Hope: Re-Visited

26th December

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill out hearts with His love.”

Romans 5:3-5

Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, His salvation and our hope in it, changes everything. It gives us hope that there will be end to suffering and trials. It gives us strength to go through hard times. It gives us hope that when we do wrong, we have a loving Father that brings us home again. It gives us hope that our lives can be transformed. We are hopeful for more and hopeful for better. Hope in Jesus, never leads to disappointment.

Desmond Tutu said that ‘hope is the ability to see that there is Light despite all of the darkness’. Darkness may be around us but our Hope and Light is Jesus Christ. He came into this world to bring light and life to all those around. His hope and the hope in Him changes everything. There is more, there is better, even through the storm and in the midst of the darkness. Rejoice in hope. Christ in us, is the hope of glory.

Christmas Celebrations

25th December

For this is how God loved the world. He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

Millions of people across the world, Christians and non-Christians alike, will celebrate the 25th of December, Christmas day. For some it is just a family day where presents can be exchanged, food enjoyed and good times had. For others, Christmas has an even deeper meaning, that goes beyond the joy of one day. Although, as with birthdays, Christmas represents a time to remember the birth of our dear Saviour, Jesus Christ. However, the joy of His birth is not and should not be limited to just one day. What Jesus did, in coming to this earth in the form of a human more than 2000 years ago, changes our destiny, our now and our eternity. He came so that we would not perish, but receive eternal life with Him. Of course when we physically die, that is not the end. We live on. Some will devastatingly live on in eternal death and separation from love and light but for those who accept Jesus’ life giving salvation, they will live on with Him eternally, in joy, love and peace.

This Christmas, as you remember Jesus’ birth and life in your celebrations, take a moment to think about your own eternal destiny. You have a chance now to accept His free gift of salvation. It is never too late! And for those who have already accepted it, rejoice that your name is written in the book of life!

The Godhead Revealed In Flesh

23rd & 24th December

Weekend Edition

So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

John 1:14

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel

Our God became flesh, lived as a human, died as a human and rose agin victorious, as conqueror of sin and death. We remember His wonderful life, death and resurrection, not just at Christmas but all year round. His life wasn’t and limited only to an historical event in history; Rather it changed history. It changed the spiritual atmosphere of the world. It changed the physical world. It changed our relationship with God. Because of His birth we too have new life.

This Christmas, you have a choice. You can accept this wonderful gift or reject as so many have. However, there is one thing guaranteed: if you accept His gift of love and salvation, you gain more than you can ever think or imagine. Jesus’ love is freely here to give you a new start and a new life. Hail the incarnate deity!! The Godhead three in one.

God Humbled In The Form Of A Servant

22nd December

Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being..

Philippians 2:7

Jesus’ humility, in coming to this earth, demonstrated just how much He loved us. The original meaning of the above text is that Jesus literally emptied Himself out for our sakes; His position, His throne and His rights. Of course He was still fully God as a human, but instead of only ruling in the Heavenly realms, He came to earth in the form of a human and had to answer to earthly authority, suffer the things a human had to suffer, be beaten, be disgraced and be betrayed by the very people He created. Jesus was and is the King of the world, but humbled Himself for our sakes, on our behalf and emptied Himself so He could live a spotless sinless life.

This Christmas, as we reflect on the birth and life of Jesus Christ, may we too adopt the same attitude as Jesus showed us in His life. May we too humble ourselves, even when we are wronged. May we empty ourselves and live for others. May we put others needs before our own. May we give up ‘our privileges’ for the sake of others. We have the perfect example in Christ, now go and do the same!

Light Of The World

 

21st December

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.”

Isaiah 9:2

The great light has come – a Saviour has been born. Have you ever stopped to wonder why Jesus is referred to as the Light of the World? Why does the Bible use this analogy to describe God? Is it simply because of His holiness that radiates like a bright light? Or is it more than that?

If we look at Jesus’ life then we can have more of an idea why Jesus is referenced as light. Think about the characteristics of light. It enlightens, illuminates, warms, protects, guides, and changes the atmosphere of darkness. Wasn’t and aren’t these characteristics found in Jesus’ life?! His guides us into a life away from darkness, away from pain and moves us into His glorious light. His light is life and love and peace. His light makes a way for us when the road is unclear. His light warms our hearts when we feel alone. His light protects us from the un-seen evil that looms around in the darkness. His light exposes the dark places in our hearts and in this world and replaces it with light. Even just the smallest amount of light can illuminate a whole room. If this is so, imagine a world full of light bearers (that’s you and me), shining Jesus’ light into every area of our lives and spheres of influence! Jesus was born to expose the darkness with His light! A light has shone in the darkness and continues to shine brightly! Even those who walk in darkness will see it! That light is Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

New Birth

 

20th December

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

John 3:3

Hail! the heav’n born Prince of peace!
Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Isn’t it great news that Jesus’ birth also gives us new life too. This wonderful Christmas carol says exactly that! Hail the Son of Righteousness and the Prince of peace, who came to give us a second birth. That we no longer will die in our sins but that we can be saved from them and given new life! Isn’t that incredible. Jesus’ birth represented a new relationship and a new covenant with mankind. He gave us new life that we no longer have to walk in our sins but can walk in freedom. The old is gone and we have been given new life!! He gave us a chance for true life, not as the world gives but life in all its fullness. Glory to our King! Peace on earth to all men! Rejoice and praise the giver of new life.

