Christian

Remember!

we will remember them.‘ (R L Binyon)

Ever since 11 November 1919, in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, where the first Armistice Day was celebrated, we have remembered the fallen. In Ypres, the fire brigade there remember the fallen every night, at 20:00, the road through the Menin Gate is closed and the fire brigade march from the nearby station to the gate, they play The Last Post and Reveille, and then March back; it is a very moving experience to witness.

As with the last 98 years, at this time of year we join with people everywhere in remembering those brave men and women, who laid down their lives for their belief of freedom, for their families, and their friends. We may not know who they were, but we still remember. That is why their sacrifice is so poignant.

We need remember everything that the brave men and women did and still do for us during times of conflict, as without them, truly, the world would be very different.

We should also remember that another well known sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Soldiers are not perfect people as they go out willingly to protect us and keep us safe; Jesus was, for ‘by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy‘ (Hebrews 10:14 NIV). Paul in his letter to the Hebrews reminded them of the fact that Jesus was perfect (Hebrews 5:8-9 NIV), and that He  ‘became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him‘ (v 9).

Jesus said, ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life‘ (John 15:13 NLT) and the laying down their lives is what we will be remembering, but Jesus continued saying, ‘lay down one’s life for one’s friends‘ (v 13). Jesus said to His disciples, that ‘You [they and us] are my friends if you do what I command‘ (John 15:14 NIV).

How much are you willing to do for your family and friends?

How much are you willing to do for Jesus?

Avenham Park, Preston.jpgAvenham Park, Preston (2014)

 

For the Fallen (R L Binyon 1869-1943)

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit.
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into mortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

Straight of limb, true of eye,
steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a wellspring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the night.

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

 

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Father God, we thank you for your great love for us, which you showed when you sent your Son to die for us. Help us not to be selfish, and self-centred and to start living and loving like he did. This world desperately needs your love, as without it, men, women and children will keep dying in senseless wars that solve nothing. We know that the only way is through Jesus, the way and the truth. Help us to show that way to others through the love that we show in our lives, help us to be better.

Lord we pray for peace for all families that are remembering someone they lost due to conflict, bring them peace as only you can. Wrap your loving arms around them, and be with them always.

Amen

 

 

Christian

Light of the World

lightning flashed toward the earth.‘ (Exodus 10:23 NLT)

In the beginning, ‘the power of God was moving across the water.‘ (Genesis 1:2 GNB). The was nothing else there at that time, only God, because, ‘In the beginning God created‘ (Genesis 1:1 NLT). ‘The earth was without for and void‘ (Genesis 1:2 ESV).

The first thing God did, was to say, ‘“Let there be light”… … God saw that the light was good‘ (Genesis 1:3 ESV). We need to bask in  the light of our loving, mighty, caring Father God. Isaiah was telling the Israelites about how they should live and what they and us should do, and this is to, ‘walk in the light of the LORD‘ (Isaiah 2:5 ESV).

It is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination, the devil and the world try to drag us in, and away from God, but Paul told the Romans, and us what to do if found in that situation, ‘give your bodies to God… … … Don’t copy the behaviour of the [this] world‘ (Romans 12:1 & 2 NLT). The reason that Paul says to not be taken in by the things of the world, is that our, ‘adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion‘ and the reason he prowls around, is that he is, ‘seeking someone to devour‘ (1 Peter 5:8 ESV). If we are devoured by the devil, we will lose our hope of eternal life with our Father.

We need to, ‘Remain in Christ [me]‘ for we ‘cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me‘ (John 15:4 NLT). To do this, all we have to do, is open the door and let Jesus, the light of the world (John 8:12) enter our life, for, ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it‘ (John 1:5 ESV). As Christians, we need to live decent honest lives, because, ‘what is true comes to the light‘ (John 3:21 ESV), and once you have light, you do not hide it, (Matthew 5:14-16). Sometimes, in the darkness we can feel oppressed, or under attack from the devil, but in fact, ‘we are a spear, piercing the darkness and pushing the light of Christ into an otherwise dark world’.

All we have to do is listen and respond, and we too can have the light of God living within us. ‘Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his house‘ (Revelation 3:20 GNB).

God the stars are your fireworks

 

the-strength-from-within-any-lengths-daily-quotes-sayings-picturesFaith like fireworks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a little flame inside us all, some shine bright, some shine small. The rains will come and the waters rise, but don’t you ever lose your light.

In this life you will know, love and pain, joy and sorrow. So when it hurts, when times get hard, don’t forget whose child you are.

