Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Dear God… …Amen!

“Dear God” Amen’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p1).

Have you ever been abroad on holiday with friends, and gone to a country where no-one in the group knows how to speak the local language? The only proper conversations that you will likely have during your stay will probably be with them, unless you meet others who speak your language.

I like to go to different places and explore the surrounding countryside, but I also like to learn some of the local language, even if it is only to say hello, please, and thank-you and good-bye.

Have you ever really tried to have a proper in-depth conversation with someone that speaks a different language?

I have; I remember once speaking to an Aunt who lived abroad, and was over in England visiting another of my relatives. I was having a conversation with her, using bits of English, French, sign-language, and even a little German. I soon became aware of the fact that she could not understand me properly, so I started to speak louder to her. My other Aunt, who was also present, then said to me;

she does not understand you, shouting at her will not help, as she will still not understand you, she speaks Spanish, she is not stupid”.

I thought that this statement was a little harsh until I started to watch other people also try to have conversations in the same way that I had.

But, whatever situation we find ourselves in, there is always someone that we can talk to, no matter where we find ourselves, and whatever language we speak. We do not need to go to their house, we do not need an internet connection, there will be no ‘face-time’, video call or text; the person that we can always talk to is God!

Wherever we are, we have absolute, direct access, ‘back-stage-pass’ if you like, to the creator of the universe. So we can talk to him anytime that we want to, we do not need an appointment, we do not need to schedule some ‘together-time’ we just need to call out to him, as David did;

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry’ (Psalm 40:1 NIV).

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer’ (Psalm 61:1 NIV).

But does God really care for us, or have surplus time for us?

Of course God cares for us; he even created us to like him;

So God created man in his own image… … male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:27 ESV).

The Psalmist David also asked questions about God and his people;

what is mankind that you are mindful of them… that you care for them’ (Psalm 8:4 NIV).

God created you and me, on purpose, and for a purpose! We were planned and created.

We know that whatever we have done, wherever we are, God is also there with us;

Never will I leave you’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).

Jesus also told the disciples the same thing;

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20 NIV).

And even if everyone else in your family or circle of friends leaves you, you will never be truly alone;

the LORD will receive you [me]’ (Psalm 27:10 NIV – emphasis mine).

So we know that the creator of the universe, the creator of you and me is always with us, then having a conversation whenever we want, is not a problem. Is it?

So how do we really talk to God?

Do we need to get on our knees? No but it may help you feel humble about meeting God in prayer!

Do I have to close my eyes? No but it may help you concentrate on God.

What do I do then?

Well we go somewhere we are comfortable, and then we talk to God using normal language, we speak simply; we do not have to use a foreign language or archaic words, we do not have to use mantras or even speak with specific intonation;

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of’ (Idylls of the King – Tennyson).

So why do we pray, and what is prayer?

The word ‘pray’ has is derived from the Latin language, and the root of the word is, precari, which means to ask in earnest, or to beg or to entreat, (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/pray – accessed 15/06/19).

We pray because life is precarious’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p8).

Jesus taught his disciples to pray, and even to ask for their daily bread (Matthew 6:11), he also taught them that whatever the asked for would be done for them;

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer’ (Matthew 21:22 NIV).

That does not mean that we should all go to pray about what we want materialistically, we do not need Ferrari’s or luxury yachts; they may be nice, but they would also help us to lose our focus, and we should focus on God, we should not conform to the world (Romans 12:2), but be apart from it, live in such a way that we live in the world, but live as Jesus wants us to.

Prayer is a powerful tool, and George Müller knew this more than most people; on one occasion, he stood up and said grace in front of 300 hungry orphans, with absolutely no food to give them; he thanked God for the food that he was ‘going to give them’. Upon finishing saying grace, a few minutes later, a baker came in giving them bread that he had baked the previous night, and he was followed by a milkman offering them milk (How to pray – Pete Greig – p75 – alsohttps://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/church-history-for-kids/george-mueller-orphanages-built-by-prayer-11634869.html – accessed 15/06/19).

Talking to God in prayer should be like talking to a friend, chatting simply; but prayers are not always words;

Sometimes I imagine my prayers… … they’re not always audible’ (Anon – Sicangu Oyate tribal member – How to pray – Pete Greig – p20).

the Spirit helps us in our weakness… … the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings’ (Romans 8:26 ESV).

That does not mean that when we cannot bother with prayer that we should just sit there and groan. When we least fell like praying, that is when we should pray our hardest.

