Bible Verse: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”(Genesis 50:20)
Holding on to your faith during challenging times can be very difficult when you can’t see clearly what the road ahead may hold. Your dreams, hopes, and aspirations may seem unattainable because of the various barriers you face. Your health, finances, relationships, or other circumstances may seem insurmountable to achieving your goals. But hold on to your faith you must.
Joseph was a person who had a very long wait before his dream was fulfilled. He had to go through many years of trials and discouragements before seeing the fulfillment of God’s plans for him. I’m sure he didn’t expect it to take nearly as long as it did. He suffered rejection and betrayal several times along the way, but he still believed in God’s plan for his life. Even at a young age, Joseph was able to see past his current difficulties and know that God was going to do something great in his life. He knew deep in his heart that he had his heavenly Father’s love and approval.
Joseph’s success story seems unlikely from the outset. Born to Jacob in his old age, and sold into slavery in his youth by his older brothers, it must have felt like assault on his feeling of importance, especially after the dreams he’d had. He went from being a person of high status to low status in the blink of an eye. However, Joseph’s faith pulled him through all the hardships he faced, including his stint as a wrongfully convicted prisoner. He knew that God would still make his dream come to pass.
This is where many of us fail. We see the challenges ahead and begin to focus on all the problems that continue to plague us. Instead of moving forward, we seem to move backward, making no progress at all. We take one step forward only to take two steps back. We begin to believe the lies of the enemy that we don’t have a call from God, that we’re worthless and there’s nothing God can do. But that’s not true, it’s a lie.
God wants us to know that even in the midst of hardship, we are in the centre of His will. When the circumstances are tough, God is still in it with us. The Holy Spirit is still inside us and God is going to make His plans come to pass. We often have lessons to learn from these circumstances, because we are still growing as we journey, and God wants to teach us those things that help to build our character. We must take our eyes off our problems and look to Jesus. We need to settle in our hearts that God’s dream will come to pass no matter how dark our situation is. However difficult the present situation may seem, God is still with us.
Even when Joseph was sold into slavery and found himself at one of the lowest points in his life, it was God’s grace that we see in action. Here was God stepping right into the midst of his hardships. Even though Joseph was going through the most difficult time of his life up to this point, God reminded him that he had a seed of greatness inside, and he knew that God was on his side.
As the years passed and Joseph slowly climbed out of the pit of slavery, another ominous event clouded his future. A false accusation against him caused him to fall back to the bottom as a prisoner. He was thrown into jail because Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him trying to assault her. Once again finding himself in the darkest of straits, Joseph chose not to be bitter. Instead, he held on even more tightly to the promises God had given him, and did not let this hardship shake his faith.
Even in the most difficult situations that Joseph went through, God was preparing him to be the man He wanted him to become. So we, too, can be sure that no matter what the circumstances, challenges, or difficulties that we face may be, we can be sure that God is with us and has a plan for us. “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
Never let go of the faith and hope we have in God, through Jesus Christ. He created us and He will sustain us. Praise be to God Most High.
Have you ever had a “mountain top” experience? You found yourself in a quiet place where God spoke words of love and promise, purpose and strength to you and you felt certain that you knew it was Him and you felt confident of his comfort and nearness.
In the sixth volume in the Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, the lion Aslan gives school girl, Jill Pole, a special mission to find the lost Prince of Narnia. Having brought her out of the earthly realm, he meets with her at the top of a very high mountain, ensures she memorizes four signs to guide her quest, then sends her to Narnia, floating down the mountain on the breath of his mouth.
Just before sending Jill off, Aslan stresses the importance of remembering the signs he had given her.
“Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters. And now, daughter of Eve, farewell.”
Though I doubt any of us are tracking down lost princes in strange lands filled with talking animals, the Bible says God has given each of us “good works” to do that he purposed and designed us for (Ephesians 2:10). I love how The Message Translation puts it in Ephesians 1:11:
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.”
The farewell words of Aslan remind us the importance of holding on to our guiding signs—the Word of God (the messages He communicates to us through the Bible and the Holy Spirit).
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NLT)
When we come down off our “mountain”, the place of his manifested presence, we descend to the contrasting situations of life, where we often sense the hiddenness of God and must seek to build our faith in Him and our assurance of his character instead of relying on mere emotions.
For many, the year 2020 has been a confusing time, full of uncertainty and an unexpected turn of events. It would be easy to look at our circumstances in the world today and fall into discouragement by the way things appear. But, like Jill, we are instructed not to pay attention to appearances, we are told to set our eyes on things above.
The Passion Translation puts it this way in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18:
“We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.”
