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

Honouring God and serving Jesus

John 12:26 New International Version 

26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.

One of my favourite pieces in The Salvation Army brass band world is ‘Guardian of my Soul’ of where we hear two hymn tunes come through, the main one which is based on the piece itself.

I Worship You, God’s only Son,

Who took my sins to the cross,

So I could be completely free to follow where You lead.

Lord, Your wounds are now my healing

and I am wholly Yours.

You know my name and where I’m going,

Guardian of my soul.

O let me hear thee speaking

In accents clear and still,

Above the storms of passion,

The murmurs of self‑will.

O speak to reassure me,

To chasten or control;

O speak to make me listen,

Thou Guardian of my soul.

I’ll follow You, God’s only Son,

Along the road to the cross,

No other place can I find grace

Unfathomed and unflawed.

And, as I reach the Hill of Calvary

And see Your open arms,

I’ll know my name and where I’m going,

Guardian of my soul.Image result for honouring god

The second is ‘O Jesus I have promised’

Strangely I have for yet another day found myself at the passage where Jesus predicts his death. I would also say this is a follow up from yesterdays blog ‘Serving Christ’ because as long as we continue to ‘serve Christ’ he will be our ‘Guardian of our Soul’

1.

O Jesus, I have promised

To serve thee to the end,

Be thou for ever near me,

My Master and my friend.

I shall not fear the battle

If thou art by my side,

Nor wander from the pathway,

If thou wilt be my guide.

2.

O let me feel thee near me;

The world is ever near;

I see the sights that dazzle,

The tempting sounds I hear.

My foes are ever near me,

Around me and within;

But, Jesus, draw thou nearer

And shield my soul from sin.

3.

O let me hear thee speaking

In accents clear and still,

Above the storms of passion,

The murmurs of self-will.

O speak to reassure me,

To chasten or control;

O speak to make me listen,

Thou Guardian of my soul.

4.

O Jesus, thou hast promised

To all who follow thee,

That where thou art in Glory,

There shall thy servant be;

And, Jesus, I have promised

To serve thee to the end;

O give me grace to follow,

My Master and my friend.

Sharing our burdens with The Lord

Matthew 11 English Standard Version

Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[g] 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Love our Enemies

In light of the situation between Russia & the Ukraine I thought it appropriate to repost this old post.

Luke 6 New International Version – UK

Love for enemies

27 ‘But to you who are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 ‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Judging others

3‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’

There are two reasons for us to love our enemies. One is simply because God said to, but the other is because God loved us first. It was when we were still God’s enemies (Colossians 1:21 and Romans 5:10) that He demonstrated His love for us. Through Jesus (Romans 5:8) God’s love brought salvation to us.

We all have people we don’t like and of course it’s worse when we fall out with our friends Christian or otherwise.

Jesus taught us to ‘Love our Enemies’. He gave us a few rules such as ‘ Turn the other cheek’, ( to me that meant do not retaliate).

He also spoke about giving our clothes to other people and lending without expecting repayment.

It isn’t an easy thing to do is to Love our Enemies because no matter how hard we try to Love them they might not be prepared to do the same. If we pray about it, perhaps things may change for the better.

Jesus also taught us not to Judge others.

We do not know what a certain person is going through, whether it be health matters, financial or otherwise, only God knows

Listen to your Brother

Image result for Christian Listen to your brother

Matthew 18:15-20 New International Version (NIV)

Dealing With Sin in the Church

15 “If your brother or sister[a] sins,[b] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[c] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

The Lord speaks

John 14 V6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 3:16

16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The Lord He speaks, and from His mouth,
His Words, they carry weight!
They echo through, the ages loud,
To hearts of His estate!

The open ears, they hear, receive!
Two thousands years gone by;
Still ringing loud, if you believe,
His Light will meet your eyes!

For light has rippled out through time,
Through Holy tongue of old;
To meet you now, where you reside,
To grip you in truth’s hold.

So jumping off the pages bold,
The words, they come alive!
And fill my heart in love’s enfold,
As God with me, abides!

By Lisa Lawlor

Discipline

Proverbs 29 New International Version – UK

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

29 Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
    will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy.

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
    when the wicked rule, the people groan.

A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

By justice a king gives a country stability,
    but those who are greedy for[a] bribes tear it down.

Those who flatter their neighbours
    are spreading nets for their feet.

Evildoers are snared by their own sin,
    but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
    but the wicked have no such concern.

Mockers stir up a city,
    but the wise turn away anger.

If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
    the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.

10 The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity
    and seek to kill the upright.

11 Fools give full vent to their rage,
    but the wise bring calm in the end.

12 If a ruler listens to lies,
    all his officials become wicked.

13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
    the Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.

14 If a king judges the poor with fairness,
    his throne will be established for ever.

15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,
    but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
    but the righteous will see their downfall.

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
    they will bring you the delights you desire.

18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
    but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words;
    though they understand, they will not respond.

20 Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

21 A servant pampered from youth
    will turn out to be insolent.

22 An angry person stirs up conflict,
    and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.

23 Pride brings a person low,
    but the lowly in spirit gain honour.

24 The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies;
    they are put under oath and dare not testify.

25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

26 Many seek an audience with a ruler,
    but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.

27 The righteous detest the dishonest;
    the wicked detest the upright.

Reblog – A Song of Consecration

John 15:15-17 New International Version 

15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Jesus, tender lover of my soul,
Pardoner of my sins, and friend indeed,
Keeper of the garden of my heart,
Jesus, Thou art everything to me.

Jesus, Thou art everything to me;
Jesus, Thou art everything to me;
All my lasting joys are found in Thee;
Jesus, Thou art everything to me.

What to me are all the joys of earth?
What to me is every sight I see,
Save the sight of Thee, O Friend of mine?
Jesus, Thou art everything to me.

Here I lay me at Thy bleeding feet;
Deepest homage now I give to Thee;
Hear Thy whispered love within my soul;
Jesus, Thou art everything to me.

This lovely song of consecration was written by Edward Henry Joy – an early-day Salvationist born in Canterbury, England in 1871. Later, he was a bandsman at Folkestone Corps before becoming an officer in 1894. He had only one corps appointment – at Tunstall, where he was also responsible for Golden Hill outpost. After this, Joy served in local administrative appointments until 1917, when he was transferred to International Headquarters, as Under Secretary in the Foreign Office. After some international travels, he was appointed to Western Canada as Immigration Secretary, and then Editor-in-Chief. In 1932 he became editor of The War Cryin South Africa. Colonel Joy retired in 1938 and in the following year returned to England, where he died in 1949.

Learning to Trust 

Matthew 6:25-34 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Do not worry

25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 ‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

As the varied way of life we journey,
Come the plains and then the mountainside,
Come the days of joy when birds are singing,
And the world is fair and sweet and wide;
Then a deeper joy comes, overfilling,
From the everlasting throne of love,
And all other joy is but an echo
From the ever-blessèd heights above.

There are shadows on the earthly pathway
Where, at times uncertainly, we tread;
In perplexity we halt and linger
Till our faith again is upward led.
For the heights of truth are ever calling,
And celestial radiance from afar
On our pilgrim way is gently falling
For our comfort where the shadows are.

In the days of peace and golden sunshine,
In the days of joy, or days of woe,
There is confidence in Him who holds us;
There is light to guide us here below.
And beyond await the heights of rapture,
Where all earthly joys, transcended, fade
In the glory of the Saviour’s presence,
In the Home eternal He has made.

Jesus Lives

Image result for Jesus lives

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.