Tag Archives: Jesus

Hang on a minute

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Again we as a nation were subjected to acts of terrorism by religious fanatics as now eight people have died through their actions with many more having been wounded. The attackers, three of them, were shot and killed by the security services. Their motive? To kill as many unbelievers as they could or simply a retaliatory act as a punishment for the nation having been involved in the fight against religion-based terrorism in foreign parts? It doesn’t matter but what does matter is the fact that innocent people are killed or maimed in the process. What bothers me more is that I believe the atrocities are carried out in the name of a false god. Now hang on a minute, isn’t Allah God? He certainly is not, there is only one true God and He is The Creator, the ‘I Am’, who reveals Himself through His creation and through His Son Jesus Christ, for it is through Jesus that all things that have been made (created) have their being. Now hang on a minute all you believers in Allah who maintain that there was something extra that God did after Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind…………Jesus died that all might be saved and when He took His last breath as a human being He said it Himself…’It is finished’. All that could be done had been done. God (the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit) had planned it all and there was now nothing more that could be done. Why would God change His mind?

Mohammed (right) and the Angel Gabriel (left) ...

Mohammed (right) and the Angel Gabriel (left) in a building with three domes. Provenance unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why would the angel Gabriel be sent to give a message to Mohammed to tell him that ‘hang on a minute, God was only kidding when He suffered on The Cross (through Jesus Christ) for all mankind and now you are the true messenger’? The fact is He didn’t. Mohammed is called a prophet by his followers yet he didn’t prophesy anything. He gleaned information from existing texts of both the Old and New Testaments and concocted a ‘holy’ book called the Q’ran. A book filled with good sayings but also filled with untruths. Mohammed himself had lead a rather dubious lifestyle before he ‘got’ religion. He was in fact a military man a  soldier who had been ruthless in killing in his quest for followers and now he was preaching a false religion in the name of his false god Allah. Nothing much changes does it? I am sorry for my Muslim brothers and sisters who have been led up the wrong path, especially those who think that by killing others it will get them into their Paradise. It won’t. If it did then Allah is proven a god of hatred and Christ died for nothing.

English: Resurrection of Christ

Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Praise be to God for Jesus Christ who is the only way anyone can get to Paradise (Heaven). For there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved.{Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’ }. If you haven’t got Jesus therefore you haven’t got anything!

Shirley Anne

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

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

Staying the course

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Love in Thoughts

Love in Thoughts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My thoughts are fixed, my mind is set, I walk along the path with you.
My eyes are open, yet I cannot see, I feel your presence
Standing there right next to me.
I call your name, no answer comes, well nothing I can hear
I wait impatiently for you to whisper something sweet into my ear.
Why Lord do you not speak? Why Lord do you not say to me you care?
What can I do when all my thoughts are fixed on you?
I should know better, yes I know I should
For you don’t answer me in ways I thought you would.
But you are always there……….

Shirley Anne 23 Feb 2017

Sometimes I get the feeling or rather forget my Lord is with me throughout the days. When everything seems to be going wrong, when nothing seems to be going right, I forget Lord that you are standing by my side throughout it all. You see my weaknesses, my strengths, my heart’s wishes and the way I deal with them. You notice everything and so I have to be careful in my ways that I don’t offend you. Many times I fail Lord, you know it. You know all my faults and indiscretions yet still you love me and are ready to forgive. What a wonderful God you are. You love me so much that you gave your only begotten Son who paid the penalty for all my sins, my wrongdoing, the penalty I should be paying. You set me free and all you want is for me to love you back. I try my best Lord but know I fall short. By your mercy, grace and love I am saved. Thank you Lord. I stay the course because of our mutual love. My heart is fixed upon you……

Shirley Anne

 

Things will change, you can count upon it

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The Lord’s devastation of the earth Isaiah 24:1-6

1 See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth
and devastate it;
he will ruin its face
and scatter its inhabitants –
2 it will be the same
for priest as for people,
for the master as for his servant,
for the mistress as for her servant,
for seller as for buyer,
for borrower as for lender,
for debtor as for creditor.
3 The earth will be completely laid waste
and totally plundered.
The Lord has spoken this word.
4 The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers,
the heavens languish with the earth.
5 The earth is defiled by its people;
they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
and broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
its people must bear their guilt.
Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up,
and very few are left………..

Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible

Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How and when will God devastate the earth? (Isaiah 24:1–6)

To this point, Isaiah’s warnings have been about God’s judgment on specific nations. But here he broadens the word of doom to encompass the entire world: destruction will come to all who sin.
The picture he paints is of devastation so complete that it will rival the flood God sent in the time of Noah. Ruin its face (v. 1) suggests a disaster that will change the contours of the planet, much like the flood did. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, droughts and crashing meteorites have the potential to do that. This much is clear: God, not human beings, will lay waste to the planet in judgment for sin.
We don’t know when this destruction will happen. But Isaiah seems to say that after the earth is laid waste (v. 3), God will make a new creation (26:1). Perhaps this will be in the last days of human history, when God defeats evil once and for all. Because many scholars have interpreted the message this way, chapters 24–27 are known as the “Apocalypse of Isaiah.”