Are you currently experiencing the hiddenness of God? Now more than ever we need to cling to His guiding words. If you are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, weighed down by your circumstance and the state of the world, it is time to fix your eyes on the things above. Is there a hopeful verse you can memorize? An affirming truth about God’s purpose for your life and the promise of your destiny? What Guide Words have you been holding onto lately?
“Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so... Take great care…And the signs you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters. And now, daughter of Eve, farewell.”
Choose Grace by Pastor Dave
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6: 33
Luke 10: 38-42
Who in the world would you most like to meet? Think who that could be; it does not have to be a person who is alive today. Now imagine that this person was coming to your home. How excited would you be, what would you ask them, offer them by way of hospitality and how would you prepare your home and yourself? If you answer these questions you may be able to put yourself in the mind and emotions of Mary and Martha who welcomed Jesus (our Luke reading). We are told that Martha opened her home to Jesus and then became distracted by all the preparations she had to make. Mary (presumably not in her own home), who was Martha’s sister, simply sat at Jesus’ feet and listened. This vexed Martha who complained to the Lord. A very human response a very real situation.
Jesus responded to Martha, “…..you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” Here is where I want to connect with our thoughts this week on God’s Grace filled plans for us and how we live within them. It is easy to oversimplify this account as being a choice between practical action and spiritual devotion. The truth though is that both are needed. We do not want to fall into the different traps of either being so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use or being so wrapped up in doing that we do not know God at all. It is also true that if we are so anxious or troubled, we cannot choose the ‘one thing we need;’ that which is better for us.
Bringing this point home, Jesus is calling us to choose Him and to lay all that troubles us at His feet. We can then begin to truly know Him and from that choice of Grace our actions will flow. As I often say in Church, “Our being affects our doing; who we are drives what we do.” If we choose Jesus, choose Grace, our ‘being’ will be changed and our ‘doing’ blessed. To echo the words of Christ recorded above, if we truly seek Him, He will help us overcome our worries and all else that we need will be added to us. The next step is then to live in the way of Grace. This latter point has been our area of focus for a while and will be further blessed this Sunday when Chris Barnes talks about ‘Being led by the Spirit.’ May we therefore let go of distraction, choose Grace and be led by the Holy Spirit in God’s plans for us.
To Ponder: What really distracts and worries you at the moment? Try and make a written list and put it before the Lord, giving it to Him and laying it at the Cross (once prayed on in this way it may help to rip up the piece of paper). Then consciously choose to listen to Jesus, in prayer, through the bible and in silence. Listen for His still, quiet voice of Grace.
Pray: May the Lord bless us and keep us; may the Lord make his face shine on us and be gracious to us; may the Lord turn his face towards us and give us peace. Amen
From Numbers 6: 24-26
Praise: The Blessing
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp6aygmvzM4&list=RDMMVuCLqoxigNA&index=14
*I am taking some time off now so my thanks in advance to the ‘Guest Bloggers’ who will seek to encourage and bless you in the Lord
God's Grand "Yes!"
From Genesis through Malachi, the Old Testament is full of promises. God promises that the seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent. He promises he will never destroy the earth again after the Flood. He promises to bless the whole world through Abraham’s descendant. He promises to give his people a home of their own where they can live at peace. He promises a King who will rule with justice. He promises to pour out his Spirit. He promises to heal, restore, renew, protect, provide and put right.
The psalmist sang, “All the Lord’s promises prove true” (Psalm 18:30). While the Old Testament makes promises about Christ, the New Testament is the story of how God has kept and will keep all of the promises he has made. Every promise of God relies on Jesus for its fulfillment. Paul said it this way: “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” ascends to God for his glory (2 Corinthians 1:20). Who Jesus is, what he has done, and what he will still do; is the sum and substance of the fulfillment of the promises of God.
Jesus is the Deliverer, the Mediator, the Ruler, the Reconciler, the Restorer, the Rescuer, the Light, the Beauty, the Joy that God has promised to us.
Jesus brings us into the close and nourishing relationship God has pledged to share with us. Jesus opens the way to enjoy the forgiveness God promised to extend to us. Jesus is the holiness we are given through faith so we can answer God’s invitation into his presence. Jesus is the life that is given to us so we do not have to fear the grave.
And Jesus will still be God’s “Yes” to all of his promises yet to be fulfilled. He will return to us to resurrect our bodies from the grave. He will bring us into the new heaven and new earth he has prepared for us. He will be the source of our joy and satisfaction forever as we worship around his throne.
In a world full of so many broken promises, let us keep our focus on the One who has never and will never break a promise.
