Saturday, December 24, 2011

Light to them that sit in darkness

It's Christmas. What an exciting time of the year. All the bright lights, the presents, houses decorated and lots of lovely food. Well that is the way it is in our country but I appreciate that for many people it is not that pleasant.

When the old priest Zacharias heard that Mary was 'with child' and that her baby would be the Son of God he burst into a song of praise for all that God was doing. For him it was a very exciting time. One of the things that he said was that God was visiting His people to 'give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace'. What beautiful words!

God did indeed visit the world when Jesus came. One of His names is Emmanuel meaning "God with us'. If you are in any doubt that this is true then consider his life again - His miracles, His teaching, His sinless perfection, His fulfilment of ancient predictions, His death and resurrection. Truly it can be said 'the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world'.

What about the light. He is, was and always will be "the light of the world". If we follow Him "we will not walk in darkness but will have the light of light". We do indeed sit in darkness and face death and the live in the shadow of it. So the coming of Christ meets a need we cannot meet from our own resources. We need life, we need peace, we need Christ.

Will you confess your need, confess your sin and trust Christ for salvation this Christmas. I am praying that you will do.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Here we go again!

Do you ever get frustrated about jobs that never seem to go away. Whether it's cleaning the house, washing the car, shaving or submitting your tax return it just seems like yesterday since you last did them. The unending cycle of repetitive jobs. Wouldn't it be good if some jobs could be done once, never need repeated and the effect of the initial work never went away. There are very few things in this world that are like that, in fact I can't think of any at the moment.

Please read on....

The Bible teaches that there is something that was done so well, that it never needs to be repeated and its effect is for ever. What is it you might say? Let me quote the Bible to you again. It says about Jesus that 'once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself' (Hebrews.9.26). The Bible says that 'this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God' (Hebrews.10.12).

You can know the everlasting effect of the work that the Lord Jesus did when he died on the cross. He came that we might have life. He promises that if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us.

Will you trust him and experience the everlasting effect of salvation?

Listen to seekthetruth for more information.

Thanks, Stephen

Friday, December 02, 2011

Good Will

The Christmas season is looked upon as the time of goodwill but will it be for many people in different parts of the world, particularly the Middle East? Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel to name but a few. Problems of political contrasts, social and religious divides cause an absence of goodwill. Some of their leaders have had to either stand down or be executed, having lost the confidence and goodwill of the people.

Back in July Dr. James Zogby, Founder and President of the Arab American Institute wrote an article entitled Diminishing goodwill for U.S. Middle East policy. He stated ‘A few months back I had a quick exchange with President Obama about the U.S. standing in the Arab World. When I mentioned that we would be conducting a poll to assess Arab attitudes two years after his Cairo speech, he responded that he expected that the ratings would be quite low and would remain low until the U.S. could help find a way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Well, the results are in, and the President was right. In our survey of over 4,000 Arabs from six countries (Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE), we found that favorable attitudes toward the U.S. had declined sharply since our last poll (which had been conducted in 2009 after Obama's first 100 days in office). ……If anything, the results of this latest poll of Arab opinion demonstrates how precarious the position of the United States is in the Middle East and how important it has become for American policy makers to pay attention to what Arabs are saying. Some may play politics with critical Middle East issues and gloat at their success at having stymied the President's efforts to make peace and restore America's image in the region. But as the results of this survey make clear, their success has come at a price; one that is being paid by the entire country.’

Is there any goodwill being shown in the demonstrations, riots or strikes in so many places? Folk have their own agenda and give little thought to the consequences of their actions as it relates to the disadvantaged. Many suffer loss as a result of violence and selfish behaviour.

Allow me a moment of fantasy. How if top managers and CEO’s were only rewarded for success and not failure and that their bonuses bore semblance to the level of success and did not put the rewards of their emplyees in the shade. What if young men and women, instead of defacing and trashing their enviroment used their energy and ability to improve their locality and assisting elderly or disabled people to cope with daily life. Some business people do show goodwill to their employees wth an appropriate gift at Christmas. A generous boss will secure the loyalty of their workforce when production is required to rise, or overtime to be worked. Goodwill is a two way street and has a tendacy to improve relationships and the well being of all that benefit.

There are five quotations of ‘Good will’ in the Bible, the first in Deut.33 is the blessing of the tribe of Joseph by Moses before he died, “And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. Moses showed plenty of good will himself to Joseph but also wanted God’s good will upon him.

The first New Testament quote is probably the best known one, it is Luke 2;14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” It was when the heavenly host of angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds at Bethlehem. Their song was only fourteen words, revealing three precious aspects of truth. They sang, “Glory to God in the highest”, giving praise and worship to God for sending His Son into the world to be the Saviour of sinners such as us. Salvation finds its source in the deep love of God; we owe everything to Him for sending and giving His Son ultimately to die on a cross at Calvary. They sang, “And on earth peace,” this poor old war-torn world that is marked by such daily blood shed, will soon enjoy the blessing of this heavenly melody when the Prince of Peace returns to establish His kingdom. I think that the last four words, “Good will toward men” would have been a crescendo of praise by the sweetest of voices, expressing the desire of God’s heart for the blessing of all mankind. God desires that all should be saved, be born again, His good will is seen in sending Christ in order that mankind might be blessed with salvation. But everyone will not be saved, because not everyone believes in Christ nor have received Him as their Lord and Saviour, never been born again. John said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” to enter the kingdom of God one must be born again.

Now think of this! At the time Christ sets up His kingdom on earth, every person entering in will be born again. There will be peace on earth for the government shall be upon His shoulder. Bloodshed of man will not be a daily thing, it will not happen; all on earth will experience the good will of God. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Written for Stan Burditt and published on Stephen G Baker’s Blog

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