O Holy Night

19th December

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about…The Shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”

Luke 2:15, 20

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born

There is good news and then there is good news that changes people’s lives. Imagine for example you found out a friend of yours had become pregnant. You would be so happy for them right! Yet that news wouldn’t change your life per se. However, if that news were to become more closer to home and you found out that you were having a child, it would change everything, right! Although this example is a little far fetched, imagine for a moment, how much this good news changed the lives of not only Joseph and Mary, but all who witnessed this holy night, when Christ our Saviour was born. Wise men travelled distances to present their gifts, shepherds fell to their knees in worship, Kings were challenged by His birth and all this was still whilst He was a child. When He grew up, nations and kingdoms, both heavenly and physically were turned upside down by His life and death and resurrection. Jesus being born, was a turning point in history and if you allow Him to rule and reign in your hearts, can be a turning point for your life too. What a Holy Night. When Christ our Saviour was born.

Immanuel: Part 2

18th December

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a Son and they will call Him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

Matthew 1:23

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay

Close by me forever, and love me I pray

When the prophet Isaiah spoke the words of prophecy (found in Matthew 1:23 and Isaiah 7:14), perhaps even he didn’t realise the fullness of what it meant. Yes, there would be liberty and freedom from the chains, yokes and burdens of slavery and persecution, but perhaps it looked different from what Isaiah, and even the people of Jesus’ time thought it to be. In fact, we now know, that this liberty and freedom was spiritual, physical, and emotional. Yet this freedom and liberty was so that God could be near us, love us and stay close to us forever, in-spite of our sinful actions and attitudes. It was by Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection, that we can enjoy intimacy and closeness with God. The gap between us and God is no longer. The punishment for our sin has been paid. The chains and heavy yokes of oppression and slavery from the enemy have been shattered. We are free to live in a full, living and right relationship with Christ our Saviour. Although our dear Saviour was born as one of us in a lowly manger on that ‘not so silent night’, He was born not as a helpless child but as the King of kings, the Lord of lords and our God and Saviour, Immanuel, who is close to us. May we understand the fullness of the love of God for us this day,

Immanuel

15th-17th December

Weekend Edition

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a Son and they will call Him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

Matthew 1:23

God is with us! Isn’t that such a reassuring and encouraging way to start your day. The God who created the world, came down to the earth He created, took the form of a human being, to be with us, to live like us, to eat and drink like us. He came to go through all we go through, hardships, losses, pain, suffering, cruelty and unfairness, so that He could overcome it for US. He bled for us, was beaten for us, and was killed for us, then resurrected Himself on the 3rd day for US. He did all this so that He could show ‘He was with us and will forever be!’ He is the God who is with us in the good and the bad, in the rainy and stormy seasons of our lives and in the brightest and best moments too. He is God with YOU. Remember today, God is with you. He is not a far away God, but the God who walks with you! Praise Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.

The Crowds Follow Jesus

14th December

 

A huge crowd kept following Him (Jesus) wherever He went, because they saw His miraculous signs as He healed the sick.

John 6:2

When Jesus walked the Earth, He attracted crowds of both people willing to hear His message, people attracted by His miracles, or those trying to trap Him into saying something worthy of death (i.e. Something blasphemous or against Rome). Yet wherever He went and for whatever reason, crowds would follow Him. Isn’t it interesting that nothing has changed, more than 2000 years after His ascension. He still attracts the crowds, and still the crowds are divided as to why they are talking about Him or following Him. Yet the ones who followed Him, clinging onto the very words He spoke, are the ones who benefited most from Jesus’ life and words.

See we too can just be followers of Jesus, almost wandering around trying to catch a piece of the miraculous, as if Jesus was some circus show in town, entertaining the crowds with His wonders. Yet that is not what Jesus was about at all. He was and is so much more than just miracles, signs and wonders (that is not to say they are not important). It was and is Jesus’ life giving, world transforming words, His substitutionary sacrifice and His character transforming works that we hold on to so dearly. That is why we follow Him, and so many across the world do too.

Our challenge for today is to fully understand and answer the question ‘why am I following Jesus?’ May the Spirit help you to answer in the same way Peter did when challenged by Jesus…

Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”1

1John 6:68