One day there will be no more pain, and we will finally see Jesus’ face. So until then I’m gonna try, to brave the dark and let my little light shine

This Little Light of Mine

Addison Road (Stories #3)

Ryan Gregg / Jennie Stiefel

 

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Father God, Creator, Friend, Saviour, we thank you that you are indeed the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. We thank you for entering into our lives and filling us with light and love. Help us to always show the light you have given us to others, that they may see or experience your love and great mercy and be changed, for how can we see or experience you  and not be changed Lord. You are a mighty awesome God, and we thank you for everything that you give to us day by day.

Lord we pray for Joyce and Ralph at this time, and their extended family, be with them in a mighty way, may they feel your presence and your peace at this time, comfort them and fill them with your love and peace that passes all understanding.

Amen

 

 

 

 

Christian

Tempted?

he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.‘ (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

Temptation is always just around the corner, and seems more prevalent in the good times of our lives.

Whenever we are tempted though, we can always find a way out if we look for it, if we look to God, and we will always find Him, ‘when you seek me with all your heart‘ (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV).

We are love so much by our amazing God (John 3:16), that whilst we were still sinners, ‘Christ died for the ungodly‘ (Romans 5:8 ESV). We also know that, ‘our old self was crucified with him‘ (Romans 6:6 NIV), we are new people. When we were crucified with Christ, ‘the body ruled by sin was [might be] done away with‘ (Romans 6:6 NIV).

When temptation comes near us, we need to submit ourselves to a higher power and let ourselves be, ‘ruled by God and make war on the Evil One‘ (James 4:7 BBE – Bible in basic Eglish). It is important to remember that Jesus was also tempted (Matthew 4:1-11), but he resisted, ‘he himself suffered when he was tempted‘ (Hebrews 2:18 NIV) the difference between man and Jesus is that he was, ‘without sin‘ (Hebrews 4:15 ESV).

If we stand with God and trust in him, we can, ‘resist the devil, and he will flee‘ (James 4:7 NIV). The best way to resist the devil is to keep, ‘praying at all times in the Spirit‘ (Ephesians 6:18 ESV). We also need to, ‘Take up God’s instruments of war‘ which will allow us ‘to keep our [your] position against all the deceits of the Evil One‘ (Ephesians 6:11 BBE).

The Devil is cunning and will use his many tricks in order to try to get us to stray from the path that God has for us. The path that God has chosen for us is god for us, it will not cause us any harm (Jeremiah 29:11), the path the Devil wants us to travel, may look enticing and easy, but ultimately, it will lead to misery, our destruction, and the loss of our hope of eternal life, ‘For the reward of sin is death‘ (Romans 6:23 BBE).

We need to remember that in all situations, if we, ‘come near to God, [and] he will come near to us [you]‘ (James 4:8 NIV). If we stay close and trust in God, ‘the free gift… is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord‘ (Romans 6:23 ESV).

Surely that is worth everything!

 

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When I look to the sky and the heavens, your magnificence is evident there. Throughout the day and the night, they reveal to me much wisdom. They do not share this wisdom through speech, which cloud in the sky can talk, and what might the stars say? Yet still the words of Your creation Lord reach the ends of the earth. The sun runs through the sky like a mighty athlete running after his prize, like a bridegroom hastening to his wedding day. The sun shares Your glory with all creation, nowhere is it’s warmth missed. Lord your laws are true and just, and they refresh the very core of my being, they give me wisdom and joy in following your commands O Mighty Sovereign. All of the decrees set out by Your hand are righteous and good, they are more precious than all the wealth of the world, they are good food to my soul, Lord, may they stay in my heart forever.

Psalm 19:1-10

 

A needy sinner at thy feet, with broken heart I bow, for pardon at thy mercy seat; O Jesus, save me now.

Strong friend of sinners, hear my cry, and set my sad heart free; my sins demand that I should die, But I believe in thee.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee. O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee.

Salvation Army Song Book (new edition) 484 – v 1, 2 & chorus

C. Strang, E. E. Steele Elliott

 

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Lord we thank you for showing us through your Son that temptation can be beaten, that the devil has lost, and that you are the glorious winner. Help us to fully rely on you in all situations where we may be tempted to stray, stay with us and hold us tight that we may never stray from your presence.

Lord we pray for all of the corps that make up the area we live in , Staffordshire. Lord may they all feel your presence in whatever they may do and whenever they may do it. Help the leaders of the corps to look for your leading and follow your will in all that they do and say and plan. Help your light to shine through all that happens in this area, now and always.

Amen

Christian

Serving in Leadership

The servant-leader… … begins with the natural feeling that one wants to… serve first.‘ (R. K. Greenleaf)

When the mother of Zebedee’s sons went to ask Jesus if He would let her sons sit either side of Him when He was in His Kingdom, Jesus said to her that it was not for Him to grant that request. All she wanted was for her sons to be at the top, seen as the ‘best of the best’. We all want the best for our children, but only God can give them that, He has a plan for all of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). ‘Best of the best‘ is normally a phrase  used when people are talking about someone is at the ‘top of their game‘.

Jesus did not want to be thought of as ‘the best‘. He was not concerned about what people thought about Him, for Him, it was all about God; He knew who He was, He said ‘I am the bread of life‘ (John 6:35 & 48 NIV). Not only did He say that, later He used another phrase to inform the people around Him, how important He was to the world, ‘I am the light of the world‘ (John 8:12 & 9:5 NIV); yet following this, He was serving by washing the disciples feet (John 13). People do not necessarily need to shout-out about who they are and what they are doing. A famous servant-leader is quoted as saying ‘Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love‘ (Mother Teresa).

Do we do things for love, or for the adulation of others?

Jesus gave a famous command to every-one, and He said ‘A new command I give to you; Love one another‘ (John 13:34 NIV). Jesus was not only a servant-leader, but he came here to serve us in an amazing way, with love, He did something that He knew we could never do, ‘He came to pay a debt He did not owe; [for] I owed a debt I could not pay.’ (Ellis J Crum). Jesus served us the best way He could, ‘Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life‘ (John 15:13 NIV), and He loved to the utmost.

Are we servants / servant-leaders, do we serve in love, or for love of others?

 

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Leadership is a position that some people want and aspire to, but God knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11), He knows everything about us, the Psalmist David knew this (Psalm 139), he also knew that God would guide us (Psalm 32:8 NIV).

Some people may not be pleased with God’s plan for them, Moses was one of these. Although he answered God when he was spoken to, but when told what to do, he said, ‘Who am I, that I should go‘ (Exodus 3:11 NIV). God tried to persuade Moses that with His help he could do it, but Moses continued to argue, God became angry, but in the end, God decided that Moses would lead, but Aaron would speak for Him, (Exodus 4:14).

 Jeremiah also was not happy about being called, he said that he was too young and did not know how to speak out, (Jeremiah 1:6).

Samuel however was ready to serve in any way necessary, for when God spoke to him, he replied, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening‘ (1 Samuel 3:10 NIV).

Are we ready to lead and / or serve?

 

From heav’n you came helpless babe, entered our world, your glory veiled; not to be served but to serve, and give your life that we might live.

This is our God, the Servant King, he calls us now to follow him, to bring our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant King

So let us learn how to serve, and in our lives enthrone him; each other’s needs to prefer, for it is Christ we’re serving.

From Heaven You Came (The Servant King)

Graham Kendrick

 

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Lord we thank you for showing us through your Son that leading and serving are both possible, and that they should be embraced to bring glory to your name. Hel us to be ready to serve those that others may not want to, help us to serve those that most need it, help us to discern your plan for our lives that we may show your love and your light everywhere we go.

Father we thank you for your great love for us, help us to show that love to others around us in our daily lives, help us to be beacons of your light to a dark and broken world; it is so important for us that we live our lives according to your will, but Lord we are human and frail, so we need your help constantly, be patient with us we pray.

Amen

 

 

Christian

Our Home in Heaven

an eternal house… not built by human hands‘ (2 Cor 5:1 NIV)

Moses and the tribes of the  Israelites, did not live in houses. The Israelites lived in tents, for they were a nomadic people. The Merriam Webster online dictionary, describes nomadic as; roaming about from place to place aimlessly, frequently, or without a fixed pattern of movement. The Israelites were definitely not wandering about aimlessly, frequently they moved, but it was planned,  for God had a plan for them, and was leading them, by day He was a pillar of cloud, and by night He lead them by being a pillar of fire, (Exo 13:21, Num 14:14). They travelled through the desert for forty years, with God guiding them constantly.

God has a plan for everyone’s life, yours and mine, and we need to be open to His leading; the Psalmist David knew this, for he wrote, ‘You make known to me the path of life‘ (Psalm 16:11 NIV). David knew that God was a great God and would ‘instruct him [you] and teach him [you] in the way he [you] should go‘ (Psalm 32:8 ESV). Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles, commented that God knew what was best for us, and that He could and would guides us, for God had told him ‘ For I know the plans I have for you‘ (Jer 29:11 NIV).

