Category Archives: Salvation

Sound familiar?

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Justice in Colossians (Colossians 1:15–23)

Justice in African cosmology is associated with truth telling, fairness, equity, doing what is right, giving right judgment, being impartial and being straightforward. Biblical justice has these elements too. Upholding what is true and fair is central to the idea of justice.
At the heart of Paul’s letter to the Colossians is this idea: that simple truth should be the basis of life. And so, justice underlies everything.
We treat people unjustly and unfairly when we deny them the rightful place and honor due to them. The heretics treat Jesus Christ unjustly by denying him his rightful position as the Creator, Saviour and Lord of the universe. By denying Jesus’ ability to save completely, the Christians in Colossae undermine his power and Colossians is relevant for our faith today, for it addresses the challenges we are facing with false teachings in the church. Many cults today claim to be Christian, yet they deny the deity of Jesus Christ. Their false claims have the appearance of wisdom, but they end up cutting people off from the source of life and the possibility of living the rich, full and just life God intends.
He gives us a portrait of Christ as God’s Son, the object of the Christian faith, the Redeemer, the image of God, Lord of creation, head of the church, and the reconciler of the universe. In addition, Christ embodies the fullness of the Godhead, and all authority in the universe is under him and subjected to him. God’s treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him. He is the standard by which all religious teachings are measured, and he conquered the mystic powers of evil by his cross. Paul, therefore, affirms the lordship of Jesus Christ over life and over the cosmic powers.
For Paul, Jesus Christ is simply the truth. The Colossians are dabbling in “hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” To live lives of justice, as they were created to do, they must clear away all competing ideas and focus on Jesus. In him, “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness” (2:8–10).
— James Nkansah-Obrempong Ghana, Kenya (Excerpted from the book introduction to Colossians)
Taken from NIV God’s Justice Bible

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected J...

Many people today do not give Jesus Christ the recognition he deserves. They treat him unjustly as they do with some of those around them yet they do not realise his authority, his Lordship and the fact that it is only through him that any of them can be saved. They sneer, they mock the very person who gave them life and he is treated unjustly. The early Christians in Colossae were beginning to treat Christ the same way they treated each other and Paul had to show them their error. Then as now there was great opposition to the truth that Jesus Christ is part of the Godhead, God come down to earth reaching out to His creation in His love. If only the eyes of the blind would be opened and they could see the truth. I myself saw that truth early in 1989 and turned to my Maker. My life changed and for the better. When you see the truth that is Jesus Christ you will wonder why you waited as long as you did. The Salvation Army‘s founder William Booth is credited with saying he wished his ‘officers’ could spend but ten minutes in Hell when thereafter they would be totally committed to evangelism, reaching out to the unsaved with the message of salvation. That is why it is important to give Christ the honour he deserves, the Just and Righteous One who has the power to save you from Hell.

Shirley Anne

The choice is yours

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The Lord is my Good Shepherd

The Lord is my Good Shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

….but if you make the wrong one there’s no going back. Once you pass from this world any choices you can make will be impossible. The time to decide is now, not tomorrow, next week, next year for they may never come…….the choice is yours…

‘Luke 15:7
If Jesus were to tell the parable of the lost sheep today, he might make it the parable of the lost dog. The idea is the same. If your dog runs off, you search for it until you find it. And when you bring it home, your family celebrates.
The next story is better understood with a bit of historical explanation. Palestinian women traditionally received a set of 10 coins as a wedding gift. These coins were carried around in a purse or on a chain and held a significance similar to a modern-day wedding ring. As such, these coins held sentimental value that went well beyond their monetary value. No wonder this woman would search so fervently to find the lost coin, and no wonder she would want to celebrate after finding it!
We might even be able relate to the third story. Imagine that you’re a parent and your son leaves home with as much money as he can pull together. He sets out for a big city like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. He is on his own. But instead of working and being responsible, he blows every cent on drugs, sex and alcohol and ends up on the street, homeless and hungry.
As his parent, you worry about him. Every time the phone rings, you hope it’s him. One day you open the front door, and there he stands! Relief is immediate. You throw your arms around him. Words can’t express the joy you feel. Your son who was lost is home!
These three stories express how God feels about every spiritual explorer. And it’s how he feels about you. He’s looking for you because he loves you. God is eager to forgive you, and all of heaven is ready to celebrate your return. But, like the son in the third story, you must decide to come home to his waiting arms.’
Taken from NIV The NIV Journey Bible

