The Stoning of Stephen (Book of Acts)

Oh the years without a creed

With stone in hand to hurt and bleed

I thought no Saviour did I need

Twas the same thought aimed at Stephen

Each day began with crowds and fears

Conditioned hatred, screams and tears

With stones in hand I marched up near

Twas the same thought aimed at Stephen

And with fear, in thought and mind,

Other people did I bind

With rage and anger to mankind

Twas the same thought aimed at Stephen

I threw my stones with strength I found

And watched them tumbling to the ground

No power can hurt what God has crowned

Twas the same thought aimed at Stephen

And as I learnt to leave my woes

And trust in God oh sweet repose

Through the Saviour’s blood we know

The example of St Stephen

Joseph McTaggart

Strength and Power

Isaiah 40 New International Version

25 “To whom will you compare me?
    Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
    Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
    and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
    not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

“He Will Give The Weary Strength”

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint
And like a flight upon an eagle’s wings, He will give the weary strength

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint
And like a flight upon an eagle’s wings, He will give the weary strength

So lift your eyes up to the sky
To the one who hears you when you cry

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint
Like a flight upon an eagle’s wings, He will give, He will give
He will give the weary strength

Perfection’s Liberty

A poem on Galatians 2:16-21

Perfection’s Liberty

No law by which to measure sin,

In Christ it was dissolved!

His righteousness now mine within,

The laws demands, resolved!

For better than my death by law:

With Jesus Christ, I die;

There in the grave, no more to war,

For Christ now lives my life!

My life by faith, eyes on the Son,

He loved me, gave His all.

The Law that kills, has been undone!

And justified, I’m called!

My daily life, no longer mine,

But Christ now lives in me.

For at the cross, you’ll daily find

My life laid at His feet.

Not I who strives, not I alive,

But God alive in me!

The Law aside, for Christ provides

Perfection’s liberty!

Commitment

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

In The Salvation Army we have what is known as ‘Commitment Sunday’.  A Sunday when we are asked to dedicate/rededicate our life’s to Christ.

Of course commitment Sunday isn’t the only time you can give your life to Christ, it can happen anytime you wish provided you let him in. The words of an old chorus come to mind:

Behold me standing at the door,

And hear me pleading evermore:

Say, weary heart, oppressed with sin,

May I come in? May I come in?

I leave you with The Chelmsford Citadel Songsters as they sing ‘I Dedicate myself to Thee’. I hope it gives you much blessing.

Tools

Photo by Kim Stiver on Pexels.com

Did you know we have so many tools given to us to use for the Glory of God

Tools of encouragement, faithfulness, love, compassion, mercy, grace and kindness

whether we use them this week or not, well that is completely up to us.

Why not use the tools God gave you to reach out to someone in need not just this week but as every time we see someone needing help!

New Year’s resolutions

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

Philippians 3:12-15

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

What can I say about Resolutions, some of us choose to live a healthier lifestyle (cut down/out cigarettes our even alcohol), others choose to diet after the festive period because of the amount of food we have eaten not just on Christmas Day but at our work’s Christmas party and any other parties we attend in this period.

On a personal note I don’t do resolutions basically because a couple of days into it and I literally crash.

As it says in today’s reading It is important hat we forget what was behind us and move forward toward the goal of the call of God.

The tune in this video is called ‘Let there be peace on Earth’

The birth of Jesus

Image result for The birth of Jesus

Matthew 1 New International Version

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

A while ago I was given a book of daily bible verses and the highlighted verse above is the one I read this morning. (Suppose I should of kept it for Christmas really).

Peace

Luke 2 : 13 – 14

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”Image result for peace at Christmas

It doesn’t matter which version of scripture you choose to read, you’ll find the word peace used about 150 times. Sometimes it’s used to warn people who are about to lose their sense of peace, and other times it’s part of a standard blessing spoken over God’s people. It’s remarkable how many times the word is used to give a promise or as part of prophecy. Often the word is spoken as a reminder of the peace God gave in the past or given as a word of hope for the present as well as the future. During Advent this year, we’ll look at each of those uses of the word, and hopefully, by focusing on the One born to bring us true peace, we’ll have our most tranquil Christmas celebration ever!

Nowadays we read, hear and see on TV all sorts of evil taking place all over the world. Lets remind ourselves that this is a season of Peace and Joy.

Verse 1]
Behold the star of Bethlehem
The Word of God has become flesh
Unto us a child is born
The Savior of this broken world

[Chorus]
Hear the angel voices
Sing come let us adore Him
Peace has come, for our King is with us

[Verse 2]
Fully God and fully man
He comes for all with open hands
He rules with love on David’s throne
All praise belongs to Christ alone

[Chorus]
Hear the angel voices
Sing come let us adore Him
Peace has come, for our King is with us
Holy, Holy, Holy
Jesus we adore thee
Peace has come, for our King is with us

[Bridge]
Oh come let us adore Him
Oh come let us adore Him
Oh come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord
(2x)

Remembrance Sunday

Psalm 90 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 90

A prayer of Moses the man of God.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn people back to dust,
    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night.
Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
    they are like the new grass of the morning:
In the morning it springs up new,
    but by evening it is dry and withered.

We are consumed by your anger
    and terrified by your indignation.
You have set our iniquities before you,
    our secret sins in the light of your presence.
All our days pass away under your wrath;
    we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
    Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
    that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
    for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
    your splendor to their children.

17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.

Hoping for Help

Lamentations 3 The Message

It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God

19-21 I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.

25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
    to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
    to stick it out through the hard times.

28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
    go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
    Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
    The “worst” is never the worst.

31-33 Why? Because the Master won’t ever
    walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
    His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
    in throwing roadblocks in the way:

34-36 Stomping down hard
    on luckless prisoners,
Refusing justice to victims
    in the court of High God,
Tampering with evidence—
    the Master does not approve of such things.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside