New Year Challenges and Changes

new year

new year

NEW YEAR CHALLENGES

A New Year brings fresh challenges and opportunities but life is so unpredictable! At times, the variety life brings can be very exciting but sometimes it’s a bit frightening. That flood in the house, the illness that took us by surprise! The speed of change and our helplessness can be disconcerting! As mere mortals, we cannot control our circumstances and have to try to cope with what is inevitable as well as we possibly can.

UNAVOIDABLE SITUATIONS

There are many situations like this in life. Illness often cannot be avoided, we are affected by what other people do, and often circumstances are out of our control. Most of the time we are quite skilful at coping but sometimes we just have to go with the flow. I am not a laid back type of person so I often wonder what it must be like to be relaxed and unaffected by changeable circumstances.

new yearDEATH

The ultimate uncontrollable event is death. It creeps up on every one of us. We may prolong life and improve the quality of our twilight years but we cannot evade death in the long term! I believe, and the Bible teaches, that there is hope in Jesus.

JESUS HAS CONTROL OVER DEATH

He is the only man who ever had control over his own death. It is recorded that Jesus brought at least three people back to life – see the accounts in the Bible in John 11, Luke 7:11-17 and Luke 8:40-56. When it came to His own death, Jesus voluntarily sacrificed His life. By this, I don’t mean only that He went the place of His execution willingly but that at His crucifixion His life did not ebb away, as it would with us. He consciously laid down His life so that we might have eternal life. Read it for yourself in the Bible, Luke 23.46. The Bible states it explicitly when it says ‘Christ died for our sins’.

THE PROFOUND MESSAGE OF CHRISTIANITY

The profound message of Christianity is this! My sinful behaviour has moral consequences. God is loving but He is also holy. His distaste of sin is such that it would be an insult to His character to allow people into His presence who have been marked by it. The dilemma is that God wants to share eternal life with His creatures but we, historically, have distanced ourselves from Him.

new yearTHE BIBLICAL SOLUTION

What is the solution according to the Bible? The Son of God became a man through a miraculous conception but a normal birth. In His life of thirty-three years, He demonstrated that He was God by His miracles and His knowledge. He proved that He was holy and flawless in character by how he lived – even his enemies stated that there were no flaws in Him. All men die because of sin but Jesus could not die as He was without sin, fault, wrong or error. His death was a voluntary payment for guilty humanity. As a result, God offers us pardon and forgiveness.

RECEIVING FORGIVENESS

So how do you get this forgiveness? God treats His creatures as thinking individuals. He has given them the capacity to choose. The offer is still on the table. Consider, grieve about and admit your sin to God, not a religious person or organisation. Believe and depend on what the Lord Jesus has done and accept Him as your Saviour.

NEW YEAR CHANGES

I cannot describe the change that you will find when you come. It cannot be defined in words. It does not guarantee a problem-free existence. It will bring about changes in your lifestyle, not enforced change as a result of rules but changes in interests and desires for better things. It will mean your guilty status before God has been resolved. You will be saved forever.
Read the Bible and seek the Lord while He may be found.
Images Courtesy of:
2019   – Covi
Cafe – Pexels
Cemetery – TazzAnderson
Woman and clock  –EnginAkyurt
Article Courtesy of:
findthemissingpeace.co.uk

Come unto me… and I will give you rest

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11v28

The Absence of Rest

As dusk settles on our city all seems peaceful. But, under this appearance of rest, turmoil and struggle abound. From day to day, the burdens, the disappointments, and sorrows of life bear down upon us, and in the darkest hours of struggle we can feel helpless, even hopeless.

Yet, in this helplessness there is hope. There, we realise that the source of our burden is our separation from God.  We begin to understand that rather than rest in our God and trust in Him, we have sought to follow our own path, to our own hurt. And there, we realise our own responsibility – that our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2).

At first, this seems to increase our helplessness. We wonder how we could ever be reconciled with God, knowing it is impossible for us to ever do enough to make things right with Him (Romans 3:10-20).

The Hope of Rest

But, in this darkest of hours hope appears, and descending into our darkness, Jesus Christ, ‘the Light of the world’ (John 9:5), invites us to find reconciliation and rest in Him.  Truly, these are words of hope:

Come unto me … and I will give you rest

This rest is not the kind of temporary rest we experience in this life.  Rather, it is a complete and eternal rest. A rest that knows the work of reconciliation is finished, once and for all, and this was accomplished through Jesus Christ, when God ‘made peace through the blood of His cross, to reconcile all things unto Himself’ (Colossians 1:20).

