Which Christmas Will You Have This Year?

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Yesterday was a great day in Church. Every generation celebrating Jesus in the best ways. Plus we had we so much fun, loads of creativity on show, people using their gifts and talents to show off their love for God. And mince pies too. Does it get any better?

With the help of children and parents, we built a nativity yesterday at Xcel Church which wasn’t quite complete. NO JESUS. Too many have a Christmas full of the trimmings ~ the food, the drink, the presents, time with family and friends but it ends up being one with NO JESUS. Nothing wrong with all of those.

Christmas without Jesus is an empty or half-filled Christmas. Seemingly full of all the right things yet not truly satisfying.

God’s desire is that we have a Christmas where we KNOW JESUS. One where we put Jesus at the centre of all the celebrations.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. [Luke 2:6-7 NIV]

This Christmas receive more that just a gift from a friend, receive the greatest gift and KNOW JESUS.

He came to bring life and light to all the world. He came to seek and save that which was lost. He came to reconnect us to God. He cam to forgive us from all of our wrongdoing. He came to bring life in all its fullness.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full [John 10:10b NIV]

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life [John 3:16]

Spread the word this Christmas. Make sure to take a moment to KNOW JESUS and thank Him for coming from heaven to earth. Why not ask others if they would like to invite Jesus into their life this Christmas, to go from a place of NO JESUS to a life where they can begin to KNOW JESUS.

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If you want to KNOW JESUS this Christmas then why not prayer this simple prayer of salvation to invite Jesus into your life.

DEAR GOD, I AM PRAYING BECAUSE I KNOW I NEED A SAVIOUR. THIS CHRISTMAS I AM DECIDING TO BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, THAT HE DIED FOR MY SINS AND THEN ROSE AGAIN ON THE THIRD DAY. I AM ASKING YOU GOD TO FORGIVE MY SINS AND I BELIEVE THROUGH JESUS, I AM FORGIVEN. AMEN.

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved [Romans 10:13]

 

 

God Deals Are the Best Deals

Let’s be honest, there are always good deals to be done. We hunt down the best ones, putting our energies in hope of getting the most in return for the least. The least effort, the least time and definitely the least money.

Yet when it comes to God, there is a different kind of transaction currency. Salvation, it seems, costs me nothing and everything at the same time. Nothing because it wasn’t through anything that I did or could do, yet everything as I lay aside my own life, my arrogance and pride maybe, to take hold of it. The transfer price was paid, all I had to do was accept it had been paid on my behalf.

The deal was done.

I enter into the life God has for me as long as I am willing to surrender. Then through discipleship I understand what it means for me live within this new kingdom, my new home. It takes continued surrender. 

It seems like a tough deal on my part but it’s not really. It’s the very best of deals. God is reminding that if I live for Him, the rewards outweigh the cost, the benefits outstrip the challenge I may feel.

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. [Psalm 50:14-15]

This is a good deal to me. Thanksgiving and a life lived for God, for deliverance and safety in return. The taking of my time to focus on Him, that my cry for help will be heard. In this manner we glorify God and give opportunity for Him to be glorified in our lives as he shows us ‘the salvation of God’ [v23].

Why not take some time this week to focus your attention on Your God. Give Him some praise, thank Him for saving You, keep your word, that when You call upon Him deliverance will be yours, to the glory of His incredible name.

Be in the House of God

“We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭48:9‬ ‭ESV

It’s by being in Gods House where some things often happen. 

As we gather together as a body of believers, with our focus not on ourselves but on the one who created us, some things often happen.  

Making the decision to be planted in a healthy, thriving local church is the cause for some things to happen in our lives. 

In Gods House we remember, we praise, we worship, we lift up our eyes, we focus on God. 

In Gods House we place our thoughts on His steadfast love, His faithfulness, His loving kindness and who we are becoming because of all He has done for us. 

In Gods House, in those moments I am reminded to keep making it less about me and more about God.

Today in Your presence I think on Your steadfast love and I smile to myself and I am happy, thankful and energised by the knowing all that You are to me. 

Your Throne

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭45:6‬ ‭ESV

I read this verse and it caught my attention. 

Some days it’s good to remember who God is and who we are in comparison. Or to put it more bluntly, to remember that God is God and we are not. 

God is on the throne. 

God is on the  throne for eternity, forever and ever. 

God is on the throne and has authority. 

God is on the throne looking for those who are upright. Not to punish but to bless. 

This is why it’s important to remember God wants to be given first place. We have to give Him control, permission to sit on  the throne of our own lives.

When we do this we align our lives with all that God is and we position ourselves for blessing. We don’t need to be afraid as all the judgement for our messing up has been put on Jesus.

In Him we are upright. Amazingly this means we can then come boldly to His throne and ask for help in times of need. 

God is a good God. He loves us so much. Why not take a moment today and thank Him for He has done in your life. 

