Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

MerryChristmas

I’m not sure how many people will read this blog post as it’s Christmas day and most will busy with your family, eating, giving and receiving gifts, and celebrating Christmas. But if you are reading this let me wish you a very happy and blessed Christmas!

Christmas is time for family and friends, joy and celebration, but is it that for everyone? Sadly there will be many today who are alone, mourning the loss of a love one who have passed away or homeless. There are also those who may have thire family with them, but didn’t have enough money to buy any gifts or even buy a meal for them today.

So today as you celebrate, I ask you to take a few minutes out from your celebrations and pray for those who are finding today very difficult.

Enjoy your Christmas, and enjoy making new memories with your family today.

Merry Christmas!

If I were to ask you if in your family you have any Christmas traditions you uphold each year, what would your answers be?

  • Spending a day Christmas shopping with your friends or family
  • Putting up the Christmas tree
  • Decorating the house
  • Giving gifts to family and friends
  • Spending quality time with family on Christmas Day
  • Eating turkey and generally  over-eating!
  • Attending a carol service

In our house, we have a tradition of starting our Christmas season by sitting down and watching one of our favourite Christmas films. For the last few years it’s been the same film watched, as it has become my husband’s favourite, and that is the film Elf!

I’m sure if we went round the room we’d find we all consider a lot of different films to be our favourites and that shouldn’t surprise us as there are hundreds to choose from with new films being release each year. Never mind all the classic Christmas films which I’m sure we’ve all watched a few times.

When I was considering about what I’d share with you tonight, I got thinking about what Christmas would have been like if that very first Christmas never happened. And this turned my thoughts to my Mum’s favourite Christmas film, the classic, It’s A Wonderful Life.

James Stewart plays George Bailey who along with his uncle, has inherited the Bailey Brothers’ Building and Loan, saving it from takeover by the banker. He builds affordable housing for local residents, again annoying his local business rival. Then a few years later on Christmas Eve, George’s uncle misplaces the $8000 that was due to be paid to the bank for the building and loan, meaning George knows he will probably go to jail. So on that snowy night he heads out in desperation, uncertain what to do, and gets drunk and into a fight. Wishing he had never been born, he  comes to a bridge and considers committing suicide.

But then, instead of committing suicide he finds himself ‘rescuing’ Clarence Oddbody from the water. We discover Clarence is an angel, and so when George tells him he wishes he’d never been born, Clarence grants his wish to see what the world would have looked like if he never been born.

Through the rest of the film we discover that George’s life has had a significant impact on his family, friends and community, and had he never been born, other people’s lives would have been worse.

So what would life be like if Jesus had never been born? What if the first Christmas never happened? No baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger; No shepherds being told by an angel that Christ had been born; No wise men following a star to a stable to give their gifts to baby Jesus.

I found this quote from Frederick Buechner which describes the impact the birth of Jesus has had on this world:

It is impossible to conceive how different things would have turned out if that birth had not happened whenever, wherever, however it did … for millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it. It is a truth that, for twenty centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the child who was born, so caught up in the message he taught and the life he lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with him.

Have you considered the impact Jesus has had on your life? Would your life have been different is Jesus had not been born?

John 1:1-2 (Living Bible)

Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God. He created everything there is—nothing exists that he didn’t make. Eternal life is in him, and this life gives light to all mankind. His life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it.

At this time of year it can be so easy to get caught up in our Christmas traditions, and forget why we actually celebrate Christmas. But we need to remember who Christmas is about:

Who is he in yonder stall at whose feet the shepherds fall?

I pray that this year as you celebrate Christmas, you not only continue your Christmas traditions, but you remember the impact Jesus has had on your life, as you celebrate the birth of Jesus:

‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!

‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory;

at his feet, we humbly fall,

crown him, crown him Lord of all!

I’ve heard the question ‘What makes Christmas for you?’ several times in the last few weeks.

Everyone loves to hear a Salvation Army band at Christmas. And because of that, we have a unique opportunity, to not just share music with the listeners, but also to share God’s message of hope and love with them as well.

I read a story recently of a mother who overheard her two teenage sons taking to one another about Christmas – here’s what she heard:

The older son said to his younger brother – Oh my goodness, why do you have to bring God into everything?

The younger replied: Show me one thing where God isn’t present and I will quit bringing Him into everything! 

What a challenge! As Salvation Army bands all over the world prepare Christmas music to remind the people of Christmas, I pray that through their music they will all be able to entertain their audience but also remind them of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Yesterday I spoke about making sure we speak to others about Christ using words and language that they will understand (in Talking plainly). But I for one find it difficult at times to find the right words to explain how I feel or what I believe, which as you can imagine, makes it difficult when I try to talk to others about Christ.

Having said that, maybe talking to those who don’t know Christ just in my own way may make Christ seem more approachable and real to others, as I’m nothing special, I’m just a human being just like them.

So how do we mange to talk to others about our beliefs when we can’t find the words? Who better to help than God! We pray, and ask God to help and guidance, as He can give us the words we need for every situation.

If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. ~ Matthew 5:46-48 (The Message)

God expects us to love everyone, even those who we may think are unloveable. We won’t get a reward if we love everyone, nor should we expect one, as if we love everyone, we are simply doing God’s will.

So no matter how difficult if may be to love everyone you come into contact with, ask God to help you see the good in each of them.

Today I want to follow on from yesterday’s post Open where I asked you whether you go to church ready and willing to be challenged and blessed by God. How about before you leave your house to go to church, do you pray? Do you pray that your heart might we open and willing to receive the holy spirit?

How will our hearts be open to receiving God’s message if we don’t pray for God to enter our hearts?

Words are not one of my strong points (you may have noticed this!) – I struggle to find the right words sometimes to express how I feel or how to comfort or encourage others or even myself! However I have found that even when I can’t find any words, music can often comfort and encourage me, so I’m sure finding the right music can help anyone in whatever situation or circumstances they find themselves.

Here’s one of my ‘go to’ songs when I need some encouragement:

There are thousands and thousands of words in the English language, but isn’t it funny how we still can’t find the right ones sometimes.

If a friend is hurt or upset by someone else it’s not easy to know how to make them feel better about themselves.

When someone is bereaved it can be hard to know what to say to them, not because we don’t care, but because we understand their pain and heartache.

Likewise, when struggling with life in general, telling someone just to ‘give themselves a shake’ or ‘snap out of it’ is not helpful, however it doesn’t make finding the right words any easier either.

When we are that person I described above who’s in need of help or support, it can difficult for us also to find words to explain how we feel. Unfortunately others can’t fully understand our feelings/emotions or what’s in our heart if we can find the words to express them. However God can!

Even when we are silent and find we have no words of prayer to say to God, He knows and understands what’s in our heart and on our minds. He will therefore take those unspoken prayers and answer them in His own way and in His own time.

Here’s a song which expresses all those thoughts/feelings perfectly:

No words

Posted: November 8, 2017 in heart, life, music, prayer, Relationships, religion
Tags: ,

It can be difficult to find words in some situations. It can even be difficult to find the right words when we try to pray. Thankfully God knows what’s in our heart so we don’t have to put it into words.

So when we can put into words our prayers, God still hears them, and so He can still answer our prayers.

Once again news of another shooting in America hit the news headlines on Sunday night. Just about the time I heard of this latest atrocity, I read the following by Nicky Gumbel, and never did these words seem more appropriate:

You are never more like God than when you are helping hurting people, lifting up the fallen and restoring the broken.

Please join me in praying for the family and friends of all those caught up in the events at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas last night.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~ Psalm 34:18