Taken from NIV Quest Study Bible

Isaiah was one of The Old Testament prophets living hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. He foretold of Christ’s birth which as we all know came about….viz….

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)

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.

Do you therefore suppose that the devastation of the world isn’t going to happen as the prophet says? We have an all-powerful and mighty Creator God. Believe.

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

You are unique

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Do you know that in this world there is no-one else the same as yourself? People may be similar and in so many ways, looks, attitudes, talents and ability but each one no matter who they are is a unique creation. Yes, we are all unique and yes, we were all created. We are the offspring of our parents as far as our flesh is concerned but our spirit is from the Creator of all things. When we die in the flesh that spirit lives on, it returns to God. We face judgement, every one of us, yes, even Christian believers will face judgement. Believers in Christ, in God, already have salvation but they will be judged on both the good and bad things they have done. Unbelievers will be judged too whether they believe it or not but they won’t have an intercessor they won’t have Jesus pleading their case for although he died for everyone’s sins redemption and salvation only come through accepting his gift of life (everlasting). Yes, we are all unique and we all have a choice, to believe in God and Jesus Christ or not to believe. God gave us all a free choice but warns us of the consequences of turning our backs to Him.

Shirley Anne

English: Zambrów - the monument of Jesus Chris...

Zambrów – the monument of Jesus Christ in the front of the church of the Holy Spirit Italiano: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE (Genesis 1:26–27)
Human beings are uniquely created in the image of God. When the rest of creation was being birthed, it was “good.” God created the birds, fish, plants and stars to display his splendour and oh, how amazing they are. God said these creations were good. However, when it came to humans, the tone changed. He said that the creation of humans was “very good.” Human beings are an extra-special creation for at least three reasons. First, it is clear that humans have an identity that is rooted in God. When God said, “Let us make mankind in our image,” he reiterated the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the act of creation . . . .Humans are special because Jesus, as a part of the Trinity, created them in his image. Second, humans are special because they were created for a unique purpose. No two humans are the same. Other aspects of creation serve general functions, but only humans have a unique, individual purpose. Third, humans are designed to have a one-on-one relationship with God through Jesus, powered by the Holy Spirit. As a right of being created in the image of their Creator, humans can relate directly to him. It is through Jesus that this relationship is made possible. He came and tore down the dividing wall of hostility that separated his special creation from God (Ro 8:34–39).
Jesus, thank you for tearing down that dividing wall between my Creator and me. Show me my purpose in this life and help me to accomplish it, starting today. Amen.
Taken from NIV The Jesus 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

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

A real concern

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A Christmas Without Snow

A Christmas Without Snow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have just written a comment on an article posted by AOL regarding snowfall at Christmas. Our weather forecasters seemingly cannot say with certainty if we in the UK will get a white Christmas. My comments centred on the fact that I thought it utter nonsense that people yearn for such things forgetting as many do what Christmas is supposed to be all about, the birth of our Saviour and not the fact that we might or might not get snow!
I was at work on Saturday afternoon. I had no work in the morning but had arranged to work in another town for someone in the afternoon because they had no free time during the week. I didn’t mind, after all it is Christmas as they say. Anyway the work was to replace a few light fittings with sparkling new ones. The lady for whom I was doing the work began chatting with me. Usually it is off-putting when people won’t just let me get on with the work but on this occasion I didn’t mind. I was taken a little by surprise because her questions all centred upon me, my family, friends, about my faith and about Christmas. I am not forthright in opening up to people regarding my family and friends my faith and beliefs unless they ask of course but if they do I don’t hold back. She began by asking what I was doing over Christmas. When I replied ‘nothing different from usual’ she was intrigued and wanted to know more so I explained, telling her that I don’t think Christmas is celebrated for the right reasons these days and it has become a secular and commercial machine having nothing to do with Christ. I also told her that my family have all but distanced themselves and my friends all live afar, not that I can claim having many friends as I don’t which means I couldn’t celebrate the holiday with them as they do even it was my wish to do so. My social life is just about zero too but that’s another story. She became very concerned and it prompted more questions which I answered as honestly as I could. She couldn’t believe I don’t celebrate Christmas as I once did, in fact I don’t celebrate it at all. The look of concern upon her face was evident. She asked if I was a Christian, a question I usually end up asking of those I talk with rather than it being asked of myself. Asking what church I went to and discovering I don’t prompted her to ask why. The answer I gave made her feel sad for me and she said she thought it was sad that I wasn’t in a fellowship and no longer felt the urge to be in one. I was more concerned about her feeling a sadness for me instead of just accepting the way I feel about things as being my own choice. I have to admit I haven’t felt such a concern for me for many years, not even from those closest to me, my own family. I am more concerned that people should believe in God and Jesus Christ rather than be concerned for me and never mind whether it will snow or not.

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