885). Christ came to this earth, as a baby, for us; you and me!

We are in the time of Advent, and ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ (Jesus is the reason for the season – G. Nicholson & M. Chapman).

He is indeed.

Jesus is the only reason that we celebrate at all, if he had not come to earth, where would we be now? But we can take solace in the fact that;

the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost’ (Luke 19;10 NIV).

To save the lost; to save me; to save you, he came to offer salvation to every-one who would listen;

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 NIV – emphasis mine).

While he was on earth, during his ministry, he taught about love, and he lived that love out in his daily life. Would it not be great if we could be able to do the same; but we can, and should, for Jesus said;

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another’ (John 13:34 NIV).

God loves us and wants the very best for each and every-one of us (Jeremiah 29:11).

Each and every day, we should, ‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us’ (1 John 3:1 NIV).

Not only are we loved now, but we were known and loved from the very point of creation, for;

we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will’ (Ephesians 1:11 ESV).

God even spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, saying;

I will never stop doing good to them’ (Jeremiah 32:40 NIV).

Love is patient’ (1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV). God wants us as part of his family, that is why Jesus came, and he will wait for us.

Love is not happy with evil’ (1 Corinthians 13:6 GNB). Paul told the Roman Christians that they should not conform to the world, that they should set themselves apart from it, love and follow God, and not the world (Romans 12:1-2).

Love never fails’ (1 Corinthians 13: NIV). Agápē, this is a ‘no-matter-what’ love. Love never fails, because it comes from God, and God loves us, no matter what we have done. ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23 ESV – emphasis mine). Jesus came for us, the lost, the marginalised, the lonely, the people that many do not want, ‘the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost’ (Luke 19:10 NIV). ‘While we were yet weak’ (Romans 5:6 RV1885), Jesus came for us.

God has said, ‘Never will I leave you’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). He will always look after us, ‘he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways’ (Psalm 91:11 ESV).

“To love is nothing. To be loved is something. But to love and be loved, that’s everything.” (T. Tolis) so with God’s unfailing love for us, we have everything. “And remember, as it was written, to love another person is to see the face of God.” (Les Miserables).

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:38-39 NIV).

4 advent - love

Yes Lord, I love you,
Because you loved me first.
You showed us the way
To live a life of peace.
You guide us and help us,
To live as you did.
Lord I’ll love you all my days
And praise your name.

Yes Lord, I love you,
You came to take my sin.
To die on the cross,
To suffer pain and loss.
To make me free, and
Give my life a hope,
Lord I’ll praise you all my days,
And show your love.

Yes Lord I love you,
You came to die for me.
You showed me a way I,
Could live a better life.
You spread your arms in love, and
You died for me.
Then you rose again to give
Eternal hope.

Lord you show us love and mercy,
Yes you are the way,
The truth and light, so I’ll follow you
And glorify your name,
Because I love you.

Yes Lord I love you,
You came to save my life.
You came from heaven,
Born as a baby boy.
You lived and you served, to
Make a way for us,
To spend all of eternity
With you.

Love Wonderful

R. Phillis

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Father we thank you for the love that came down that first Christmas. Help us to show others, that without your Son Jesus, that there is nothing to celebrate. May all the people we meet this season, see your Son in our life, making a difference, so that they will know, Jesus is the reason for the season.

Amen

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Advent · Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

Lets have Joy, Lets us be Joyful

‘Joy to the world’ (Isaac Watts)

The Psalmist wrote, ‘Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise‘ (Psalm 47:1 ESV), and ‘Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad‘ (Psalm 96:11 NIV) and, ‘Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth‘ (Psalm 98:4 NIV).

So what the Psalmist is really telling us, is that we should be joyful with our God, and to praise Him.

Between the years of 1674 and 1748, Isaac Watts wrote the wonderful words to this marvellous carol, ‘Joy to the world’. It has been over 260 years since then, and we are still singing the words that were inspired by the birth of a special child, foretold in the book of Isaiah,

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace‘ (Isaiah 9:6-7).

It happened over 2000 years ago, and it affected many of the people in the surrounding area, and some were changed because of it.

Today, and in the years between, have also moved the hearts and minds of men, women and children, and people are still moved by Him and the truths found within the wonderful treasure that is the Bible.

At this time of year, we sing, ‘Let every heart prepare Him room‘, and about, ‘The glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love‘, and also, ‘Repeat the sounding joy‘, (Joy To The World). These are fantastic words of both praise to our God, and encouragement for others.

The First Noel‘ (Anon), angels came to inform local people about the birth of a baby, Jesus. This was a special birth and every-body needed to know; and everybody still needs to know today, possibly more so with today’s society.

In modern times, there is more today that can draw us away from God, with social media and modern trends of ‘self first’, but Paul reminds us;

Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world‘ (Romans 12:2 ESV); rather, we are to be, ‘transformed by the renewal of our [your] mind‘ (v 2 NLT).

That is why it is so important during this Advent, that we are open to the moving of His spirit in and around us. We also need to be prepared to wait on Him, and be joyous in the waiting, and joyous in the hope that He brings to mankind.

We need to live-out the peace that we can have when we surrender our lives to the Lord of All.

We need to be full of the joy that can only come when we have a fully committed relationship with our Lord, the only person that can help and save us.

2000 years ago, wise men came seeking the new-born child;

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea… … that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived asking “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?”’ (Matthew 2:1-2 NLT).

And what about now?

‘And wise men still seek him, their King and Messiah… … as their hearts filled with love for Jesus their saviour and their King’ (Wise men still seek Him – SATB version – Lindy Kerby – 2001).

Only Jesus can truly help us, and so we sing;

And fit us for Haven to live with thee there‘ (Away in a Manger – Anon).

3 advent - joy

 

My Jesus, my Saviour
Lord, there is none like you.
All of my days I want to praise
The wonders of your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength,
Let every breath, all that I am,
Never cease to worship you

Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing
Power and majesty, praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of your name

I sing for joy at the work of your hands,
Forever I’ll love you, forever I’ll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in you.

My Jesus My Saviour
Darlene Zschech ©Hillsongs 1994

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Father we thank you for the joy that comes from relationship with your Son who came to this earth to atone for all of our wrongs, please help us to be worthy of his sacrifice, help us to walk close to you and talk to you and know you truly in our hearts always.

Amen