It’s a no-brainer really isn’t it?

Shirley Anne

Hollow promises?

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The Christian holiday of Easter is now over.

Is the Name “Easter” of Pagan Origin?

Misconception: The church borrowed the name Easter from pagans.

by Roger Patterson on April 19, 2011; last featured March 11, 2016

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The modern controversy over the name Easter, when used in association with the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, is interesting, to say the least.

The modern controversy over the name Easter, when used in association with the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, is interesting, to say the least. The controversy seems to have blossomed at the beginning of the twentieth century and has caused many disturbances through the years. Examining this question is important to many Christians who do not wish to mix the worship of false gods with their worship of the only true God………….but read on…https://answersingenesis.org/holidays/easter/is-the-name-easter-of-pagan-origin/

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The Resurrection of Christ

The Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It appears therefore that unbelievers are being led up the garden path (well we know they are) by the misconception that we Christians are basing our beliefs upon pagan history. ‘Easter’ has nothing to do with any pagan rites, rituals or celebrations. Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ who demonstrated that same destiny awaits all those who believe in God and have put their faith in what Jesus has done for them. Let the wicked forsake their own way, let the dead bury their dead and let all those who place their hope in a world with hollow promises just like the chocolate eggs of their secular celebrations, perish with them. All we as Christians can do is pray for them……

Shirley Anne

Not worthy?

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Undeserved (Luke 7:37–39)
I am sinful, yet God calls me righteous. Is there anything I can do to thank him?
Read…….

English: Parish church Saint Vinzenz - Sacred ...

Parish church Saint Vinzenz – Sacred Heart altar – Jesus and the Pharisee

One day a Pharisee asked Jesus to come to his house to eat. “A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner’ ” (Luke 7:37–39). The incredible thing is that Jesus did know what kind of woman she was. But that didn’t stop him from loving her.
Think……..
Like the woman, we all stand before Jesus with a spiritual rap sheet that is miles long. At this very moment, he sees every area of our lives that needs refining. Yet despite our sin, he loves us anyway. Dearly. That doesn’t make sense. But God’s love doesn’t make sense. We can’t figure it out.
Live…….
Let grace amaze you. Ponder it. Dwell on it. Feel the intensity of God’s love behind it. The woman had it right. She was well aware of her sinful past—she had lived it. And when she found the Saviour who knew her completely and still offered acceptance and forgiveness, she could do nothing else but fall on her knees and pour out her praise on him.
When your messiness runs into Jesus’ perfection and you find him there loving you, be like the woman with the alabaster jar. Just love him. Pour out your praise; drench him in worship. Stand in awe of the One who gave it all. He is worthy of every ounce of your praise.

Taken from The Great Rescue Bible

Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of love meted out to you? It is so readily available to those who recognise their God and believe in Him, turning in repentance and allowing Jesus into your heart is the only way.

Romans 3:22-24 New International Version – UK

22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Repent therefore and turn to your Saviour who is Christ Jesus our Lord…

Shirley Anne

Believe, repent and be saved forever!