Paul in writing to the people in Corinth said, that ‘while we are still in this tent, we groan‘ (2 Cor 5:4 ESV), but ultimately, our hope is in our eternal life with our Lord, as Peter said to Jesus, ‘You have the words of eternal life‘ (John 6:68 NIV). On one day, Jesus was comforting His disciples and said, ‘In my Father’s house… … … I go to prepare a place for you‘ (John 14:2 & 3 ESV). The days of our wandering are completed when we trust Jesus to guide us to the source of all life, our Great Almighty, Father God in whom all who believe, will find rest.

 

Saved by Grace

 

For he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones‘ (Prov 2:8 NIV). We should remember to, ‘trust in the LORD with all our [your] heart and lean not on our [your] own understanding; in all our [your] ways submit to him, and he will make our [your] paths straight‘ (Prov 8:5-6 NIV). As a Christian, ‘do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in our [your] power to act‘ (Prov 3:27 NIV). ‘Let our [your] eyes look straight ahead; fix our [your] gaze directly before you‘ (Prov 4:25 NIV). We know that ‘our [your] ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all our [your] paths‘ (Prov 5:21 NIV). In all our dealings with other Christians, we should remember, ‘The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy‘ (Prov 12:22 NIV) and that, ‘anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up‘ (Prov 12:25 NIV). But ultimately the one thing that we should remember , is, ‘The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good‘ (Prov 15:3 NIV).

 

I have a Home that is fairer than day, And my dear Saviour has shown me the way; Oft when I’m sad and temptations arise, I look to my home far away.

My Home is in Heaven, there is no parting there, All will be happy, glorious, bright and fair; There’ll be no sorrow, there will be no tears, In that bright Home far away.

O who will journey to Heaven with me? Jesus has died that we all may be free; Come then to him who has laid up for you, A crown in that Home far away.

Salvation Army Song Book (new edition) 537 verse 1, chorus, verse 3

Ada Mary Nisbett (c 1866 – 1931)

 

downloadLord we thank you for loving us and giving us a path to walk on, through our lives with you. Help us to stay true to your will, to put you first before all things, help us not to be drawn to the things of this world that will separate us from you. Lord you are the first and the last, be the first thing in our lives each day, and the last thing in our day as we lay down to sleep.

Lord we pray for ministers in every place around the world, may they be filled with the mighty power of your Spirit, fill them with the wisdom of the Bible that they may teach what you have put in their hearts. Help them to be mighty in your word yet humble in their walk with you as testament to your power and will.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

Christian

Only Love

in his love he will no longer rebuke you‘ (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

Paloma Faith sang ‘Only love can hurt like this‘, but true love does not really hurt, true love give and gives and gives again. Jesus told us, ‘Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends‘ (John 15:13 NIV). Jesus did not just speak words, He put the words into action, because, ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us‘ (Romans 5:8 NIV).

Tracy Chapman sang that, ‘Words don’t come easily, Like I love you’. Jesus gave everyone, ‘A new command‘ (John 13:34 NIV), and the new command was to love, ‘Love each other. Just as I have loved you‘ (John 13:34 NLT). We already know that God love us, and love us so, so much. We can read about God’s love for us in John 3:16, and in many passages within the Bible. Jesus also said that if we love each other with a true selfless love, ‘As I have loved you‘ (v 34), if we love as commanded, we are displaying exactly the correct characteristics that are necessary for, ‘everyone to [will] know that you are my disciples‘ (John 13:35 NIV).

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, ‘Love will last forever‘ (1 Cor 13:8 NLT). He wrote, ‘Love is patient‘ (v 4),but are we always with the people we love? He wrote, ‘love is kind‘ (v 4), but are we to the people we love? He wrote, ‘it is not easily angered‘ (v 5) but do people make us angry and lead us from the presence of God?

God needs to be at the centre of everything.

He may not have been speaking about God, but Ed Sheeran wrote the words, ‘All that you are is all that I’ll ever need.

I hope we can all echo those words about our God;

Lord in all things, you are all I will ever need.

Love can build bridges, it can repair lives, it can point the way to our Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

 

 

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Whitney Houston sang the words, ‘If tomorrow is judgment day, and I’m standing on the front line, and the Lord asks me what I did with my life, I will say I spent it with you’ (My Love Is Your Love); Leanne Rimes sang the words, ‘When it comes to loving you, You’re my only reason, You’re my only truth.’ (I Need You). Adele sang that she would, ‘Go to the ends of the Earth for you, to make you feel my love’ (Make You Feel My Love).

