Christian

All You need is Love – John Lenon

For this is how God loved the world‘ (John 3:16 NLT)

God loved the world so much, that Jesus, his only Son, was sent to earth to serve as a sacrifice for our sins; the ultimate sacrifice. In the Old Testament times, people had to sacrifice animals to remove their sins, this time Jesus would be that sacrifice. He did this, not because we deserved it; for, ‘God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners‘ (Romans 5:8 NLT), and the reason that he did this, he did it for love.

Bryan Adams, M Kamen and R. Lange, wrote the lyrics for the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves film. They are as follows;

‘Look into my eyes you will see, what you mean to me.
Search your heart search your soul, and when you
find me there you’ll search no more. You know
it’s true, everything I do I do it for you’

And where do we need to look? ‘Look to the LORD and his strength‘ (Psalm 105:4 NIV). We should look to God, for everything God has done, and still does, is for us. God did, and constantly does amazing things for us all the time. He created the universe for us (Genesis 1:1), and in fact, if there was only ever going to be you in the universe, God would have still created everything he did, as it says in the book of truth, The Bible. In love, on the sixth day of creation, God, in a supreme act of love, created Adam and Eve, and then let them live in his beautiful garden (Eden) that was created especially for them (Genesis 1:27, 2:8 & 15 NIV).

Paul, when writing to the Church at Corinth said, that whatever people could do, whether move mountains, or even sacrifice them self, ‘if they [I] didn’t love others, they [I] would be nothing‘ (1 Corinthians 13:2 NLT). Everything we do, has to be done in love.

Love can do amazing things. ‘Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends‘ (John 15:13 NIV). In the second world war, Desmond Doss (Hacksaw Ridge) went to war without a gun, because he believed what God said in the Bible, and at risk to his own life, continually went back into a war zone, and saved 75 men, not all his own side, from almost certain death, such great love he showed. His fellow soldiers respected him so much, that later, they actually waited to go into battle whilst Doss prayed, and the reason that Doss prayed, is love.

Can we show the same love for people that Desmond Doss did?

5cfc1a6bbad4b4fdbc5f27e60209245b

 

As the Father has love me. so have I loved you‘ (John 15:9 NIV). ‘So I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples‘ (John 13:34-35 NLT). ‘Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house‘ (Psalm 5:7 NLT). In my sin, ‘Return, O LORD… … Save me because of your unfailing love‘ (Psalm 6:4 NLT). ‘I love you LORD; you are my strength‘ (Psalm 18:1 NLT). Lord, you, ‘save by your right hand… Show me the wonders of your great love‘ (Psalm 17:7 NIV). Lord, help us to love you with all our hear, mind and soul, as we should, and help us to love others, the same.

Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate
I feel like moving to the rhythm of Your grace 
Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place
Your love is extravagant

Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known You considered me a friend
Capture my heart again

Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known; You considered me a friend

Capture my heart again
Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate

Your Love Is Extravagant
Casting Crowns
Jared Anderson / Pete Kipley / Peter C. Kipley

 

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Lord at this time we thank you for your great love for us. We know that we are not worthy of that love, but you love us anyway. Help us to show others your love, a smile at someone, a welcome to someone, a cup of tea to a visitor. Help us to show the kind of love that Jesus showed to lepers and others that were outcast, that sacrificial love that come from putting our lives in you.
Lord as we saw on the opening ceremony of the winter Olympics, North and South Korea together, may that signify a change, may unity come through sport. Lord we pray for unity in Korea and in all areas of the world where there is conflict.. Help those that try to bring peace and end wars, and so bring unity to nations.

Amen

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Christian

How committed are we?

and may your hearts be fully committed‘ (1 Kings 8:61 NIV)

This week, it is vision and commitment weekend within the Salvation Army, and it is a good time for reflection on the past spiritual year, the battles fought and won, how we served our Lord, and where we see our path leading us, or rather, where we think God is leading us; ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). God has great plans for all of our lives, we just have to trust Him to reveal them to us, and be receptive to hear them; For God has said, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go‘ (Psalm 32:8 NIV); but not only that, God know our weaknesses, and, ‘he shows the proper path to those who go astray‘ (Psalm 25:8 NLT); and when we stray, ‘He rescues them… … and keeps them alive in times of famine‘ (Psalm 33:19 NLT).