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The Urgent Need for Repentance (2 Peter 3:9)

The love of God is not for some or a select few, for the rich or the poor, for people from a particular country or society—but rather it is for everybody. God’s love is accessible to anybody who prays with a pure heart and a genuine desire for salvation. In this verse from 2 Peter, we read that God is waiting with infinite patience and mercy for everyone to learn about him and come to him. He wants to welcome us warmly to his home, just as the lost son was welcomed by his father in the Gospel of Luke (see Luke 15:11–32).
God is always calling us to come home—to respond to his love and mercy, to participate in his kingdom. God does not want anyone to lose the chance to receive salvation; he is patient and kind and merciful. At the same time, that does not mean that we should put off the decision! Like a football game, our lives are on a clock that is counting down. One day the whistle will blow, and our earthly lives will come to an end. For some, that will be today. For others, that may be some time from now. We don’t know when our time on earth will end. So it is vitally important that we trust in Christ today as our Lord and Savior. Heaven and hell are both real (Jesus talked about both). The choice is ours: We can turn to Christ or go our own way.
Taken from NIV Essentials of the Christian Faith

English: The evangelist portrait from the Gosp...

The evangelist portrait from the Gospel of Luke (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was talking with my youngest brother and his wife a few days ago. The subject of God entered the discussion but neither of them believe in God. E was there too and she likewise says she doesn’t believe in God. Now although my brother and his wife listened to what I was saying about creation, sin and God and argued the point E did not want to know and turned away not wishing to even hear anything. I have difficulty in understanding a person like E who won’t even discuss anything to do with God, Jesus or salvation. She would rather not think about such things. She is very stubborn in many ways and it is a stumbling block which prevents her considering the possibility that God exists. Of course she, like everyone else is entitled to her opinion, can accept or reject a Creator God. That is and will always be the case for us all.

Sometimes people make the strangest of choices, often to their detriment. The subject of salvation, entering Heaven or entering Hell is shunned and they without realising it are condemning themselves……….and all they have to do is listen, reason and think about the possibility that the believing population are correct. Why miss out on an everlasting life in Heaven because of your stubborn heart? Believe in Jesus Christ and see you life change for the better and it will last forever!

Shirley Anne

In the blink of an eye

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Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’

We are mortal beings created in the image of God but one day we will pass away, we will return to the dust (elements) from which we were made, that is our flesh will experience that death. Everyone dies this way there are no exceptions, though some have not experienced death

Genesis 5
24 Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
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.’ For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
The life you have was given by God and He takes it away….

Job 1:21
and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’

There is a purpose for life regardless of what many might say. God has a purpose in everything He does. Many argue against there being a God forwarding excuses such as ‘why is there evil in the world, why does God allow sickness and suffering?’ and many other things. Answers to these questions and many more can be found here http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/sciencefaith.html for those who want to reason with an open mind.

All About Evil

All About Evil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So it will be that our flesh decays but our spirit will not. So why did God make us? No-one can say with certainty for who knows the mind of God? However, those He made He wants a relationship with. Because God is pure and holy there can be no evil in His presence, in fact ‘evil’ is the absence of God. He made the angels but some  turned away from God, they became vain and in the absence of God they ‘became’ evil. In the same way God made humans and in the same way some rebel and reject Him and in the doing so become evil, sin is the evidence. Because humankind cannot rectify that we remain in our sin and are accordingly separated from God. God however provided the solution, Jesus died that we might be saved. He took upon himself our sins and if we believe we are cleansed and pure in the eyes of God. That means that although our flesh dies our spirit will dwell with God. If we refuse that wonderful gift we remain outside of God’s presence forever!

One day in the future Jesus will return but no-one knows the day, it could be tomorrow, next month, next year, no-one knows. There will come a time when it will be too late to accept God’s gift…..

Matthew 24:40
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.

Matthew 24:41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Luke 17:34
I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.

Luke 17:35
Two women will be grinding corn together; one will be taken and the other left.’

Why will this happen?

Isaiah 57:1
The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.

