Christian

He is born to save us all!

Hark! the herald angels sing “Glory to the newborn King

My dear precious Jesus, I did not mean to take your place,
I only bring toys and things and you bring love and grace.
People give me lists of wishes and hope that they come true;
But you hear prayers of the heart and promise your will to do.
Children try to be good and not to cry when I am coming to town;
But you love them unconditionally and that love will abound.
I leave only a bag of toys and temporary joy for a season;
But you leave a heart of love, full of purpose and reasons.
I have a lot of believers and what one might call fame;
But I never healed the blind or tried to help the lame.
I have rosy cheeks and a voice full of laughter;
But no nail—scarred hands or a promise of the hereafter.
You may find several of me in town or at a mall;
But there is only one omnipotent you, to answer a sinner’s call.
And so, my dear precious Jesus, I kneel here to pray;
To worship and adore you on this, your holy birthday.

Jesus & Santa

HOPE, PEACE, JOY & LOVE

1600+ years after the child was born, Isaac Watts wrote the words to this famous carol, ‘Joy to the world! the Lord is come.’ We can all accept it, should we want to, the free gift that the child gave to the world, as he grew into a man and sacrificed Himself for our sins. On this most joyous day, we recall the fact that God loved the world so much, He was willing to give of Himself in the biggest way that He could (John 3:16). He did this by sending His Son, Jesus, to show us the way to live, in unity with our God and others around us. His life is worth celebrating, every minute of every day. If Scrooge could learn not to be selfish, and to live each day as if it was Christmas, sharing with others less fortunate, should we not do the same, with and for the love of Jesus?

O come, all ye faithful, 
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;

O come let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord

Yea, Lord we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be glory given;
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing;

O come let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord

Attr. John Francis Wade (c 17111 – 1786)
trs Frederick Oakeley (1802 – 1880) & others

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Lord we pray for those suffering from loss at this time of year, we pray that the Church community that they belong to upholds them in their prayers, and that they will feel the special presence of the Lord at this time. Help them to emerge stronger in their faith and ready to help others going through similar situations.

Lord we pray for individual and congregational strength, guidance, direction and peace; that God will reveal His Divine plan for all of our lives, and that He may show us the path that He wants us to walk, that we may work together for His Glory through this coming year.

Amen

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Christian

Joy! Joy! Joy!

Joy to the world

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 the Psalmist is telling us to 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. 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 people and some changed because of it. Today, and the years in between, have also moved the hearts and minds of men and women, and people are still moved by Him and the truths found in the Bible. 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. There is more today that can draw us away from God. Paul reminds us, ‘Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world‘ (Romans 12:2 ESV); instead, 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 is us, and be prepared to show Him, and the hope that He brings to mankind. We need to show 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. Only Jesus can truly help us, and so we sing ‘And fit us for Heaven to live with thee there‘ (Away in a Manger – Anon).

3 advent - joy

 

HOPE, PEACE, JOY & LOVE

Bildad replied to Job by saying; ‘He [God] will fill yet your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.‘ (Job 8:21 NIV). Even at his lowest, Job knew deep down in his heart, that God had not left him. We know, in our hearts that God will never leave us, even though we, as with the Hebrews, need reminding some times, so Paul did just that, ‘God has said, “I will never abandon you”‘ (Hebrews 13:5 NLT – remember this). We need to trust God, He is with us, and will give us what we need, when we need it. In His time, not ours. He has a plan for our lives (Job 29:11). We may see troubles in our personal lives, or through the lives of other people’s around us, but our life will be put back onto an even keel; ‘from the depths of the earth you [God] will bring me up‘ (Psalm 71:20 NIV). In all we do we should remember ‘God is our refuge and strength‘ (Psalm 46:1 NLT), and we should ‘Shout with joy to the LORD… … Worship the LORD with gladness‘ (Psalm 100:1-2).