These are lovely sentiments about love, but do they really show love? Do they show the kind of love that we want or desperately need in our lives?

We need the kind of love that gives and gives, and gives again, unconditionally. And love like that, is pure love, and only comes from one place, it is God’s love. Bob Marley sang, ‘I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love‘ (Waiting in Vain). We do not have to wait in vain for love.

God loves, and He loves us! Always and unconditionally!

 

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Amazing grace, How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I’m found, Was blind, but now I see, ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved, How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believed, My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God, my Saviour has, ransomed me, And like a flood His mercy rains, Unending love, Amazing grace,

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)

John Newton, John P. Ross, Edwin Othello Excell, Chris Tomlin, and Louie Giglio

 

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Lord we thank you for loving us unconditionally; right from the very beginning you loved us, you loved us before we loved you, and you still love us when we done something that hurts you. You are an amazing God, worthy of so much praise and honour, yet we keep on hurting you. Help us Lord, for without you we are nothing, without you we can do nothing. We need you in our lives, guiding us and showing us the way you want us to go, the path that you have got for each of our lives. Show us how to love like you, to love the people that hurt us, to love and love and love again. Lord we are yours and we want to be yours always, help us to trust you and follow you more closely in all that we do, that we                                           may one day be like you, truly loving.                                        Amen

Christian

Trust & Obey

Trust that everything happens for a reason, even when you’re not wise enough to see it ‘ (Oprah)

Do we really trust that everything that happens to us, happens for a reason, even if, at that very moment we cannot understand it, as Oprah said? If we turn a corner, just as the person we want to see arrives at that exact same corner, do we call that a mere coincidence, or do we call it a ‘God-instance’?

God wants the very best for us, and the reason He wants the very best for us, is because He loves us, and loves us to such an extent that He will do anything for us. He loves us so much; ‘he gave his one and only Son‘ (John 3:16 NIV), and whoever believes in Him, ‘shall not perish but have eternal life‘ (v 16).

God did all this, even though we disappoint Him and sin. He still loves us, and loves us so much that, ‘Whilst we were still sinners, Christ died for us‘ (Rom 5:8 NIV).

The Psalmist knew that God would, ‘instruct him [you] and teach him [you] in the way he [you] should go‘ (Psalm 32:8 NIV). We really need to trust God to know what is best for us, for He said, ‘For I know the plans I have for you‘ (Jer 29:11 NIV). God knows what He has planned for us, and as long as we follow His plan, we will be able to say as the Psalmist said, ‘Many, LORD my God, are… … the things you planned for us‘ (Psalm 40:5 NIV).

We need to trust God and follow His commands for our life, Jesus to His disciples that ‘apart from me you can do nothing‘ (John 15:5 NIV). If we are not apart, then we are with Him, and ‘if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation‘ (2 Cor 5:17 ESV). Be new for Christ, and boldly trust God with your life. It is worth it!

 

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When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His word, what a glory He sheds on our way; while we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, but His smile quickly drives it away; not a doubt nor a fear, not a sigh  nor a tear, can abide while we trust and obey. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, but our toil he doth richly repay; not a grief nor a loss, not a frown nor a cross, but is blessed if we trust and obey. But we never can prove, the delights of His love, until all on the alter we lay; for the favour he shows, and the joy He bestows, are for them who will trust and obey. Then in fellowship sweet, we will sit at His feet, or we’ll walk by His side in the way; what He says He will do, where He sends we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey. Trust and Obey for there’s no other way.

J. H. Sammis (1846-1919)

 

When confusion’s my companion, And despair holds me for  ransom, I will feel no fear, I know that You are near. When I’m caught deep in the valley, with chaos for my company, I’ll find my comfort here, ’cause I know that You are near. My help comes from You, you’re right here, pulling me through. You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders, Your shoulders. My help comes from You. You are my rest, my rescue, I don’t have to see t believe that, You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders, your shoulders

Shoulders – For King & Country

J & L. Smallbone, Tedd T, B. Glover

 

Lord we thank you for Love in our lives and that you love us so much that your Son came to die for us. Help us to fully rely and trust on you to guide our lives that we may glorify your name forever. May we be beacons of light to all that we meet in our day to day lives, that they will also want the love you give us and to live for you and your glory.

Amen