At that time there will be great suffering and despair, it will be the time of the end

Daniel 12

[ The end times ] ‘At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the book – will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. …
What will it be, a promised everlasting life or condemnation forever? The choice is yours, no-one else’s and all you have to do is believe in Jesus, repent of your sins and invite him to be your Saviour. After all there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.
Shirley Anne

Borrowed time

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Borrowed Time (John Lennon song)

Borrowed Time (John Lennon song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suppose most of us give little thought about our mortality. It’s not something people like to dwell upon when they are enjoying their lives. For many people the act of dying simply means they cease to exist, they have no hope of a life beyond the grave because they don’t believe in such things. It says in Scripture these things…

Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

God has set eternity in our hearts so for those who don’t believe in God does that mean they never think about eternity? I think not. I think the unbelieving heart is simply not ready to accept it. The fact is eternity does exist. How could it not? Whether we believe in it is irrelevant. We cannot say that something doesn’t exist because we don’t believe it, that is an absurd assumption. It is the same with God, not believing in Him doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. Because we don’t understand doesn’t mean it isn’t true. In the latter half of the verse shown it reminds us that NO one can fathom what God has done. It is all above our understanding, yet if we believe in God, if we believe in Jesus Christ, God actually gives us the understanding through His Spirit! It all becomes clear and in fact not believing becomes an abhorrent thought. What God reveals in our hearts is the truth and we have hope if we trust in Him. What’s more He give us that eternal life once we believe in Him and in the One He sent, The Lord Jesus, it becomes the reality we didn’t previously understand.

One of the most amazing things is He gives us the choice to believe or not. From someone who spent 43 years of her life as an unbeliever but became a believer, who did not understand but now does, believe me when I say that knowing God and having that eternal hope is worth reaching out for. Don’t put off seeking God for your days may be numbered, in fact they are numbered. Waiting for another time may prove too late, you are living on borrowed time…………….

God is calling you to Salvation through His Son Jesus……….reach out and believe.

Shirley Anne

Here is a true story…..
Sharing Your Story (Acts 4:1–22)
Peter and John are “unschooled, ordinary men.” Both are fishermen—a lower-class vocation. Some of the Pharisees who arrest the two for healing a crippled beggar are particularly puzzled by the men’s ability to speak articulately and effect healing. The only possible explanation is that these men have spent time with Jesus.
Jesus’ forgiveness and grace together comprised the only reason Peter and John had a chance to succeed in life. The same holds true for Ken Freeman, who emerged from homelessness to become a lifelong evangelist.
His mother was an alcoholic, and his father didn’t care enough to stick around. In a seemingly unending succession, Ken called nine different men his stepfather, but not one of them proved to be a worthy father figure. His home life brought only continuing abuse and neglect. As a young teen, Ken decided that he was better off on the streets than living the continuing nightmare at home.
When he was 16, Ken heard about a local church revival. He didn’t care about the revival as such, but he was lured by the free pizza being offered. Although he attended with the goal of filling his belly, God had other plans.
That night Ken met Jesus for the first time, and the encounter transformed him completely. He developed a growing passion for teenagers and their families, and at age 19, he began traveling and speaking at youth camps and church revivals across the country. Ken did not attend seminary to learn how to tell people about Jesus. He simply told his story. And people listened.
More than 200,000 people have come to know Jesus through Ken’s ministry. Despite having grown up in a broken home, he and his wife have been married for almost 40 years. Ken credits Jesus for the miraculous changes and incredible ministry that have blessed his life.

How do you think Ken Freeman can maintain such a positive outlook on life despite his difficult childhood?

Taken from NIV College Devotional Bible

Shirley Anne

Salvation belongs to our God

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What About Those Who Have Never Heard About Jesus? (Acts 4:12)

Jesus was clear about the rules for receiving salvation when he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6). And when speaking about Jesus, the apostle Peter said in this passage, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Further, all people have to answer to God whether or not they have “heard” about him (see Heb 9:27). The Bible states that God has clearly revealed himself in creation (see Ro 1:19–20) and that he has “set eternity in the human heart” (Ecc 3:11). This means that people see all around them the evidence of God and sense within themselves the truth that they are meant for more than this world. God is not the problem; humankind is. Because of sin, people reject this knowledge of God and rebel against his will (see Ro 1:21–23). It is only because of God’s grace (see Eph 2:8–9) that he saves people from their own sinful desires (see Ro 1:24–32).