When we seek God in what we do, ‘You will… .. find me when you seek with all your heart‘ (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV), and when we seek Him, God too searches in order to, ‘strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed‘ (2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT).

In the same way that we commit to God, it was God first through Jesus, that, ‘was reconciling the world… … and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation‘ (2 Corinthians 5:19 NIV). And the message of reconciliation, was a pair of out-stretched arms, ‘For God so loved the world‘ (John 3:16). God loves us and wants us all to be part of Him in the Church.

In the 80’s, Wham had ‘T’ shirts with big bold writing on them saying ‘choose life’ printed on them; we can still do that, choose life, choose Jesus; in this new year, re-commit your life to the Lord of All Creation, for, ‘if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).

Choose to commit to God, choose to live for the King of Kings, choose to serve Him who saves us, ‘Choose Life‘.

Worthy of praise - John 17 v 3

 

Lead me LORD in your righteousness, make your way straight before me. Spread your protection over those who love your name, may the rejoice in you. We know that in the morning, you hear our voice as we lay our requests before you, watch over our ways Lord, keep us righteous. Let us be glad under your protection, as we consider your creation, we stand in awe that you have time for us, you have time even for me, to make known the path of my  life, my life is full of joy in your presence. You are my rock LORD, you are my shield and salvation, your forget my sins and count them not against me, and instruct me in your ways. Though people may shun me throughout my life, you alone will receive me, always. There is only one thing I ask LORD, may I dwell in your house for the rest of my days, and be happy in your presence.        

 (Psalms)

I tasted the world, seen more than enough, it’s promises fleeting.
Of water and wine I emptied the cup and found myself wanting
But there is a well that never runs dry
The water of life, the blood of the Vine

And all I know is everything
I have means nothing
Jesus, if You’re not my one thing
Everything I need right now
All I need is You right now

‘Cuz all I want is
Everything you are and nothing
Jesus if you’re not my one thing
Everything to me right now

One Thing (Hillsong)
J.Houston, A. King, Dylan Thomas

 

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Father God, as we enter a new year, help us to look again at our lives and consider how we may serve you in the coming year. Help us to be receptive to your voice, help us to hear you when you speak, help us to be still and wait upon you, Lord we love you so much and wish in this coming year to show that by our commitment to you, to serve you where you would want us to.
Lord we pray for all leaders at this time, with all the situations that they face, strengthen and renew them with your peace and love, and surround them with people that will support them in prayer and love. Lord they may lead us, but they are just like us, so be with them and let them know your peace in their lives.

Amen

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

Christian

I’m in love, I’m in love, and I do’t care who knows it (Buddy the Elf)

 “The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” (Victor Hugo)

We know we are loved. We know, ‘this is how God loved the world; He gave his one and only Son‘ (John 3:16 NLT). Not only did He give His Son for us, but, ‘God demonstrates his own love for us… While we were still sinners, Christ died for us‘ (Romans 5:8 NIV); and not only that, ‘at just the right time… … Christ died‘ (Romans 5:6 NIV).

You may ask “why did He do this?” ‘This is how God showed his love among us… … This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins‘ (1 John 4:9-10 NIV). He did it because he loves us, unconditionally (John 3:16).

The Psalmist David knew that God loved him, ‘How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!‘ (Psalm 36:7 NIV); and had plans for Him, ‘You make know to me the path of life‘ (Psalm 16:11 NIV), we too can read those words as if they were written to us now, today. God has a plan for all of our lives, ‘They are plans for good… to give you a future and a hope‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT); David agrees with this for he wrote, ‘Many…  are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us’ (Psalm 40:5 NIV).

Paul reminds us, when writing to the Church at Corinth, of the greatest thing that we have, ‘Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love‘ (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT). We love not only because Jesus told us to (Matthew 22:37-40), but because, ‘we live by faith, not by sight‘ (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV); but ultimately, ‘we know and rely on the love God has for us‘ (1 Thessalonians 4:6 NIV). And God’s love is like the following statement by an unknown author, ‘I choose you. And I’ll choose you over and over and over. Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat. I’ll keep choosing you.‘ (Anon). That is how much God loves us.

“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)

4 advent - love

The Little Baby

The little baby, so tiny and small,
Was born and slept in a cattle stall.
No riches or fame, were in his life,
just plain, and normal everyday strife.