It’s Not All About Me

“In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah”‭‭ [Psalms‬ ‭44:8‬ ESV]

How great ‘I am’ might be considered the cultural message of the day by some. Let’s be honest, we do love to tell stories about ourselves. 

  • Of our wonderful victories. 
  • Of our sad failures. 
  • Of the trials we are facing. 
  • Of how others have lifted us or pushed us down.
  • Of how much or how little we have

Too many of us just can’t stop boasting about our own accomplishments. 

Yet without God we are without. We are nothing. We can do nothing if He does not first provide the opportunity. Everything good comes from God.

I may think it is all me but it is not. It is all God. He won the victory. By His mighty hand I am saved. I am established because of all that He has done for me. 

When I make it all about me I embarrass myself not You God. I am ashamed how with my mouth I celebrate me over You. I limit me to my own ability when I forget the influence and impact You have had throughout my life. 

Instead I must make my boast about You. I must praise Your name above all others especially my own. I should give thanks for You forever. I choose to do this above either praising myself or wallowing in my  own pity. 

You are my God. In You I boast. To You I give all the praise and glory and honour. Amen!

The Voice of The Lord

The voice of the Lord is powerful [Psalm 29:4] 

We use our own voices for many things. To speak, to shout, to comment, to sing, to thank, to criticise, to question, to argue, to honour. Some do these with great precision and care, while others just make a noise.

We may even use our voice to ascribe to the Lord the glory, honour and worship that He deserves, yet the Lords voice holds greater power.

In Psalm 29 the LORD is who it’s all about. What we should do for Him but also an insight into how the Lords voice makes a difference. 

It is over many waters. It has no limits. Its reach is beyond the natural and can be heard across all of creation and across all of time. It’s influence is seen in everything. 

It is powerful. It is the ultimate voice, not bossy and demanding but speaking with wisdom and authority.

It is full. I imagine the deep resonating majesty of His voice across all that is His. It booms. It is loud. It is majestic. It draws me in as I listen to what He is saying.

It breaks. His voice cuts through to the heart. It brings nations and kings to their knees. I am overwhelmed when I hear the voice of the Lord.

It flashes. With authority and anointing, the voice the Lord brings forth the glory of the Lord. It is in His presence that I hear Him speak more clearly.

It shakes. Changing me, my life and my future. Transforming the barren wilderness into a life-flowing river.

It makes. It’s easy to be quick to kill off through harsh words and criticism. The voice of the Lord speak things into being. It creates and brings forth the new.

Reflection: As I walk with God does how I speak reflect these characteristics of God? As His voice-piece do I speak the same way? 
I am not God but I can speak to bring influence,to bring life, to help see life transformation, and that others might experience His presence. 

The Cross of Christ: A Divine Exchange

 Moments of reflection today. A packed house at Xcel to say thank you for the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ. The event that changes everything, forever, if we will let it. 
Jesus embraced the cross and in doing so, completed a divine exchange. God’s unmerited favour, that clothes us in His righteousness and makes us right with God. 

He became weak, so that we become strong. 

He took the judgement we deserved so we could go free. 

He was punished for our sin so that we can be forgiven. 

Through his wounds and the stripes on his back, we are healed. 

He was made sin so that we could become the righteousness of Christ. 

He died so that we might live.

He was made poor so that we could become rich, and live the abundant life he promised us.

Jesus understands us. He recognises our pain, loneliness, isolation, hurt, injustice. He went to the cross experiencing them all. He nailed His life to the cross for me, so now I nail my life to him and will live a life that honours that sacrifice, even when it’s hard. 

The Cross of Christ: Appreciate the Cost

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus felt the weight of what was awaiting him. Scripture describes that the burden caused him to sweat drops of blood.

  
And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground [Luke 22:44 ESV]

He was about to carry my sin. And the sin of everyone else too. My sin, the shame that goes with it, the hurt, the pain and the guilt. I can find that hard enough to carry as one person, what a weight to carry for all of humankind.  

Yet he did so willingly. 

Where I might back down from such responsibility, Jesus took up that burden and carried it, on purpose. 

Where I might only think of what’s comfortable for me or the thing which brings me most fulfilment, Jesus chose to do what would bring comfort and fulfilment to us. 

When I might only do what I will do, what I deem to be best for me, Jesus laid down his will and went with what his Heavenly Father was asking. 

Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done [Luke 22:42]

In response, especially as I have decide to follow Hin, my life must acknowledge the cost, the weight of the cross that Jesus carried, the means by which he set me free. 

He loved me and demonstrated that love with an overwhelming act. I reflect and ask a difficult question: Why am I so stubborn at times in holding on to things and behaviours that don’t demonstrate my love for Jesus but are more about a love for what I want and enjoy?

I am free because of Jesus. I am loved unconditionally by Jesus. My sins have been removed and are forgotten because of Jesus. 

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus [Romans 8:1]

Lord let my life reflect that freedom and be the best it can be for you. Amen.