Cause you are strong when I’m weak, so I’m still standing, still standing on my knees’ (Standing on my knees – Sarah Kelly).

Basically, prayer is talking, about what you have done, what scares you, what angers you, what you need help with, asking for specific things such as people you know to encounter God maybe for the first time. We should also find time to thank God for the good things in our lives such as family and health, and also find time to praise him and worship him.

pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV).

We need to pray all the time, in the morning with thanks for waking up, during the day with expectation on chances to share the gospel, and in the evening with a thankful heart at the end of the day, and asking for more time to share Jesus with people tomorrow.

P.R.A.Y. – Pause, Rejoice, Ask, Yield. I’m not a big fan of acronyms… … but this particular one works’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p3).

I remember speaking to a worker on a site in Derby about prayer, and he asked what he should say. My reply was simple, and I said, talk to God, in the exact same way that you are talking to me, he is your heavenly Father and just wants you to talk to him.

Prayer should be like talking to a best friend, it should be easy and uncomplicated;

You just say, “Dear God”, chat to him for a bit, and then say Amen’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p1).

Prayer can really be that simple.

Pray to the One

The splendour of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice

How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
he Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

How Great Is Our God

Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves

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Father we thank you for always being with us, we thank you that we can talk to you in prayer any time that we want, we thank you that you are on-call 24-7. Lord, help us to want to talk to you more, help us to be ready to talk to you more. Lord, help us to be better people that reflect you to the world.

Amen

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Christian

Chat, Talk, Pray!

This, then, is how you should pray‘ (Matthew 6:9 NIV)

Prayer. The last refuge of a scoundrel‘ (Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons, season 2 episode 1 [11/10/90 USA]). Lisa says this to her brother Bart, after he has prayed for bad weather, to give him more time to study for a school test.

God answered his prayer.

Jesus thought that prayer was so important, that he taught us how to accomplish the task (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4). ‘don’t babble on and on‘ (Matthew 6:7 NLT) well that is to the point. He also said that we should pray in secret, ‘pray to your Father in private‘ (Matthew 6:6 NLT). ‘When you pray, say… …‘ (Luke 11:2 NIV).

We need to look to God and Jesus, and trust them in all aspects of our life.

When we decide to do that, then we enter into a relationship with our awesome Father, Creator of the entire universe, our Redeemer, and Friend.

And how do we do these things?

Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty‘ (Zechariah 4:6 NIV).

We pray, in the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray.

you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you‘ (Jeremiah 29:12 NIV).

God tells us that we talk to Him, when we pray, He will listen to us.

Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends said, ‘You will pray to him, and he will hear you‘ (Job 22:23 NLT). ‘if anyone is a worshipper of God and does his will, God listens to him‘ (John 9:31 ESV)

Jesus took that a step further, not only will He listen to us, ‘my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name‘ (John 16:23 NIV). ‘we know that he hears us in whatever we ask‘ (1 John 5:15 ESV). ‘the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer‘ (1 Peter 3:12 ESV).

‘But I don’t have time to pray’. ‘I have a really busy work life’. ‘The children need constant attention’. ‘I’m too tired’. These and many, many more, are not reasons not to pray. We make excuses for most things that we find difficult, or hard to plan into our daily lives.

You can pray whilst driving the car, or walking into town or around work, or even while cooking the dinner or making the bed, and why not get the children to join in, they are the next generation of the Church.

And when we feel that we cannot pray, ‘the Holy Spirit helps us… … the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words‘ (Romans 8:26 NLT).

But how often should we pray?

We should pray often. We are in a relationship, and when we are in relationships, we talk to the other person most days if not multiple times in a day.

pray continually‘ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV); ‘Night and day we pray earnestly‘ (1 Thessalonians 3:10 NLT). That may seem a lot, but how often do you speak to your loved one? ‘Prayer is simply talking to God like a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day’ (Joyce Meyer).

Who should pray, some of us or all of us?

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you [God] while you may be found‘ (Psalm 32:6 NIV). It is not only mothers or fathers or children that need to pray, everyone needs prayer. ‘I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no-where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day‘ (Abraham Lincoln). ‘The prayer offered to God in the morning during your quiet time is the key that unlocks the door of the day. Any athlete knows that it is the start that ensures a good finish’ (Adrian Rogers).

We live in a troubled world, a world of the flesh, sinful desire, and temptation. On the Mount of Olives, Jesus told his disciples, ‘Pray, that you will not fall into temptation‘ (Luke 22:40 NIV).