This rest has its source in God alone, yet Jesus Christ said, ‘I will give you rest’. There can be no other explanation than to understand that Jesus Christ is God – not another God, for there is only One God, the Creator, who having completed His work of creation, ‘rested on the seventh day’ (Genesis 2:2).

The Restoration of Rest

Now Jesus Christ, the author of rest, has come ‘to be the Saviour’ (1 John 4:14), the restorer of rest. He has come to ‘bare our sins in His own body on the tree’ (1 Peter 2:24); to make reparation for our wrongs.  For God ‘hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is a real and eternal hope, for it is based in the finished work of Christ.

Now, when we come in our helplessness to Jesus Christ, and repent of our sin, He lifts us up saying, ‘Your sins are forgiven … go in peace’ (Luke 7:48,50).  This forgiveness brings us to have peace with God (Romans 5:1), and as we come into His gracious presence, we come to enjoy the peace of God (Philippians 4:9). This is the rest Jesus Christ invites us to.

The Invitation to Rest

We have seen that the provision of this rest cost God a great deal. But for us, who ‘labour and are heavy laden’, this rest is free.

All our obligations have been paid in full by Jesus Christ, and all He asks of us is to come. He wants us to trust Him: to accept His provision and His promise. It is when we fully trust Him that we find fulness of rest.

‘Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls’.

Come to Jesus Christ now, and be at rest.

 

(source : forwardinhope.com)

Baby Jesus stolen from nativity scene

A recent article reported a baby Jesus figure as having been stolen from St Annes Square nativity scene (Lancashire) – see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-46599641

Is this vandalism or deliberate theft? We trust the culprit will return the baby Jesus.

I was reminded by this news article of the sad fact that so many people love to celebrate Christmas, but the Lord Jesus is absent! Whilst I’m not a lover of nativity scenes, I am all for reminding people that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. Is the Lord Jesus Christ part of your life?

Do you have room for Him?

Remember, what I do with Jesus Christ in this life, He will do with me in eternity.

If I have no room for Him in life and refuse to accept Him as my Saviour, then He will have no room for me in heaven, and on account of my sin will refuse to accept me.

Wise men years ago asked after Jesus Christ was born,  “Where is He?” Ask yourself the same question.

NJH

CHRISTMAS IS NOTHING WITHOUT CHRIST

If there is no Christ – there is no Christmas! Why are Christians are so convinced that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Why you might ask, it’s an excellent question.
Our belief is laid on a very solid foundation. First of all we believe in divine revelation not just human discovery. In fact to learn about something outside of our sphere of experience we all accept we need information from a trustworthy source. If you are serious about discovering the truth – check the Bible out. It is a trustworthy source. Read it, check it’s sources, speak to those who believe it, look at it’s accuracy in every sphere it touches. There can only be one answer to the question of the origin of a book that was written over one thousand five hundred years by forty different authors, many of whom did not even know each other. The Bible is God’s message to mankind.
Secondly check the facts concerning Jesus Christ. There are over three hundred signposts (biblical predictions/prophecies) which point to him. The chances of them all being fulfilled precisely in the life of one person, at the right time, in the right place are mindblowing odds apart from this fact – God planned it and implemented His plan in a person – His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible predicts the mode of his conception, the place of his birth, his exile into Egypt, the slaughtering of the innocents, the gifts from the magi and lots more.
Finally look at the prediction about the way that Jesus would die. Psalm 22 and Isaiah 52 describe the horrific death of God’s Son on a cross. Death by crucifixion was unknown when Psalm 22 was written about 1000 years before the death of Jesus but God knew that was the way that His Son would die.
In closing please listen again to the words of the angels who announced the birth of the Lord Jesus ‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord’. Is he your Saviour? He died ‘for our sins’. He suffered ‘the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God’. Will you rest by faith on what the Lord Jesus did to save your soul?

We preach Christ and Him crucified

The Gospel is good news!

Good news that there is hope, salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, life, glory … for all of us.  Good news that we don’t have to do anything to get it, but that God is willing to freely give it to us.

Why? Because we deserve it?

Absolutely not! We are dead in our sins, separated from God our Creator, and it’s not just a passive state. We are actively enemies in our minds by wicked works, heading to a lost eternity, without hope.

‘But God … is rich in mercy’ (Eph 2:4)

There is good news for us – the Gospel.

‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Roms 6:23)

God wants to bless us with the gift of salvation – eternal life – and is able to because His eternal Son, Jesus Christ, willingly took our place under the wrath of God, was wounded for our sins, and died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.

That death was on the cross, where Jesus suffered, going into the darkness and the place of separation, to cry ‘My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’, bear the wrath and judgement of Almighty God, and then die for our sins, to rise again the third day.

Without Jesus Christ there is no hope of salvation, no good news, no Gospel.