How God works out his plan is mysterious and complicated. We have our ideas of what it means for Jesus to be “the way,” but he is not bound by our understanding. God works to accomplish his goals in ways that we will never see or comprehend. The wideness of God’s mercy and the tenacity of his love is beyond our intellectual capacity.

Jesus is central in the redemption story. But God rewards those who seek him (see Heb 11:6). It is our mission to help those who seek him and make sure that those who have yet to answer God’s call hear and understand the gospel (see Mt 28:19–20; Ac 1:8). God always acts justly; he never acts unfairly or wrongly (see Dt 32:4). We might be surprised at the final roll call of heaven. Fortunately, it is God—not us—who will sort out the details in each person’s case.

Taken from NIV Essentials Study Bible

Shirley Anne

Christmas is over

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Bet you knew that already! No more people saying Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ or should be but you took no notice anyway, you just wanted to have a good time. So you had your good times, seeing friends and family, partying, eating lots of good food, having too much alcohol too often it hurt the next day. Well that was your good time and sadly it’s all done and finished with now and even better you don’t have to think about Jesus, if ever you did in the first place. Jesus was thinking about you though. Jesus was remembering the days he suffered, was beaten and tortured, tied and nailed to a cross and it was all for you. Why did he do that? Because he loves you even though you may not love him or even believe in him or that he ever existed. The thing is, he had always existed and he does love you.

John 1
The Word became flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

He offers you a better life, an everlasting one and one centred not on earthly pleasures which all pass away but on a life with him in Heaven and all you’ve got to do is believe in him and in the one who sent him, our Creator God the Father. If you turn to Jesus Christmas and New Year celebrations , nice as they are will be seen for what they are as they are celebrated by unbelieving hearts. You will have passed from death to life and have a real future to look forward too so why not take him at his word? Come and feel the love of Jesus…..

Come and feel the love of Jesus,
Lose your sin and foolish pride,
Let his arms gently enfold you,
Sense his presence at your side,
Sense his presence
Sense his presence
Sense his presence at your side.

Come to me you sick and weary,
Lay your head upon my knee,
I am Jesus, I am healer,
Put your trust and faith in me,
Put your trust
Put your trust
Put your trust and faith in me.

Come to me downcast and lonely,
Lay your burden at my feet,
You’re the one that I have died for,
I have come to set you free,
I have come
I have come
I have come to set you free.

Copyright Shirley Anne 24 Aug 1995

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Shirley Anne

A Saviour is born

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Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Meditation (Galatians 4:4–7)
We are about to celebrate the birth of the Son of God, the firstborn over all creation—not the first created being, as some religions falsely claim, but the one who holds our universe together and without whom we would have neither life nor breath. His birth in Bethlehem has implications for all of us. Jesus was born on earth so that we could become God’s children too, all of us. The gospel Jesus brought was for everyone, then and now. It destroyed all barriers among people: social, racial and gender-related. Our unity is based on our new identity as children of God. That is what we are! Our status in Christ far surpasses any earthly advantages we would have over one another. There is no room for pride. No distinction of slave or free, no wealthy or poor, no in or out.

We are all God’s children. He has sent the Holy Spirit to be within us. We can “hear” God speak to us through His Word. We can speak directly to him in daily prayers. He hears the cries of his children, “Abba, Father.” All this is our Christmas gift from him. It’s a free gift. We cannot earn it. We cannot work for it. All we need to do is accept the gift. God loves us and wants us to be with him, to love him. He accepts us as we are. He has a plan for each one of us. He wants us to be close to him for all eternity. God sent his Son to earth, the baby whose birth brings us Christmas, to make that happen.