Tempted by the devil  tho’ he was,
But passed the test, first class.
For you and me, he died on the cross,
To ensure our lives are rescued from loss.

Each year, we celebrate his birth,
With presents, joy, and lots of mirth.
So hold him deep within our heart,
And never ever, from him depart.

 

Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete!

(Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is born
Of the virgin Mary.  Rejoice!)

 Now the time of grace has come, 
Let us raise our voices;
Promised hope has now appeared,
All mankind rejoices!

God is born into our world,
Nature celebrating;
Everything is now made new,
Christ the King is reigning.

The eastern gate Ezekiel saw
Closed, is standing open;
Light is streaming to the world,
Showing our salvation.

Therefore let us sing aloud,
Celebrate this story;
Let our praises now resound 
To the King of Glory!

Traditional Latin carol (c.1582)

 

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Father God, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of your dear Son, help us to look again at the story in the Bible and to fully rely on and accept the truth of the word. Help us to live the love that came down on that first Christmas, and help us to keep Christ IN Christmas. Help us to show others at this time of year, that without your Son, there is no Christmas, and that Christ is the reason for the season.
Lord we pray  for the people who will be sleeping rough out on the streets of the world, be with them and the people that will go out to feed them and minister to them, help them to feel our love by their actions.
Lord we pray for the people of the Philippines at this time, help the aid workers that go there to help rescue and give help. We pray that your Spirit will be with them at this time.

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

 

 

 

 

Christian

Christmas, or, CHRISTmas!

‘Tis the season to be jolly (T. Oliphant)

At this time of year, the clocks have been turned back, the nights are drawing in, and they are getting darker earlier and earlier, and it is getting colder and colder, we can think of how lucky we are to be living in comfortable houses or flats, with a proper roof over our heads, with money in our pockets and food in the cupboards. Many in this world have little of the comfort that we can enjoy, and some even do not have food in the cupboard, let alone roofs over their heads.

Jesus’ start in life, was very similar to this, He was born with nor proper roof over His or His parents’ heads due to a census being called by the Rome empire; born in a stable (Luke 2:1-7), very humble beginnings, yet this would not stop the story unfolding as God foretold it (Isaiah 9:6-7) and willed it.

As we light the first of the Advent candles, and look at the light of the candle, we think of, and celebrate hope, hope for the whole world, because Jesus was sent by God, to save the whole world (John 3:16).

As the Psalmist said, we should ‘put our [your] hope in God‘ (Psalm 42:5 NIV), and at another said, ‘we [I] have put our [my] hope in your word‘ (Psalm 119:74). The Lord want us to turn to him, and to love Him, because, ‘the LORD delights in those… … who put their hope in his unfailing love‘ (Psalm 147:11 NIV).

The hope we have in our Lord Jesus Christ, is an eternal hope, ‘if only for this life we have hope in Christ‘ (1 Corinthians 15:19 NIV), and, ‘in this hope we are [were] saved‘ (Romans 8:24 NIV), and with this hope, we can be joyous in life (Romans 12:12). The scriptures give us everything that we need, they are spiritual food for us and give us encouragement, that we, ‘might have hope‘ (Romans 15:4 NIV).

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, Paul said that our hope should not be put in the things of the world, but we should, ‘put our [their] hope in God‘ (1 Timothy 6:17 NIV).

What do you put your hope in?

1 advent - hope

HOPE, PEACE, LOVE & JOY

In the weeks up to the time of year that we celebrate the birth of the most important person ever to have lived, we live in a period called Advent, which has been celebrated since the fourth century. The word Advent is derived from the Latin word for ‘coming’. The world would be upon His shoulders, (Isaiah 9:6) but would he be the King that everyone was waiting for?

The First Noel, on a Silent Night, Holy Night, While Shepherd Watched Their Flocks by night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing to the shepherds, about the birth of the Messiah (Luke 2:8-17), Angels From The Realms Of Glory, brought Joy To The World.

Wise men sought Him, and went to visit Him, (Matthew 2:1-2). Wise men today still seek Jesus; He  said that we should, ‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else‘ (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

Do we do that?