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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Lord we thank you for the joy that can only be found in you. We know that you are with us always, and will never leave us, we also know that you watch over us, and have a plan for each of us. Lord help us to fully rely on you, and you alone, help us to look to you and what you give us daily, and to see the cost of following world. Lord you are truly an awesome God, loving and kind, help us to be loving and kind too.
Lord we know the words to many carols, and we sing them year after year. Help us to truly encounter you through the singing of them, help our lives to be transformed by the words and by what they stand for. Lord help us daily, to look to your life as an example of what ours should look like, and help us to be better people.

Amen

 

Christian

In Pieces, or In Peace?

‘And peace to men on earth’

With all the problems that we see around the world and the constant coverage on these events in the news and internet, along with natural disasters that seem to be constantly occurring, it is hard to see or imagine peace anywhere, yet Jesus said, ‘Peace I leave with you(John 14:27 NIV). He told His followers that they would have the peace of Jesus, ‘I do not give to you as the world gives‘ (v 27). We too can have the peace of our Lord, Saviour, Friend and Redeemer left to the world; His gift of peace; should we and they seek and accept Him, peace will be theirs and ours, and Jesus told people that they should, ‘seek first his kingdom and his righteousness‘ (Matthew 6:33 NIV). Jesus also promised us that once we have come to Him and accepted Him as Lord of our life, that He would stay with us, ‘Never will I leave you‘ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). Once we are with God, we are never alone.

We can take comfort in the fact that, ‘the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones‘ (Psalm 37:28). All Christians suffer at times, but when they die, they will have His eternal peace when they pass from this life. Those who live for the Lord, and delight in Him ‘The Lord upholds them [him] with his hand‘ (Psalm 37:24 NIV). We walk with God in His strength, but sometimes we also get carried by his strength (Footprints in the Sand).

From the very beginning, Jesus was always going to be special; as His birth became imminent even the angels could not keep silent; they spoke to the shepherds saying; ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased‘ (Luke 2:14 NLT). We also sing ‘Glory to the newborn King‘ and ‘Peace on earth and mercy mild‘ (Hark The Herald Angel Sing). Jesus though said that he did not come to bring peace (Matthew 10:34), but he did share with His disciples so that they would have peace (John 16:33). We may not feel at peace, we may have issues that require addressing, but whatever is wrong in our lives, Jesus is the answer.

Only Jesus can give us the peace that our hearts crave. God can remedy all things, in His time. ‘God He has called you [us] to live in peace‘ (1 Corinthians 7:15 NIV), for He himself is a God of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Is He the God of your peace?

2 advent - peace

HOPE, PEACE, LOVE & JOY

Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He said ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.’ (John 14:27 NIV). He also said that it was not given as the world gives. The world will want something in return. ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch‘ (Milton Friedman) means you will not get something for nothing, yet Jesus gave, and God gives without expectation. God wants our love, and when we give it, He gives us His peace. ‘Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times‘ (2 Thessalonians 3:16). It may not seem that we have His peace but if we do as the Psalm tells us, ‘Be still and know him [that I am God]‘ (Psalm 46:10 ESV). If we are still and really get to know God, if we then listen, He is there, and He is ‘always ready to help in times of trouble‘ (Psalm 46:1 NLT).

 

The first Noel the angel did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; in fields where they lay keeping their sheep, on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Then let us all with one accord, sing praises to our heavenly Lord, that hath made heaven and earth of naught, and with his blood mankind hath bought

The First Noel

Anon – 17the century

 

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Lord we often sing carols at Christmas that celebrate your birth, and sing about peace on earth, and for all men. This year help us to really mean the words that we sing, help us to really look and work for peace as you did; help us to be ambassadors for peace, so that people will see a change in us. Help us to look to you, and what breaks your heart, may it also affect ours. Lord we look to you and the Bible for all of our teaching, help us to look harder, give us truly eyes to see, and ears to hear, and a heart that is willing.

Lord at this time, special to all Christians, help us to be ready to help those less fortunate than ourselves, help us to consider them more and help them in whatever ways we can, to show your true love.

Amen