Wise words, that are just as true today!

God has a plan for all of our lives, (Jeremiah 29:11).

He wants a relationship with us. Any relationship that is going to survive, requires people to talk. We can talk to God at any time, through prayer.

For this we can take a leaf out of the disciples’ lives (read Acts 2:42-47). ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… … And the Lord added to their number daily‘ (Acts 2:42 & 47 NIV).

Because of prayer and living the way God wanted them to, their number increased daily.

That is a challenge for all of us!

Remember the word of Oswald Chambers;

Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work

Faith

Prayer gently lifts me to highest Heaven,
From earth’s confusion to Jesus’ breast;
My sin and weakness, my doubt and sorrow,
Are lost forever in sweetest rest.
Hal Beckett (1888 – 1971)

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Father God, we thank you that we can come to you any time that we want. We do not have to wait for Sunday, or any special day, we can talk to you whenever we want to. Help us to talk to you more. We love you Lord, and we want to lift our voice in prayer more to you. To praise you for what you do in our lives. To praise you for what you do for the world. You created the world for us, and you created us in your image, help us to be more thankful for that.
Lord we look at the world you created for us. How it has changed with killings, bombings and other hateful crimes. Help us to be salt and light in the dark world. Lord may we be the point at which people can meet with you and have life changing moments.

Amen

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).

Amazing Grace.jpg

 

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

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

Let’s do it again!

has become a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT)

At this time of year, many of us will ponder the previous twelve months; how they panned out for us and others close to us, what we accomplished, and the things that we could not complete. We take a retrospective look on life in general. There will be television shows that will give us the highlights of the year, the funny items, the celebrity news and all manner of things.

In a similar vein, it is also a good time of year to look inwardly too, to spend some time being introspective, to examine our self. The founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth, was known for asking about a person’s soul, or walk with God, and he did not ‘sugar-coat‘ his words, he was direct, and used to ask by saying, ‘Tell me, how is it with your soul?‘ (God’s Soldiers p123). As we look towards a new year, should we not also consider how our walk with God went in the previous twelve months?

Did we pray enough this last year? Did we spend enough time immersed in the wonders of the Bible? Did we share the good news of Jesus to those when we had the opportunity? There are many things we could consider.

New year resolutions are also a popular thing to set one-self, but how many of you do this, only to not follow through? God knows that we struggle, yet He still loves us no matter what. There is nothing we can do that is so bad that He will stop loving us, equally there is nothing that we can do to make Him love us more. But at this time of year as we are ready to ‘do it all again‘, let us spend some time alone with God and consider our soul.

Tell me, how is it with your soul?

 

you-make-a-new-life-by-making-new-choices-quote-1

 

anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5;7 NLT). As the new year dawns upon us, we can consider newness.

The year will be new, we will not have made any mistakes, isn’t that good, not to have made any mistakes? But how long will it last for us, We all make mistakes, and when we make mistakes, we have to live with the consequences.

But if at the beginning of a new year, we can again turn to God, and reaffirm our love for Him. If we do this, He will again make us new in Him. We know that He will , ‘have compassion on us‘ and ‘trample our sins under his [your] feet‘ (Micah 7:19 NLT). God forgives and forgets, ‘I alone will blot out your sins… … and will never think of them again‘ (Isaiah 43:25 NLT), not only that  but we know that God will, ‘forgive generously‘ (Isaiah 55:7 NLT). At this new year let us all put our souls right with God.

 

In His hands that hung the sky
In His hands that touch the blind
In His hands He’s holding me
In His hands that flung the stars
In His hands that bear the scars
In His hands He’s holding me

O Jesus, the One who frees us     
The One who holds  us all
O Jesus, the One who saves us
The One who holds us all in His hands of love

In His hands that bring us life
In His hands we come alive
In His hands He’s holding us

His Hands of Love
Davis Crowder, Seth Philpott

 

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Father God, as we prepare to enter another new year, help us to consider all the things that we wanted to do last year, and those that we want to do this coming year. Lord we know that through your strength, all things are possible. Help us to fully rely on your strength in all situations, so that we may show your light and love to those around us, at all times.
Lord, at the start of a new year, we consider all the new babies that have been born over the Christmas period. Help the parents of all children to bring them up in the knowledge of your love and hope. May all children everywhere be loved as they should be, unconditionally and shown that they are important. Help children everywhere to you’re your love within their hearts and lives, that they may be able to grow up in a secure knowledge of your love.

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