Prayer – Jesus, you are the fulfillment of everything God has promised. Thank you for all that you are, all you have done and all that you will do. I accept your invitation to spend eternity with you, with a resounding “YES!”
“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
1 Timothy 6: 11-12
Ephesians 5: 15-21
On Monday we considered the wonderful plans God has for us in His Grace; His desire to prosper and bless us. As we live in the tumult of this world and with our desires that are often contrary to God’s will it is easy to miss these plans and misunderstand what they might be. We grow as His children as we grow into Him becoming like Christ. There is however a daily battle against our old nature, the world (as in all things opposed to God) and Satan (Ephesians 6: 11-12), to prevent ourselves from being taken away God and His blessings. How do we guard against this so that we live in His presence and blessing? We quoted the prophet Jeremiah on Monday and his guidance stands; we must seek God with all our heart. Jesus echoes this truth when He calls us to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6: 33). Our Scriptures today help us see how we do this:
If all this sounds too hard and demanding then we need to recognise the truth; it is! We need now to remember all of our focus on God and how He enables us in His power, through His Son and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; the truth of Grace. It is why we are focusing on the Holy Spirit for this year – we need His abiding presence for the work of sanctification in us (in effect being made like Christ). We are in a battle of faith in this life (1 Tim 6: 12). We also need each other, the Church. It is why we are encouraged to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph. 5: 21). So may we know the Grace filled plans God has for us and in His strength and His way make every effort to live within them; in doing so we will take hold of the eternal life we have been called to (1 Tim. 6: 12).
To Ponder: In prayer, dwell on the goals of our faith pursuit: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. What do each mean, how do we live them out in our lives; what do we need to flee and disregard in order to possess these qualities?
Pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy Kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen
Praise: Seek ye first
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7spyhVBrA4
How can it be
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt5X91ciE6Y&list=PLU-3tkJcoSn2ufw8rccl-62axQuxpxUX2
On resurrection day, Jesus met two of his disciples on their way to Emmaus. They were feeling lost, disillusioned, and hopeless because of the very public death of Jesus Christ they had witnessed just days before. They were so downcast they didn’t even recognize Jesus as He walked along with them. Have you ever felt that way?
These disciples had built their identity, who they believed they were, on their own story. It was based on being an Israelite and looking forward to the establishment the kingdom of Israel (Lk 24:19-21). This was their Jewish identity, it was who they believed they were. But in a matter of hours, like a house of cards, their identity fell apart with Jesus’ crucifixion.
I did not grow up in a Christian home or attend church as a child. I was on my own early in life, but I worked hard to create a life for me and my family. Things were difficult but, overall I thought I had done most things right. However, one day, my life fell apart, and I was deeply hurt and disillusioned. Like the disciples, I didn’t see it coming. That’s often the way our lives change – unexpectedly. Through various circumstances, God allowed me to realize how much I needed Him, slowly drew me to Himself and in middle-life, I became a Christian. I learned that for most of my life, I had based my identity on something other than Him.
Like the disciples, we sometimes build our identity on our traditions, education, cultural values, careers, money, family, or happiness. However, when our identity is built on the things of this world, we are focusing on the “here and now”, and there is nothing more unstable than the “here and now,” as we have all seen over the last many weeks.
The risen Jesus knew the disciples’ hearts and came to their rescue. Jesus “himself drew near and went with them” (Luke 24:15). Jesus didn’t wait for them to come to Him. Jesus met the disciples where they were, in their distress as they were seeking to make sense of it all, looking for a solid foundation to anchor their identity, while they were caught up in their own small, pitiful story of hopelessness. Here, Jesus told them another story: God’s story. God’s resurrection story which brings hope to our story, wherever we are in it. And just as He did with the disciples, Jesus meets us where we are. Because He is alive, in Him, we have a new identity, a resurrection identity. In Jesus, the puzzle pieces of our lives fit together coherently because He gives us the whole picture of what life truly is about. Because of His resurrection, we are now adopted as Children of God and are a part of His magnificent story.
In Jesus, the disciples found joy in the midst of pain, and hope in the midst of loss and hopelessness. And so can we.
Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-35
Plans of Grace by Pastor Dave
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich..”
2 Corinthians 8: 9
Jeremiah 29: 10-14
Sometimes our lives, situations and outlook seem incredibly bleak. We may feel trapped, guilty, alone, lacking in hope and feel we have no real prospects. In the Old Testament God’s people were often in positions like this; quite frequently because of their own actions but on occasions because of other factors. Our reading today has the prophet Jeremiah telling the people that despite their situation God had amazing plans for them. Their captivity would not be forever, it had a purpose and He would reconcile their lives and situation.
