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?

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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

I knew I was NEW!

the new creation has come‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Different translations change the words slightly; and the New Living Translation says that, ‘anyone  who belongs to Christ has become a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT), we can start afresh in His eyes..

We all know that we are not a new person really, but Christ does not see our past. Moses, when receiving the stone tablets for the second time, as God passed in front of him, heard the voice of God say, ‘The LORD, slow to anger, abounding in love… … maintaining love… .. and forgiving wickedness‘ (Exodus 34:6-7 NLT).

Speaking about compassion, Micah knew that when we repent of our sin, ‘you [God] will tread our sins underfoot‘ and not only that, they will be, ‘thrown into the depths of the ocean‘ (Micah 7:19 NLT). The Psalmist David knew that once we confessed our sins as Jesus taught the disciples (Matthew 6:12), then, ‘you [Lord] forgave the iniquity of my sin‘ (Psalm 32:5 ESV). The Lord said through Jeremiah, ‘I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins‘ (Jeremiah 31:34 NLT). When writing to the Romans, Paul said ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven‘ (Romans 4:7 ESV) Once we have repented, our sins are forgiven, ‘Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away‘, and not just that, ‘you [God] have comforted me‘  (Isaiah 12:1 NIV).

Paul reminded the Galatians, ‘What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation‘ (Galatians 6:15 NLT); he also reminded the Ephesians, ‘put on the new self, created in the likeness of God‘ (Ephesians 4:24 ESV); and as we are new, we also have, ‘a white stone, with a new name written on‘ (Revelation 2:17 ESV). And for our part, ‘what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God‘ (Micah 6:8 NIV).

And what happens after this? ‘he [God] will be the source of peace‘ (Micah 5:5 NLT) in our lives. The one thing to remember is that our great and awesome God, is, ‘God of my salvation‘ (Isaiah 12:2 NIV).

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Seeking God more than we do other things, is what we are taught to do, ‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else‘ (Matthew 6:33 NLT). For we know that eventually, ‘at the name of Jesus every knee will bow‘ (Philippians 2:10 NIV). When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said, ‘Pray like this; Our Father in Heaven… … May your will be done… .. forgive us of our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us‘ (Matthew 6:9,10,12 NLT). Whatever we do, ‘the heavenly Father to whom you pray… … He will judge or reward according to what you do‘ (1 Peter 1:17 NLT). Paul told the Romans that he did what he did not want to do, and vice versa. We need to  do everything that we do, as we should do it, We should live Godly lives, but we cannot do it alone, ‘Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies‘ (1 Peter 4:11 NLT).

 

I may not walk on water 
but I’ve seen the rolling seas
Never have I told the wind to calm
but I’ve felt it’s mighty breeze
and I can’t pretend that Noah
and I were life-long friends
but when a rainbow blocks my vision
a flood of messages he sends me

and you and I cannot ignore that
Jesus Christ is Lord of all and
every knee will hit the floor
Because Jesus Christ is Lord

Don’t ask me how an acorn
becomes a mighty tree
but if seeing is believing
then I guess I must believe
You know there’s got to be a maker
behind this universe
‘Cause no one in their right mind
would say it all fell into place

Jesus Christ is Lord – (Secrets of Life #6)
Nia Jones, Mal Pope

 

downloadFather God, we thank you that with our repentance and your forgiveness, we can become mighty men and women of God, serving you in whatever you want us to do. Help us to look to you at all times, whether things are going well or going not so well. Lord we know that we can do all things through the strength that comes from you, help us always to rely on it and you.
Father we thank you for the opportunities that we have to share the Good News of your Son, coming to earth, living with us, preaching about you, dying for our sins, and rising from death. We know that death has been defeated, and that we can look forward to having a home with you eternally.

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