A very special Birthday

Matthew 1:18-25 English Standard Version

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[b] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

[Verse 1]
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appears and the Soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees; O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

[Verse 2]
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the Wise Men from Orient land
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend

[Verse 3]
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim

The Penitent’s Plea

One of my favourite hymns is The Penitent’s Plea written by Herbert Booth and goes to the tune Savior, hear me, while before Thy feet.

If you are unfamiliar with the hymn or tune it’s a hymn of repentance and a hymn used to forgive sins

1 Saviour, hear me while before thy feet
I the record of my sins repeat.
Stained with guilt, myself abhorring,
Filled with grief, my soul outpouring;
Canst thou still in mercy think of me,
Stoop to set my shackled spirit free,
Raise my sinking heart and bid me be
Thy child once more?

Refrain:
Grace there is my every debt to pay,
Blood to wash my every sin away,
Power to keep me spotless day by day,
For me, for me!

2 All the memories of deeds gone by
Rise within me and thy power defy;
With a deathly chill ensnaring,
They would leave my soul despairing.
Saviour, take my hand, I cannot tell
How to stem the tides that round me swell,
How to ease my conscience, or to quell
My flaming heart.

3 Yet why should I fear? Hast thou not died
That no seeking soul should be denied?
To that heart, its sins confessing,
Canst thou fail to give a blessing?
By the love and pity thou hast shown,
By the blood that did for me atone,
Boldly will I kneel before thy throne,
A pleading soul.

4 All the rivers of thy grace I claim,
Over every promise write my name.
As I am I come, believing,
As thou art thou dost, receiving,
Bid me rise a free and pardoned slave,
Master o’er my sin, the world, the grave,
Charging me to preach thy power to save
To sin bound souls.

Please sit back and enjoy this cornet solo of The Penitent’s Plea

Just where he needs me

Galatians 6 New International Version 

Doing Good to All

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Andrew Mair a Salvationist and composer of music with The Salvation Army composed the following tune to the hymn/song “Just where he needs me”. He speaks a little about his musical background and the Salvationist musicians/composers that inspired him.

Jesus standing at the door

Revelation 3:20 New International Version 

20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

O Jesus, thou art standing, Image result for the light of the world
outside the fast closed door,
in lowly patience waiting
to pass the threshold o’er:
shame on us, Christian brothers,
his Name and sign who bear,
O shame, thrice shame upon us,
to keep him standing there!

O Jesus, thou art knocking;
and lo, that hand is scarred,
and thorns thy brow encircle,
and tears thy face have marred:
O love that passeth knowledge,
so patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal,
so fast to bar the gate!

O Jesus, thou art pleading
in accents meek and low,
“I died for you, my children,
and will you treat me so?”
O Lord, with shame and sorrow
we open now the door;
dear Savior, enter, enter,
and leave us never more.

One my favourite pieces of music is ‘The Light of the World’ which depicts Holman Hunts picture of Jesus standing outside a closed door and if you look closely at the door you will see there is no knob on the outside to open the door.

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 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”

Salvation and Forgiveness

Last night as I was listening to my music library on Amazon music I came across this wonderful hymn of Salvation and Forgiveness written by Herbert H.Booth. The tune is called The Penitent’s plea.

1 Saviour, hear me while before thy feet
I the record of my sins repeat.
Stained with guilt, myself abhorring,
Filled with grief, my soul outpouring;
Canst thou still in mercy think of me,
Stoop to set my shackled spirit free,
Raise my sinking heart and bid me be
Thy child once more?

Refrain:
Grace there is my every debt to pay,
Blood to wash my every sin away,
Power to keep me spotless day by day,
For me, for me!

2 All the memories of deeds gone by
Rise within me and thy power defy;
With a deathly chill ensnaring,
They would leave my soul despairing.
Saviour, take my hand, I cannot tell
How to stem the tides that round me swell,
How to ease my conscience, or to quell
My flaming heart.

3 Yet why should I fear? Hast thou not died
That no seeking soul should be denied?
To that heart, its sins confessing,
Canst thou fail to give a blessing?
By the love and pity thou hast shown,
By the blood that did for me atone,
Boldly will I kneel before thy throne,
A pleading soul.

4 All the rivers of thy grace I claim,
Over every promise write my name;
As I am I come, believing,
As thou art thou dost, receiving,
Bid me rise a free and pardoned slave,
Master o’er my sin, the world, the grave,
Charging me to preach thy power to save
To sin bound souls.


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.

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.

Battling Illness

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34, NIV)

Today our Lord continues to pour out his healing balm when we pray for the sick:

“And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” (James 5:15-16, NLT)

I originally published this blog back in May this year and felt I should share it again for personal reasons. For weeks on end my Granddaughter who is 19 months has been drinking to the point where she had started to wet the cot at night. The health visitor said give her a little water if she craves for a drink before bedtime, but this didn’t seem to sort things out. The next thing my wife and I heard she was getting taken to  A&E with a temperature and the doctors quickly came to a diagnosis that she had diabetes type 1. Needless to say it came as a bit of a shock to us all.
See the source image

Prayer for Healing the Sick
Dear Lord of Mercy and Father of Comfort,

You are the one I turn to for help in moments of weakness and times of need. I ask you to be with your servant in this illness. Psalm 107:20 says that you send out your Word and heal. So then, please send your healing Word to your servant. In the name of Jesus, drive out all infirmity and sickness from his body.

Dear Lord, I ask you to turn this weakness into strength, this suffering into compassion, sorrow into joy, and pain into comfort for others. May your servant trust in your goodness and hope in your faithfulness, even in the middle of this suffering. Let him be filled with patience and joy in your presence as he waits for your healing touch.

Please restore your servant to full health, dear Father. Remove all fear and doubt from his heart by the power of your Holy Spirit, and may you, Lord, be glorified through his life.

As you heal and renew your servant, Lord, may he bless and praise you.

All of this, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Every anxious thought that steals my breath
It’s a heavy weight upon my chest
As I lie awake and wonder what the future will hold
Help me to remember that You’re in control
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength ’cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind
I will trust You, Lord
I will fear no more
I will lift my eyes
I will lift my cares
Lay them in Your hands
I’ll leave them there
When the wind and waves are coming
You shelter me
Even though I’m in the storm, the storm is not in me
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength ’cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind
I will trust You, Lord
I will fear no more
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh) I will fear no more
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh) I will fear no more
No power can come against me
‘Cause You have overcome
No darkness can overwhelm me
‘Cause You’ve already won
No power can come against me
‘Cause You have overcome
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh)
No darkness can overwhelm me
‘Cause You’ve already won
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh)
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength ’cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind
I will trust You, Lord (Trust You, Lord)
I will fear no more (Fear no more)
I will fear no more (Fear no more)
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh) I will fear no more
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh) I will fear no more
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh) I will fear no more