Prayer
Abba, Father, how comforting it is to come to you, knowing your love is a gift I did not earn and can never lose. Thank you. I am in awe as I realize how great a gift this truly is. Though I live in a culture that erects barriers between people, barriers that divide us and make us feel either arrogant or inferior, I am so grateful to you for sending your Son, the Lord Jesus, who broke through these walls with his love, acceptance, forgiveness and service to the lost, to the least and to the lonely. Teach me to treasure all the people I encounter today, to love them and to seek only good for them. In your Son’s name I pray. Amen.

Taken from Once a Day 25 Days of Advent

Shirley Anne

Friday and the long weekend

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‘So this is Christmas‘ as John Lennon sang in the well-known song. When I was young it wasn’t so much the day itself but always the approaching days which held the excitement, in fact the day itself wasn’t as exciting as I remember and sometimes it turned out a little disappointing. I find that happens a lot in life, we expect something to be exciting and we find we are somewhat disillusioned when the time comes. Sometimes we expect too much and when we do we get let down. Not always though, no, there are things which satisfy in life but I think you’ll agree, they don’t last and soon we are looking for another thrill, another exciting event. This pretty much sums up Christmas for many people but it doesn’t have to be that way, there is more to Christmas or rather the message it contains that will never disillusion if taken to the heart. Who cares? Many simply want to enjoy the time without the ‘religious’ theme but without the religious message the whole event becomes meaningless, just another event in the calendar we look forward to for enjoyment. Well Christmas is a time to rejoice and be happy, a time for people to get together in love and friendship though for some that isn’t their lot. Tell people that God sent His only begotten Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit by a virgin to be an atoning sacrifice for those who have turned away from Him and they will laugh, they will scoff, they will not believe, but that is the message that Christmas brings. It is the gift of God, a free gift and it doesn’t arrive on a sleigh pulled by reindeer and driven by a guy in a red outfit! The truth of the matter is we ALL need salvation for we ALL fall short of the glory of God. God is waiting for those who will turn to Him in repentance, who will accept His free gift of life that only comes through Jesus Christ, the babe in the manger lost in the secular version of what should be a Christmas centred around him and the reason he came.

Detail - Glory of the New Born Christ in prese...

Detail – Glory of the New Born Christ in presence of God Father and the Holy Spirit (Annakirche, Vienna) Adam and Eva are represented bellow Jesus-Christ Ceiling painting made by Daniel Gran (1694-1757). Post-processing: perspective and fade correction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isaiah 7

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Immanuel means ‘God with us’

Remember what Christmas is really about.

Shirley Anne

The days grow long

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English: Holy Spirit church: Cellingpainting: ...

Holy Spirit church: Cellingpainting: Birth of Christ Locality: Heiligengeistplatz Community:Klagenfurt  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Around this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere of our Earth the days begin to lengthen, that is the hours of daylight. At the same time of course the nighttime hours get shorter. The day is almost upon us, the celebration of the birth of our Saviour and many will be marking the day in their usual way. Before I became a Christian believer I had another faith, I was an atheist, I didn’t believe in God or Jesus Christ and I’d never heard of the Holy Spirit. I followed, like many others, in the tradition of men, celebrating Christmas as non-believers do. People around me would say, Christmas is about family and it is a time for children. Children were told, as they still are, that Santa Clause would be bringing them toys if they were good. Why are children told such lies? There is no harm in make-believe I hear you say but it is just as easy to tell the truth is it not? Children end up growing as non-believers and the lies are perpetuated. If you are going to celebrate someone’s birth surely they will be at the centre of it won’t they? No-one goes to a birthday party that has nobody there whose birthday it is! There cannot be a party without its host. There cannot be a party without an invitation to join-in either, that would be stupid, yet it happens every year at Christmas. If Christ is not in Christmas there is no birthday party to celebrate. Time is short and Christmas will be upon us in a day or two. Time is short for us all and one day we each of us will pass away. For those who believe there is a party in Heaven that will last for eternity and Jesus will be there to greet them, he is their host and will welcome them in because he knows them. Do you know Jesus? Is he the host at your party? Without him there is no real celebration. The invitation is there…..are you going to accept it?

