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Showing posts from December, 2014

The Greatest Gift Ever!

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Dear Friends,

Over the years I've received some lovely presents.  The only thing with gifts is they don't last forever (particularly if they are edible!), some get broken, some wear out after lots of use, over time some need updating and some you grow out of as you leave your childhood behind.

There is however one gift that has eternal value, which is priceless although it cost the giver dearly, which never wears out or needs updating.  This gift is as essential to us now as when it was first given over more than 2,000 years ago.  "the angel reassured them. 'Don’t be afraid!' he said. 'I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Saviour—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! '" Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)  It truly is the greatest gift ever - the gift of God's own son, Jesus.   Isaiah prophesied about this event many years before it actually happened when he said  "6 For a child is born …

Mary and Elizabeth's Friendship

Dear Friends,

Last week we looked at Mary's response to the news Angel Gabriel brought her that she was going to be with child, and that the child would be Jesus, the Saviour of the world.  

At the same time, the Angel told her that "your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month." Luke 1:36 (NLT)

I don't know for sure, but I believe that being in the early stages of pregnancy must have been quite a vulnerable time for Mary.  Physical changes within her body, experiencing a variety of emotions and having to cope with people's responses to her news.  It could not have been an easy time for her, and I imagine she must have felt quite alone in it as she had to face the misunderstanding, criticism and judgement from those around her.

But she remembered what the Angel had told her about Elizabeth and "39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea,…

Unexpected News

Dear Friends,

With the Christmas season upon us I find myself naturally being drawn once again to the Christmas story, the events leading up to it, and the people involved.  I've been thinking about Zechariah and Mary and their responses to the unexpected news they both receive from Angel Gabriel.

Gabriel appears to Zechariah and says to him “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John." Luke 1:13 (NLT)  Zechariah finds this impossible to believe, he and his wife have prayed for years for children, month after month, year after year, their hopes must have risen time after time,only to be dashed time and time again.  Finally, with old age, they despaired of hope.  Yet God had heard their prayers, the prayers of these two who"were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations." Luke 1:6 (NLT) and now was the time for these prayers to be answered. …

What's the Condition of Your Heart?

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Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago I was preparing for preaching and one of the bible passages I was using was from Luke 9:51-56.  James and his brother John were displaying a judgemental attitude and Jesus' response to them grabbed my attention.  Part of what he said was this: "You don't realise what your hearts are like." (verse 55, NLT).

It was true of them then, but it can also be true of me and you.  We can be going about our daily routine, our various responsibilities at home, work and church, unaware of what may really be in our hearts.  We can be blind to what's in our hearts, blind to an unknown sin which we may be harbouring.  In Jeremiah 17:9-10a we read  "9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.  Who really knows how bad it is?  10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives." (NLT) We may be able to deceive others, or deceive ourselves, but we can't deceive God, he is the one who really k…