‘For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’
One of my favorite carols is While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night. Have a listen. It’s these lyrics I like most. “Fear not,” he said, For mighty dread had seized their troubled minds, “Glad tidings of great joy I bring to you and all mankind.” I think that’s us. Fear filling our troubled minds. Once the Christmas season is over and we jump back on that train or into that cubicle it will be easy for us to forget what it was all about. He sent his son to save us for eternity. Beyond December 25th. So, in the first few weeks of January let us remember that the gift of Jesus is like a freshly wrapped present every day that we can open, appreciate, cherish and enjoy. A gift that will never break, get old or, as long as we accept it, will never get lost! Amen!
I’d like to thank you all for following this blog these past few months. For your encouragement, kind words and suggestions. I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a blesses 2013!
Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with the tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute, praise Him with the resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.
I think the message here is that we should praise the Lord!
The Psalm above is in stark contrast to the 7.59am train to Grand Central. Silence. There’s not even the rustling of newspapers any more. It often makes me smile when I have an image in my head of everyone on the train suddenly bursting into song like the scene in ‘The Music Man’. I know that it’s never going to happen (except perhaps in the bar car around this time of year) but that’s not the kind of song I’m thinking about. But maybe we should at least listen to some music. I’m not very knowledgeable in Christian popular music. For me, it would have to be rock or pop. I know the music by a band called Delirious. But that’s about all. Any recommendations are welcome.
Jesus baptized by John the Baptist
Even if we can’t sing in the ‘silent car’ we can try to do it in our heads. This is a week to praise and thank the Lord. He sent His son to die for us. Sounds strange to praise Him for that but that’s what He did so our sins can be washed away. That’s a truly sacrificial gift. How can we not praise Him! It’s difficult to fathom when the malls are full of people buying presents and houses smothered in decorative lights but it’s all about one person. Jesus. God made into man. As John the Baptist said in John 1:29 ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes way the sin of the world’. I don’t think he whispered that line. ‘Behold’ means call to attention. Let us pay attention. Let us rejoice, even on the 7.59!
Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending your son to die for us. Forgive us for forgetting that this is what Christmas is about. Give us all peace throughout Christmas. Peace that allows us to reflect on that sacrifice – Amen!
‘Let us come to Him with Thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him’
I was on a film shoot last week. There were many times when something happened and I knew it was God’s work. I acknowledged in my head that it was but I didn’t give thanks. I had prayed for various things. Selfish prayers mainly. All for the good of me and my well-being and for that I pray for forgiveness. However, as I sit here now I can look back and give thanks to God for 3 glorious days of weather. For surrounding me with incredibly talented and enthusiastic people. For putting the light right where I needed at the right time. For keeping me healthy even though I felt dreadful leading up to the filming. (God delayed it 3 days because I now feel dreadful again). For allowing me the time during the shoot days to pick my Mother-In-Law from the airport so my wife didn’t have to. For providing me the job in the first place.
I think we sometimes pray and then just simply forget to give thanks, especially when it’s work related. Work can be ‘hard work’ and not necessarily something we feel we need to thank God for. But He gave us the skills we need to get work and therefore He provides. So, perhaps we should reflect on the last few weeks, months and perhaps the year and give thanks to God for all He has done for us in our work lives. You may need to think for a moment about what that is but it’s worth doing.
After all, when someone gives us wonderful gifts. It’s only polite to say thank you!
God put the light on Manhattan bridge right on time. 8am!
Heavenly Father, Forgive us for when we don’t praise you and give thanks for all you have done for us at work. We pray that you will continue to encourage us to glorify You and for You to shine through us – Amen!
‘And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ’
I dread the idea of retirement. I can’t imagine not working at all. Or not doing what I love doing even though I know I complain about it sometimes (God made me British). But the good news is, we can’t retire from working for God. He has given us skills for life, not just for a career. But before I go any further it is important to say that in the workplace we are still working for God and trying to glorify him. But I’m not sure a line should be drawn between working in the workplace and then life outside. How can we use the skills that we’ve been blessed with to help others. Everywhere we look there are people crying out for help. Churches are struggling to reach out and remain relevant because the world is moving so fast but the people who are making it move so quickly are not necessarily helping the church keep up! I feel like saying “Stop, you’re going the wrong way!” Or “Can you help us keep up, you have what we need”. As Jesus said to the fisherman in Matthew 4:19 – ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’
Let’s not run fast down our own path with the wind against us. Let’s run at a sprint down God’s path with the wind behind us and use our skills to bring more people to God! And then we’ll really see why he blessed us with them!
“What, now? This minute?”
‘Heavenly Father, Thank you for the skills you have blessed us with and for the skills we don’t yet know we have! We pray that you can show to us the work we can do for you in your world’ – Amen!
‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’
It’s late as I write this. I have to say I feel very tired.
I’m not sure that the passage above is all about tiredness in terms of sleep but perhaps it’s just about those that are tired of all the stress and burdens that come with life. It’s a combination of both I think.
They’re reassuring words but like my last post I think a big dose of faith comes with asking God for peace and rest. Perhaps it’s okay not to be doing 20 things at once just because we think that’s the way to live our lives. If we took our foot of the pedal I wonder if God will get it all done anyway and if He didn’t it’s probably for good reason perhaps?
So, slow down. Pray for peace. Listen to God. Go for a walk at lunch time. Don’t work through it!
I can’t write any more. I need to get some sleep!
‘And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith’
I think the very last words of that passage ‘if you have faith’ should have a huge asterisk next to it. I think I sometimes pray and then go off and do what I think is right anyway and then wonder why it’s all a mess. It’s a bit like that at work sometimes. I brief someone to do something then decide to do it myself. If we do that to God he must wonder why we bothered praying in the first place!
Currently, I’m finding that to be a bit of a problem with my work situation. All I’m really praying for is a somewhat secure future for myself and my family. I’m not being too specific. But then I think I’m trying to direct the course too much in my actions by being very specific, to the point where I’m forcing it. So, I think that’s where the faith comes in. God wants us to look after us, I’m sure. And if I think about the last four weeks since I left my full-time job, God has provided just fine. Effortlessly actually.
I just need to pray hard but pay equal amount of attention to those last four words!
‘Heavenly Father, Help us to have faith through prayer rather than praying for the sake of praying and then following our own path. Direct us back on to the path with you as our guide’ – Amen!