love

Let us give thanks…

There is a catchy tune called “Don’t worry, be happy” which has been recorded by quite a few musicians.

It sounds all well and good, but how realistic is it to expect us to simply not worry and be happy? Things go wrong, we have health issues, people lose their jobs, and all sorts of other things can trouble us and make us unhappy.

When Jesus said “don’t worry” He was far more realistic. He said we could trust our heavenly Father to watch over us at all times. You and I are important to Him, so He will not turn away and leave us.

True happiness is found in the Lord through His love and blessing.

Be Strong in the Lord

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6: 10-11). This is good advice from St Paul and we would all do well to take notice. The devil is always scheming against the church, trying to disrupt and harm us in our walk with God and each other. Has the devil been at you lately?

Our strength to overcome is not our own. We are to stand in God’s mighty power as we put on His armour. That means we let God rule in our hearts and minds. We put aside our own human will and let the Holy Spirit shape and mold us to be more like Christ. We don’t have to give in to the devil’s schemes, we can be strong in the Lord.

Scripture Readings

1 Kings 8:22-30, 41-43
Solomon’s prayer of dedication

Ephesians 6:10-20
Put on God’s armour

John 6:56-69
Jesus has the words of eternal life

He Chose You

King David celebrated with gusto when the “ark of the covenant” (not to be confused with Noah’s ark) was brought into Jerusalem. The “ark” was extremely important because it was the earthly throne of God, indicating that God was living among His people. But as David celebrated others looked on with disgust.

God always draws a reaction from us; either we love and worship Him or despise and reject Him. Jesus said whoever is not for Me is against Me, so there is no middle ground. David celebrated because he knew the Lord, and we too can celebrate because the Lord has made Himself known to us.

 

Scripture Readings

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12-19
David rejoices before the Lord

Ephesians 1: 3-14 
Spiritual blessings in Christ

Mark 6: 14-29 
The death of John the Baptist

Staying Connected

How many different varieties of grape are there? I imagine there are a lot and even though they have different colours and taste, they are still grapes. Jesus said: I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener (John 15:1). As Christians we are to be fruit of the vine. In other words, we are to live in union with Christ and reflect His character.

The only way we can do this is to be connected to Christ on a daily basis. Each day we should spend some time with Him in prayer and in His Word. As He said: if you remain in me and my words remain in you…you bear much fruit and show yourselves to be my disciples (John 15:8).

 

Scripture Readings

Acts 8:26-40  
Philip and the Ethiopian

1 John 4:7-12, 19-21
Love as God loves

John 15:1-8
The true vine and branches

God so Loved the World

One of the favorite hymns of the church starts with the words: What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear! It is a hymn of triumph, reminding us that we can always turn to Jesus and He will hear our prayer because He is our friend who loves us very much. In fact, He loves us with His whole heart.

St Paul wrote the same message to the Ephesians: because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:4). We all need to be loved by God, and we all need to respond to His love. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). We are not saved by works, but we are saved for works.

 

Scripture Readings

Numbers 21:4-9
A bronze serpent in the desert

Ephesians 2:1-10   
We are made alive in Christ

John 3:14-21   
God so loved the world

Jesus is Baptised

How important is your baptism? For Jesus, and the apostle Peter, baptism is vitally important. Jesus Himself was baptized in the river Jordan, and God the Father declared: You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased (Mark 1:11). Peter tells us that baptism saves, not by washing the body but by the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21).

Through our baptism we become children of God and everything Jesus achieved through His death and resurrection is gifted to us by God. But as with all gifts it needs to be unwrapped. We are called to live in the grace of our baptism every day, growing as a child of God, and celebrating the salvation won for us by Christ.

 

Scripture readings

Genesis 9:8-17
God’s promise to Noah

1 Peter 3:18-22
The flood  –  a symbol of baptism

Mark 1:9-15
The baptism, temptation, and preaching of Jesus

What’s Your Story?

What’s your story? What are the experiences which have shaped you throughout life? St Paul had a dramatic conversion which turned him from being a persecutor of the church to an apostle who felt compelled to become all things to all people…to win them for Christ. That’s quite a mouthful, but it is a great example for all Christians.

Each of us has a different story. We have different personalities. But the one thing we have in common is the fact that God wants to use us to draw others to Himself. We   belong in the “body of Christ” and as a body has different parts to do different things, so God will be able to reach different people through us. So, what’s your story?

 

Scripture Readings

Isaiah 40:21-31
The greatness of the Lord

1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Free to be all things to all people

Mark 1:29-39
Jesus heals many people and preaches the good news

We are chosen, holy and dearly loved. So what?

Despite the Bible being written thousands of years ago, it’s messages are still just as relevant, just as useful, just as valuable today—and none more so than Paul’s letter to the Colossians.  Their newborn churches had grown quickly, inspired and filled with the Holy Spirit, but just as quickly attacked and distracted by underhand non Christian preachers.

Paul encourages the fledgling churches to return to their faith in Christ by reminding them that they have been chosen by God Himself to be part of the family, that God has made them holy and set them apart and that God has shown His divine and unconditional love for them by sending His one and only Son to pay the price for their sins.

But wait, there’s more! To those who remain in Him, God promises even more gifts!  Every Christmas season, our minds flit between commercial gifts we’ve received, those we’ve given, the food we’ve eaten and the left-overs still waiting to be consumed.  Make time to consider the spiritual gifts that God has showered upon us.

Then think ‘So what?’
So what have I received?
So what does that mean to me?
So what do I do with them now?

 

Scripture Readings

Isaiah 60: 1-6
Arise! Shine, for your light has come!

Ephesians 3: 7-12
The wisdom of God has been revealed

Matthew 2: 1-12
Visitors come to worship Christ

Christ, Our Saviour is Born

Who would have thought that a little baby could have such an effect on the world? How often does an army of angels appear, singing “Glory to God in the highest!” at the birth of a baby? For a few thousand years now people all over the world have been celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in many and varied ways.

And the reason is quite simple: when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman…to redeem those under the law (Galatians 4:4). We don’t celebrate an ordinary baby, we celebrate the birth of our Saviour. We celebrate God’s gift of love, and His desire for us to live with Him for ever. May His love be your blessing today and always.

Scripture Readings

Matthew 1: 18-25
God sends His Son

Luke 2:1-7
The birth of Jesus

John 3:16-21
God’s love for us

Partners in Christ

One of the best known verses in the Bible is John 3:16  –  God loves the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. People will only be able to believe if they hear and learn about Jesus, and this is where God has called us to be in partnership with Him, living and sharing our faith.

The thing about partnerships is that they are made from parts. We are all parts of the Body of Christ. Each of us has different gifts and abilities, so each has different work to do. But since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and we all need to be in fellowship with each other. This is God’s way and it is to be our way too.

Scripture Readings

Isaiah 40:1-5
Prepare the way of the Lord

2 Peter 3:8-15a
The day of the Lord

Mark 1:1-8
John the Baptist prepares the way

Come for a Chat & Cuppa

In the hall after each worship.
EVERYONE WELCOME

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