Being renewed day by day

2 Corinthians 4 New International Version

Present Weakness and Resurrection Life

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this Image result for Corinthians 4 16 -17treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side,but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak,14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Time, like a firework

Time, like a firework, wraps anticipation,

Exploding in a one-off spectral splash,

It only has one shot at detonation,

One piercing scream, one fleeting flash.

There are no brakes to grip the passing years,

No gears that back away from bitter tears.

No way to pause the happy days or play again,

No way we can delete those times of pain.

The paths we never should have walked.

The lips we never should have kissed,

The words we never should have talked.

The meetings that we should’ve missed,

The things we overdid or underplayed,

The loneliness – and need to be alone,

The broken vows and new ones made,

The souls now missed who used to make us moan.

This is our life that’s burns before our eyes

And as we fly through foggy firework skies

The very least we ought to try and do

Before we fade and fall is catch the view.

There is no time for looking back

Despite our hoard of time-consuming frets,

This is our life whatever it might lack

Don’t spend it all on might-have-been regrets.

Out of the box our fuse is well and truly lit,

The ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ that echo through the night

Remind us as we soar that this is it!

The sparks behind that flicker bright,

Are pushing us toward the distant sun.

So what’s the point sad pessimist?

Death may be near but life is just begun!

So let’s embrace each unexpected twist

And sparkle like a new lit baby star

Enjoying every random turn

Exploding with the joy of who we are

Not worried by the speed with which we burn.

For Christ came not to skulk and frown

He came to heal our hurts and to forgive

He came to give us life not put us down

And every day that we refuse to live

We bang another nail into his hands

And freedom smarts and looks the other way

And all of heaven fails to understand

Our sad unwillingness to seize the day!

(Andrew Bale)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Christ in Christmas

I wonder how many of us will get Christmas cards with the two different terms on them 1. Merry Christmas and 2. Happy Xmas.

According to the dictionary the meaning of Merry Christmas is: The real meaning of “Merry Christmas” is, to be full of absolute joy because God Himself, knowing none of us could *ever* get free of sin ourselves, provided the way for our salvation. It is only through God that we can obtain Holiness because none of us are able to cleanse ourselves to the point of pleasing God.

Whereas Xmas (also X-mas) is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas. It is sometimes pronounced, but Xmas, and variants such as Xtemass, originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation. The “X” comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Christós (Χριστός), which became Christ in English. The suffix -mas is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass.

Personally I prefer the first one of the two

A lot of kids these days are brought up to believe that Santa and toys are ” The reason for the season” We must remember as Christians that Jesus is ” The reason for the season”

Filling the Heart and Mind

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

Christ so fills my heart and mind
It’s where I want to be
To leave the hardened world behind
For Christ, His face to see!

So capture all my heart and soul
With love that fills my eyes
For when the Living Word I hold
My faith in full does rise!

And help me when I drift away
Through waves of toil and care
To hold the anchor in the sway
My hope in storm to bear!

Never let my heart grow cold
Nor hardness subtlety creep
But make my faith become more bold
My heart and mind, please keep!

Christ abounds in love and grace,
My shortfall it is lost!
He overcomes my sin, no trace!
Into deep sea, it’s tossed!

By Lisa Lawlor

Lisa is a member of my Facebook group “Christian music, devotions & poems. She has very kindly allowed me to put music to her lyric’s where or when I can. The song I found for the above lyric’s is called “O Disclose thy lovely face”.

Redemption through Christ

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Ephesians 1 New International Version 

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to son-ship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Jesus Lives

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Romans 6 New International Version 

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Whilst reading this piece of scripture i am reminded of a chorus well known in The Salvation Army

It’s no longer I that liveth,
But Christ that liveth in me,
It’s no longer I that liveth,
But Christ that liveth in me.
He lives! He lives!
Jesus is alive in me.
It’s no longer I that liveth,
But Christ that liveth in me.

New Beginnings

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2 Corinthians 5 The Message

A New Life

14-15 Our firm decision is to work from this focused centre: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

21 How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

I want to be close, close to your side
So heaven is real and death is, a lie
I want to hear voices of angels above
Singing as one
Hallelujah, holy, holy
God almighty, the great I am
Who is worthy, none beside thee
God almighty, the great I am
I want to be near, near to your heart
Loving the world and hating the dark
I want to see dry bones living again
Singing as one
Hallelujah, holy, holy
God almighty, the great I am
Who is worthy, none beside thee
God almighty, the great I am
The great I am
The mountains shake before you the demons run in fear
At the mention of the name king of majesty
There is no power in hell
Or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the great I am
The great I am, the great I am yeah
Hallelujah, holy, holy
God almighty, the great I am
Who is worthy, none beside thee
God almighty, the great I am
Hallelujah, holy, holy
God almighty, the great I am
Who is worthy, none beside thee
God almighty, the great I am
The great I am
The great I am
The great I am

God’s amazing Love

Romans 5The Message

The Death-Dealing Sin, the Life-Giving Gift

12-14 You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in—first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.

15-17 Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, absolute life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?

18-19 Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.

20-21 All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.

Knowing Jesus

Philippians 3 New International Version 

No Confidence in the Flesh

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

There are at least two sets of words to the tune’ I Surrender All’, the one below connects with verses 7-8 in the above reading. You may know the more common lyrics  ‘ All to Jesus I surrender’ sung here by The International Staff Songsters of The Salvation Army.

1.
Lord, I pray that I may know thee,
Risen One, enthroned on high;
Empty hands I’m stretching to thee,
Show thyself to me, I cry.
Chorus
Show thyself to me, show thyself to me,
That I may reveal thy beauty;
Show thyself to me.

2.
All that once I thought most worthy,
All of which I once did boast,
In thy light seems poor and passing,
‘Tis thyself I covet most.

Give thyself to me, give thyself to me,
That I may show forth thy power;
Give thyself to me.

3.
Only as I truly know thee
Can I make thee truly known;
Only bring the power to others
Which in my own life is shown.

Show thy power in me, show thy power in me,
That I may be used for others;
Show thy power in me.

God’s Children

Romans 8 New International Version (NIV)

Life Through the Spirit

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c]And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.Image result for abba father

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.