Last week we encouraged people to look at God’s Story and Our Story because, as I often say, they are meant to be together, forever entwined. You heard from some of our musicians and how God speaks to them through music and lyrics (incredibly gifted people). On Friday you will have heard from John who shared his story. John found himself in a terrible situation where he condemned himself for his actions and their outcomes – he was in dire straits. He had hurt people he knew and loved. The outcome was not what he expected. He was shown, much to his surprise and wonder, love and forgiveness. It helped transform his life and drew him deeper into God. I won’t repeat the details here but would encourage you to listen to our musicians and John’s stories via our website.
What John spoke about and the musicians referred to is known as Grace; God’s gifts of love and life to us through forgiveness in Jesus. It is called Grace because this incredible act of compassion on behalf of God is unmerited and undeserved by us. In our verse above we see that in this Grace, Jesus became poor so that we might become rich. Therefor if we stand in Jesus through faith there is now no condemnation for us – final! Nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8: 31-39).
How do we receive this Grace, how do we enter into His hope, plans and spiritual life? Jeremiah tells us that we need to seek God with all our heart and we will find Him (vs. 13). The apostle Paul tells us that through our faith in Him we will be saved by His Grace (Ephesians 2: 8). May we all realise the depth of God’s love for us, His joy over us, His plans for us – in short His Grace. May this Grace transform our lives and those around us and in so doing bless the world.
To Ponder: Meditate on God’s Grace and unpack what it means to you. Look back over the last two weeks of my blogs or listen to John’s Story if you need help. Do you recognise the need for God’s Grace; do you feel His loving embrace?
Pray: Lord Jesus we thank you that for our sake you became poor so that we may become rich….in you. Open our hearts and minds to grasp this Grace-filled gift of love. Help us to seek you with all our hearts that we may find you and in so doing find life. Show us the amazing plans you have for us. Amen
Praise: Members of St Aidan’s Church praise God for His plans for us
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwh7lfGQCWE&feature=youtu.be
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJNR0lxbIP4
Grace wins every time
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JXl1czvh7g
A Spirit of Love by Pastor Dave
“For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1: 7
1 John 4: 7-21
There is a lot that challenges real love and works to prevent its course. Lack of knowledge (of people and/or circumstances), prejudice, hurt, dislike of self and fear to name some of the more common barriers. As we looked at on Monday God has commanded us to love Him, our neighbour and ourselves; these the greatest commandments (Luke 10: 27). The greatest because love drives out fear, overcomes failure, hatred and covers a multidate of failings (1 Peter 4: 8). We, however, struggle to love God, our neighbour and often ourselves. For example an article on social media highlighted how almost two thirds of users lie to ‘airbrush reality;’ to make themselves fit their desired image.* To help overcome these barriers we’ve looked at who God is, last week, and this week how we can love in Jesus in such a way that He transforms our lives.
The first step, as we have focused upon, is to know God, this helps us to know and have love (1 John 4: 8). We know God through Jesus who walks the way of love (as we looked at on Wednesday) and who provides us the perfect example (1 John 4: 9-10). God therefore calls us to walk as Christ and to love as He does (1 John 4: 11); how? This is where the Holy Spirit enables and empowers. God has not given us a Spirit of timidity or fear but of love (see above) and He has given us His Spirit to live in us to enable us to love His way (1 John 4: 12-13). We will often find our love and will to love insufficient. If we believe in God through Jesus, we have His Spirit to empower our love so that we can know and rely on God’s love (1 John 4: 16).
I have found this to be true in practice in my relationships when I have put my faith in His promises. I am married to a most incredible lady. When we married, we made our vows to each other in the name and strength of God. When my love has proved fallible, I have consciously asked God for help and He has renewed and revitalised my love. This has been true when people have disliked or hated me because of my different vocations; God gives us love even for such situations (Matthew 5: 43-48).
If ever there was a time where the world needed this deep, true and empowered love it is now. Put your trust in Jesus and step out in love.
To Ponder: Who do you struggle to love most: God; other people/certain people; or yourself? Read the Scripture passage today, believe in Jesus and ask His Holy Spirit to empower your love. Look at others and yourself as people made in the image of God, at others as at least your equals and ask God to fulfil His promise of life changing love.
