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

 

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

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?

 

Servant-leadership-ghandi-help-others-1024x576

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!

 

chains

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