Without the cross there is no hope of salvation, no good news, no Gospel.

Therefore, the Gospel that we preach and make known can be summarised in four words.

Christ and Him Crucified

(source : forwardinhope.com)

LIFE’S MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION!

Life’s most important questions – Is Jesus alive?

The Lord Jesus Christ is no ordinary person. I make this statement in the present tense because the Lord Jesus is not just a figure of history but he is, today, still alive in heaven. I don’t mean alive in the way we might think about a relative who has died and hope is now in heaven. As a Christian I believe people who have turned from their sin and accepted Jesus as their Saviour will be in heaven when they die but this is not my point at the moment. I mean that Jesus is alive, physically in heaven.

Your response might be – impossible and unbelievable!

The record of the life of Christ is all highly improbable if you ignore the key ingredient, God. I agree that the following seems way off the mark – believing that Jesus was more than a man, lived an absolutely faultless life, could do miracles, somehow became accountable for sin and evil and died to pay the price to deal with it on a cross outside Jerusalem and finally three days after his death came back to life. Add to that he lived on earth for forty days after his suffering, death and resurrection and physically rose from the earth and passed through the sky and space into the presence of His Father, God in heaven itself. On a purely rationale level this sounds like I am stretching facts and calling it truth!
BUT WHAT IF……
A careful analysis of the facts points to Jesus being the Son of God!

The evidence points to it being statistically impossible for the historical predictions (the bible calls them prophecies) being fulfilled accurately being mere coincidence!

It was impossible to deceive so many historians and eye witnesses on a such a grand scale!

The probability of it being the truth is higher than the probability of it being a lie?
I believe that this is the truth of the matter. I believe that the evidence of the authenticity of the bible is there if you care to look for it. I believe there is no other honest conclusion that you can come to about who Jesus is if you are prepared to genuinely look at the facts.

In support of this the bible clearly states: ‘these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life in his name’, John 20:31.

What do you think?

(source : http://www.findingthemissingpeace.co.uk)

HERE TODAY – WHERE TOMORROW?

HERE TODAY – WHERE TOMORROW?

With the speed and facility of modern travel it is possible to have breakfast in the UK and tea in the USA. In travel terms the world has shrunk and this has opened up a whole new vista on holiday destinations with many companies specialising in long haul flights to exotic and distant locations. Travellers are less restricted in their choice and even the most remote places have become accessible, so you can be here today and almost anywhere on earth tomorrow. Maybe, even now as you read this article, you have read the brochures and planned your summer holiday.
However the apostle James in his epistle warns against presuming that we can do this or that tomorrow. In Chapter 4.14,15 we read; ” Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” Solomon in his wisdom, wrote in Proverbs 27.1;”Boast not thyself of tomorrow; For thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
Life is uncertain, I can call only the present moment mine and I cannot state definitely what I shall do or where I will be tomorrow. You may expect to be in the office, or work on the farm as usual, or attend school as you have so often done but can you be sure? Perhaps life has become rather monotonous and drab and every day seems to be the same but tomorrow could be different. You may feel that you are in a secure routine and there appears to be nothing on the horizon to threaten that but things can change suddenly and unexpectedly. You may on the other hand have planned something out of the ordinary for tomorrow, but will your ambitions ever be realised?
So, where will you be tomorrow? At home, at work, in hospital, in heaven, in hell? What will you be doing tomorrow? Working, travelling, weeping, rejoicing, resting? How will you be tomorrow? Healthy, happy, excited, disappointed, tired, sick, dead? You say, “I have no idea, no one can be sure.”
But there are those of us who know that if things don’t work out as planned, if calamities should suddenly overtake us, if life should unexpectedly be brought to an end, that all is well for eternity.
There is not the slightest doubt in our minds because the Word of God has assured us. Note the confidence of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8.38,39; “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” John writes in his first epistle, chapter 5.13; “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” Paul’s last letter was 2 Timothy and in chapter 1.12 he wrote;”…for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
Dear reader, do you have such confidence or do you have nagging doubts and apprehension regarding the future? Are you persuaded or perplexed? Before the end of today you could be able to sing, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”
The facts regarding Christ’s death on your behalf are absolutely beyond dispute. In 1Corinthians 15.3 we read; “…Christ died for our sins…” In 1Peter 2.24 it is stated; ” Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” In Romans 5.8 we read; ” Christ died for us.”
All has been done that you might be in heaven – are you prepared to trust Christ and depend exclusively on Him and what He has done at Calvary to save you from hell and take you to heaven? If so, then tomorrow will hold no dread for you and peace will be yours amid all the uncertainties of life.
(source : http://www.findingthemissingpeace.co.uk)