Pray: Father we love because you first loved us. We can only know real love if we know you so help us to know you – deeply. Empower us by your Spirit within us to love others and indeed ourselves. Help us to love as you love. Amen
Praise: Love divine all loves excelling
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGGcqhKShQ8
Love has a name
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Igdy0-cetuw&list=RDMMHcnfT4arZtI&index=19
Love Moved First
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8fWD_JpIFg&list=RDMMHcnfT4arZtI&index=17
*Mail on Sunday 27th/29th Dec 2014 by Barney Calman
In the book of Ezekiel, we see that Jerusalem had fallen and most of God’s people were in exile in Babylon. But then Ezekiel brought a message of hope and restoration from the Lord to his people who might have thought their God had abandoned them in this tough time.
I will rescue my flock, and they will no longer be shamed. I will judge between one animal of the flock and another. And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and be a shepherd to them. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David will be a prince among my people. I, the Lord, have spoken! (Ezekiel 34:22-24)
A “shepherd” in the ancient Near East was not only a term for one who tended sheep, it was also a common metaphor for a king. Good kings who led their people with strength and wisdom resembled good shepherds who endured the elements, protected their flocks against wild beasts, and tenderly led their sheep to good pastures. So, when Ezekiel announced God’s plan to send his royal Shepherd to tend his flock, it meant that God would put in place a Shepherd who would bring everyone back out of captivity and into his fold where he would rule with tenderness, not with brute power.
One flock, one Shepherd. No doubt it was this prophecy that was in Jesus’ mind and in the minds of those who knew the scriptures when he said:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep………I have other sheep, too, that are not in the sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. (John 10: 11,16)
Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise of a Shepherd. But obviously not all of Ezekiel’s prophecy was fulfilled in Christ’s first coming. Ezekiel said that God’s people will “no longer be prey for other nations,” will “live in safety” (34:28), and will “never again suffer from famines” (34:29). That day is still to come, and will surely come when the Good Shepherd returns. Finally, all of God’s children will be able to lie down in green pastures in safety with the good Shepherd, God’s Son, Jesus.
Even in the toughest of times, may we make the choice to listen and follow the Good Shepherd’s voice.
Prayer – My strong and trustworthy Shepherd, I have heard your voice and I am yours. How I long for that day when you return and I can finally live in perfect safety.
“Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for His friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”
John 15: 13-14
Matthew 16: 21-28
Last week we focused on who God is to enable us to love Him and walk in His peace. I committed to looking this week at how we love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in practice. As I meet that commitment I confess to finding it hard to turn my focus away from the unrest in the States which is spreading to other countries. The pain, anguish and division is clear and incredibly distressful to witness. The situation is hugely complex and its occurrence now amidst the pandemic, lockdown and economic crisis amounts to a ‘perfect storm.’ I wrote at the weekend encouraging us to pray; I renew that plea. What I did not say at the weekend is that in my life and experience the only thing that I have seen which really changes situations is a change in people’s hearts. The only real change I have seen and see in people’s hearts is that which the Lord Jesus brings. So our focus on Him and how to love Him today is actually of primary importance.
In our key verse above Jesus tells us of the greatest love that anyone can have; a love where a life is laid down for another. In our Matthew reading Jesus predicts His death where He laid down His life for us that we might know God and have life; life eternal. We may be able to grasp how someone would give their life for another whom they know and love but to do so for a person who they do not know, who perhaps rejects them or even hates them is something much bigger. This is exactly what Jesus did for us and does for us today (Romans 5: 6-8).
He tells us in our key verse that we are His friends if we do what He commands; and what does He command? In Matthew He continues and tells us that we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him (vs. 24). We may seek many things in our lives but the only way to save our lives is to give them fully to God (vs. 25-27). Jesus demonstrated self-sacrificial love, this the means of salvation and eternal life. As He gave His life for us He is calling us to give our lives to Him and to walk the way of self-denial and self-sacrifice; this is the true path of love. This is the love that changes people’s hearts and the love that changes situations. It is the way of undeserved forgiveness and seemingly impossible reconciliation. It is the love that marks the route of the ‘peacemaker;’ that which Jesus has called us to be (Matthew 5: 9). It is the love that the world needs now to bring healing to impossible situations; it is the way of the Cross. May we so walk and may this real love bring healing, forgiveness and reconciliation to the troubled world.
To Ponder: How is the Lord calling you to walk the way of the cross today; what areas of your life do you need to give to Him (do you need to give Him your life)? How might these truths guide your prayers for our world situation today, how might they transform the difficulties we see, and what is the Lord asking of you and of the Church?
Pray: Lord, while we did not know you, even hated you, you gave your life for us that we might live. You have provided for us the means of forgiveness and reconciliation in yourself. Enable us to give our lives to you and live in this way becoming your peacemakers in a world that so desperately needs you. Amen
Praise: At the Cross; Love Ran Red
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zev5tHjCB_s
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.