I no longer celebrate Christmas as I once did, the way the world does but I celebrate in my heart each and every day for what Jesus did for me and praise him.

Shirley Anne

Peace child

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I was fascinated reading this article, one of the many I receive via email each day. It needs no embellishment so I post it here as it was written…….

A Modern Peace Child (Romans 5:7–8)
God spans the gulf
Don Richardson spent several frustrating years among the Sawi tribe in New Guinea. He had traveled from America as an anthropologist/missionary, hoping to bring the Christian message to a nearly Stone Age tribe. But his message kept colliding with the tribe’s unusual beliefs.
Christian values of love and forgiveness had no appeal to the Sawi, for they held up deceit as the highest virtue . . . .In fact, when Richardson told them the story of Jesus, only one incident sparked their interest: the story of Judas’s betrayal! To the Sawi, Judas was a genuine hero; he had shrewdly penetrated the trusted inner circle of disciples before turning against Jesus.
A Mysterious Ceremony
Every time Richardson tried to share Christ with the Sawi, the attempt miscarried. Finally, after watching the fourteenth bloody battle fought outside his home, Richardson reached the end of his patience . . . .He decided to leave New Guinea, despite the Sawi’s pleas that he stay.
Just before Richardson left, the Sawi and their deadly enemies, the Haenam tribe, staged an elaborate ceremony in front of his home. It was their final effort to convince the missionary to stay.
The entire village gathered to watch the event. All were silent except the Sawi chief’s wife. She screamed loudly as the chief seized their six-month-old baby from her arms and held him high in the air. The chief then carried his son to the enemy chief and gave him to his enemies. A member of the tribe explained to Richardson that the Haenam tribe would rename the baby and rear him as one of its own.
Breakthrough
Richardson knew that no Sawi could be fully trusted, since any action might be part of an elaborate deception. But that memorable day he learned of the one great exception: the peace child. A chief’s giving his own son to his enemy—that profound, painful act would overcome all suspicion. By mutual agreement, as long as the peace child lived, no wars could be fought between the two tribes.
Something clicked in Don Richardson’s mind as he watched the spectacle. At last he had found an analogy—a parallel story—built into the Sawi’s culture that could convey the message of a forgiving God. He gathered members of the tribe around him and, with a pounding heart and dry throat, told them of God’s peace child. God had sent his own Son, Jesus, to live among enemies, to make peace with humankind . . . .
A Key Passage
Perhaps Paul felt that same pounding heart and dry throat as he presented in 11 concise verses, Romans 3:21–31, the meaning of God’s offering of his peace child, Jesus . . . . Christ’s death, says Paul, was not a new idea, an addition to the Old Testament law. Rather, it was the completion of the law, what the Old Testament implied and foreshadowed. Like the Sawi, the Jewish culture had its own “redemptive analogies”; they all found true fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

Taken from NIV Student Bible

Romans 3:21-31New International Version – UK

Righteousness through faith
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished 26 – he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the ‘law’ that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