 

When faith is shaken, when fears surround, my feet will stand on solid ground. In every season, my song will be

 In every breath, every joy and tear, every passing hour, let me know You’re near. In life, in death, for eternity, Oh God be here with me

Here With Me – (Pocketful of Faith #1

T. Hughes, P. Wickham, N. Herbert

 

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Lord we thank you for your great love for us, and the hope that it gives to us. Help us to live with that hope at the front of our thoughts. Help us to seek your will for our lives, and to follow you and to live as you did, showing your love to all those who we come into contact with in our day to day lives. Help us to be salt and light to a world in need.

Lord we know that you have a plan for all of our lives, and that this plan will be for the betterment of us. Help us to look to you in all things, and to be willing to trust you in all aspects of our lives, that you will provide for us in all areas. Lord we know that you love us unfailingly, help us to love you better.

Amen

Christian

The Whole World Needs Him

Christ for the whole wide world‘ (Hattie Bell Allen 1896-1981)

In everything that we do, every relationship that we have, every decision that we make, we should always consider the fact that we are children of the Living God! A few years ago, people started to were bracelets with the letters W.W.J.D., and the letters stood for, ‘What Would Jesus Do?‘ if every Christian would act like this, then the world would be a much better place.

Living our life, considering how Jesus would react, how He would deal with a situation; how He would speak, listen, act and love, would show His light and love to the world around us. Unfortunately, being human means that this is not easy. Jesus, when teaching about enemies said that we are to love everyone including our enemies, then people will know that we are, ‘children of the Most High‘ (Luke 6:35 NLT). Loving people that we like and care for is easy, but loving the people that we do not get along with, the people who annoy us, the people who spread gossip about us, that is the difficult part, but we are called to do it. We can only do these things if we are with God, ‘apart from me [Jesus] you can do nothing‘ (John 15:5 NIV); if we are separated from God, we do not have the strength, not on our own.

We should base all of our relationships on what God has told us through the words of Jesus; what He did and how He did it, and how He taught, and also by the fact that we know that God loves us so much, (John 3:16).

Jeremiah wrote a letter to exiled Israelite’s whilst they were living in Babylon, telling them what God had for each of their lives, ‘For I know the plans I have for you… .. to give you a good future and a hope‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT); even the Psalmist David knew that the Lord would, ‘teach me [you] in the way I [you] should go‘ (Psalm 32:8 NIV).

God knows what plans there are for our lives, David even noted this by saying, ‘all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be‘ (Psalm 139:16 NIV).

We need to trust that God knows what is best for us.

Ask God what that plan is, and then start living His great plan for our lives.

 

World map

If we do not show other people Christ in our lives, or if we do not share the love of God with others, are we actually doing what Jesus commanded us to do?

Jesus told His disciples that, as you go about your business, when you get the chance, you should share the love of God, and that of the Good News of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, with those around you, and also teach them to obey all that I (Jesus) have commanded you  (Matt 28:19-20).

He is truly Christ, for the whole wide world

 

 

Lord please, I ask that you show me your plan, for my life it is dreary, and I need some focus. Help me to seek, and to search, and to find, help me to see, and no longer be blind.

Lord will you show me how I can be bolder, it’s hard for me Lord, for I cower from the crowd, help me to be, the salt and the light, take me and use me, to fight in your fight.

Lord will you use me, to  show others it’s true, that only with you, will my life be fulfilled.
My part in this story I willingly play, Lord, please help me to show some people your way.

 

 

Spent today in a conversation, in the mirror face to face with somebody less than perfect I wouldn’t choose me first if I was looking for a champion. In fact I’d understand  if you picked everyone before me, but that’s just not my story. True to who You are, you saw my heart and made something out of nothing.

I don’t need my name in lights, I’m famous in my Father’s eyes. Make no mistake, He knows my name.

He Knows My Name – S.Mosley, F. Battistelli, M. Fieldes

 

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Lord we thank you for your great love for us, we know that we are loved and cherished as your children, and as you children we need you to help us to show others your great love, mercy and grace. Help others to see you through the way that we live our lives. May we be lights for a dark world, help us to show your way to people around us, help them to see you in us.

Lord we pray for all the situations around the world where your love and hope are needed. May the people that respond to disasters everywhere fell you with them at all times. May your love go with them, and show them the way to help. may your love show through their actions, and be a blessing to all those that are ministered to.

Amen