Seeking Faith

Hebrews 11 New International Version

Faith in Action

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

When God Says No

Isaiah 25:1-5 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Praise to the Lord

25 Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
    you have done wonderful things,
    things planned long ago.
You have made the city a heap of rubble,
    the fortified town a ruin,
the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more;
    it will never be rebuilt.
Therefore strong peoples will honour you;
    cities of ruthless nations will revere you.
You have been a refuge for the poor,
    a refuge for the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the storm
    and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless
    is like a storm driving against a wall
    and like the heat of the desert.
You silence the uproar of foreigners;
    as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud,
    so the song of the ruthless is stilled.See the source image

I’ve had many tears and sorrows,
I’ve had questions for tomorrow,
There’ve been times
I didn’t know right from wrong:
But in every situation
God gave blessed consolation
That my trials come
To only make me strong.

Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

I’ve been to lots of places,
And I’ve seen a lot of faces,
There’ve been times I felt so all alone;
But in my lonely hours,
Yes, those precious lonely hours,
Jesus let me know that I was His own.

Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

I thank God for the mountains,
And I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms
He brought me through;
For if I’d never had a problem
I wouldn’t know
That He could solve them,
I’d never know what faith
In God could do.

Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

When God says no, He has a plan. Keep trusting Him!

A Christmas Letter

John 1:1-14 New International Version – UK 

The Word became flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome<sup class=”footnote” style=”box-sizing:border-box;font-size:.625em;line-height:22px;position:relative;vertical-align:top;top:0;” data-fn=”#fen-NIVUK-26050a” data-link=”[a]”>[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

At an antique desk
An old man sits alone
It’s Christmas Eve
And it’s almost time to go

He signs his name to a letter he just wrote
Then he reads it back with a voice as soft as snow

I want peace on earth for Christmas
In a world where there’s not one hungry child
They would hope and faith
Conquers fear and hate
All I’m asking for is a little more love

Then he walks outside
And he climbs up on his sleigh
And calls out to his reindeer
Off they fly away
Oh tonight he’ll make a million dreams appear
While he wishes that his own dreams would come true this year

I want peace on earth for Christmas
In a world where there’s not one hungry child
They would hope and faith
Conquers fear and hate
All I’m asking for is a little more love

That they would hope and faith
Conquers fear and hate
All I’m asking for is a little more love

The Journey to Bethlehem

Luke 2:1-20 New International Version

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Can you imagine the distance Mary & Joseph had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem (about 90 odd miles) on mostly hot days with only a donkey as a way of transport, no cars, buses, trains or planes to get there. What we must remember is it is with God’s guidance they both arrived in Bethlehem safely

How far is it to Bethlehem?
Not very far.
Shall we find the stable room
Lit by a star?
Can we see the little Child?
Is He within?
If we lift the wooden latch
May we go in?
May we stroke the creatures there
Ox, ass, or sheep?
May we peep like them and see
Jesus asleep?
If we touch His tiny hand
Will He awake?
Will He know we’ve come so far
Just for His sake?
Great kings have precious gifts
And we have naught
Little smiles and little tears
Are all we brought.
For all weary children
Mary must weep
Here, on His bed of straw
Sleep, children, sleep.
God in His mother’s arms
Babes in the byre
Sleep, as they sleep who find
Their heart’s desire.

Expect the Messiah

Matthew 13:53-58 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

A prophet without honour

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his home town, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. 55 ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ 57 And they took offence at him.

But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town and in his own home.’

58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Stay Awake

Proverbs 20:13 New International Version

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13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor;
    stay awake and you will have food to spare.

or as the NLT puts it:

NLT: “If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!”

The book ok Proverbs is one of my favourite books. I don’t know about you but the NLT seems to explain it far clearer to me than the NIV. That is if we like our sleep to much we will end up poor. Therefore we must not fall asleep so that there is plenty food on the table.

He Lives

John 14 New International Version – UK

Jesus promises the Holy Spirit

15 ‘If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 1I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, ‘But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’

23 Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 ‘All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 ‘You heard me say, “I am going away and I am coming back to you.” If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

‘Come now; let us leave.

Loving God

Proverbs 8 New International Version

12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
    I possess knowledge and discretion.
13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
    I hate pride and arrogance,
    evil behaviour and perverse speech.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
    I have insight, I have power.
15 By me kings reign
    and rulers issue decrees that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
    and nobles—all who rule on earth.[b]
17 I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honour,
    enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
    what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full.