Shirley Anne

How lost

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Furniture

Furniture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I cannot escape it. Whenever the television is switched on and tuned-in to an independent broadcasting station I am bombarded with advertisements. I expect this of course but at this time of year the advertisements are aggressive and are so repetitive as to be annoying. As my readers I’m sure will know by now I detest advertising of this nature, in fact any dynamic and thrusting advertising but I do realise their necessity in the great scheme of things. As we are approaching Christmas the pressure to buy or invest in something is relentlessly pushed into our faces via the television screens. I often wonder how positive or negative the reaction to them is. For a few months now furniture manufacturers have constantly advertised their goods and the fact that they can deliver them before Christmas day. They subtly suggest how would-be buyers would benefit from having new furniture both to take advantage of their ‘special offers’ and to be able to accommodate their guests on the big day. We are made to think that we cannot do without new furniture. Aside from the fact that most people do not need new furniture the offers are at a reduced price to persuade us otherwise. I wonder how much profit these companies make if they can offer goods at half-price and still be in pocket! It’s not just furniture it is perfume, alcohol, seasonal foods, clothing, watches, electronic equipment and one of the most annoying to me anyway, Internet and television media suppliers. If I’ve seen each one every day I have seen them twenty or more times. Where did ‘Black Friday‘ come from? They must be desperate for our custom. The mute button on my remote control unit gets pressed often!
It is all to do with life in a modern society but the sad thing is that most people are influenced and taken-in by all the hype and many end up with so much debt it is frightening. People need to realise they are not sheep, they do not have to jump on the band-wagon so eagerly because their friends or family have done. This is the secular world, driven and kept well-oiled by commercialism which can only end when it runs out of steam. That energy is sapped out of all those who allow it but the people are blind. The people are comfortable with it all but don’t realise they are being manipulated. I took a step back from the false security that is secularism. It has no future, it is heading nowhere. I fell in love with my Creator and placed all my hope in Him. I fell in love with Jesus and have a future not based upon the secular life and all the material blessings I might gain from it. In the end they perish and have to be left behind one day. Can you see why I look at the ways of the world the way I do? Can you see what an empty future you have if you put your trust in worthless things, the things the secular world offers? Don’t take the advertisements too seriously. Take the offer your Creator God offers, the FREE gift of life everlasting in Jesus Christ.

Shirley Anne

Not good enough?

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Many people who have a less than basic knowledge of our Creator and yet want to believe and know more are often put off by the idea that God wouldn’t accept them. It may be because they consider themselves unworthy or that they think the idea of salvation and going to heaven a bit fanciful. In thinking that way they deny themselves something that if they really understood they would wonder why they resisted for so long. You cannot tell me what an apple tastes like if you’ve never eaten one. The plain truth is, God loves you whoever you are and despite whatever you have done. The first step is to be open-minded and not reject something that is far better than that which you now have as a doubter.

Shirley Anne

the-advocate

Clothed (Galatians 3:27)
Lord, I’ve done some messed-up stuff. There’s no way I can come into your presence.
Read on….
If you’ve had thoughts like this, they’re partly true—but mostly wrong. The truth in them is that you can’t come into God’s presence based on your own merit. But the whole truth is this: God has chosen another basis by which you can enter into his presence.
Our God is perfectly righteous, absolutely pure in all his words, actions and motivations. We, on the other hand, are sinful. Scripture teaches that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). And because we’re not pure and righteous, we can’t be in God’s perfect presence. God knew this—and it broke his heart.
But a love as big as God’s doesn’t give up. And he didn’t. So in order for us to come close to him, his Son chose to pay the cost of our sin, satisfying the very real debt we owed.
Jesus died to bridge the gap. Now we can enter into God’s presence, not on our own merit but because we are literally covered by the righteousness of Jesus. “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). When God looks at us, he sees us clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus.
Think…..
When you feel like you can’t come into God’s presence because you aren’t good enough, acknowledge the truth in your thoughts. But also acknowledge the lie.
Acknowledge the truth that on your own merit, you aren’t righteous. But don’t forget the second half of the truth: In Jesus, you are righteous. Clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, you can freely enter into God’s presence.
Live
When you sin, it’s a good thing to feel convicted. That means your heart is sensitive enough to recognize when something isn’t of God. But God doesn’t want you to live in shame. He wants you to come close to him, and he wants that so much that he paid an extremely high price for you to do so.

Taken from NIV The Great Rescue Bible

Shirley Anne