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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Inpsirational Verses to Shape the New Year

Psalm 37 is a good place to start. It begins with some excellent advice. Don't trouble yourself over the success of evil people. They will get what is coming to them at the right time. Just be careful how you pray. In my youth, I used to call on God to bring down His fires of judgement on one immoral establishment in the city where I lived. Then, one day I awoke to the news that one of the clients of the place in question had thrown a couple of petrol bombs through their window as a result of a dispute there. Thankfully, no-one was hurt. However, it was a humbling reminder to me to be more specific and less flowery in how I prayed.

If you do want your heart's desire though, the advice in the following verses is plain and straightforwards. Delight yourself in the Lord. Of course, you run the risk that re-ordering your priorities will result in a radical adjustment of what you perceive your heart's desire to be. But that is precisely what you signed up for when you gave over your life to serve Jesus only.

So, if you want to see success in the following year, commit your plans now to the Lord. Consult with Him in order to enure that your plans coincide with the vision He has given you of your destiny.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Future Plans

Jesus warned his followers to be as wise as serpents, but as innocent as doves. An interesting mix of metaphors, but an important point. When we look at the parable of the shrewd steward we see the same tension in operation.

Although our future is in God's hands, and He could decide to end your life tomorrow, this is no excuse for laziness or shoddy preparation. The Good Lord gave each of us a brain with the capacity to plan ahead and be prepared. He therefore expects us to use it and not depend on Him to get us out of scrapes that our lack of diligence gets us into in the first place.

"If it is God's will" is not a magic word to cover over our own failings. It is a recognition of the constraints He places us under - that we are not the true masters of our destiny but owe everything to Him. It does not abrogate the authority and responsibility He has invested in us to accomplish His will "on earth, as it is in Heaven."

Therefore as we draw to the end of another year, it is wise to prayerfully make plans and commit our projects to Him. Over the next few days, I shall share some of mine with you.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Have an Inspirational Christmas!

The past fe months have been a joy - and a challenge to post something of use. In the Ne Year, I will be stepping up a gear. I'm excited by the prospect - and would value your prayers.

It is encouraging to me to see a growing readersip, and repeat visitors retrning to see what's new in this, and the other spiritual weblogs I maintain. You keep me going.

Menwhile Why do I do this? I'll post up some meditations o a number of verses. But here's a hit. God's love compels me. Deep down I want to write, to spek, to shout from the rooftops: sharing what I have. It may not be much. It is raw, unpolished at times - in need of careful editing to get the message aross, unencumbered by a poor choice of words or typographical errors.

But write I must - and so I do.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Inspiration for Christmas: 1

God's arrival on the scene was heralded by angels.

They had a clear, unequivocal message for those who would listen.

A saviour - he is Christ the Lord - not "he may become" or "he will be". For this baby was the Almighty in human form, choosing to enter our universe and live amongst us. The All-Powerful choosing to temporarily set aside His rights in order to redeem a lost people.

By taking this step he was putting into effect a chain of events that He had already engineered in advance - before the foundation of the world - demonstarting that He was truly Lord over past, present and future.

Yet at the time, all the physical evidence set before the world was a baby. But to those who saw with the eye of faith, it was already clearly established that this was the redeemer.

Look around you this Christmas. What do you see? Vulnerable beginnings, or the glorious end result. Call things as you see them - with the perspective of the eternal.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Advent verses #6

Isaiah ch.11 tells us of a powerful coming king.

He will be motivated and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

He will judge with both high standards of personal righteousness and social justice as His criteria.

The social order and nature itself will be turned upside down when He comes.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Advent - Inspirational meditation #5

Jesus' miraculous birth was foretold in the Old Testament. For example, Matthew ch.2 v.5-6 clearly shows that it was understood by the people of the day that He would be born in Bethlehem.

They knew the scriptures. They may not have understood all the specifics about how the Messiah could be both a suffering servant and an all-conquering king. They may not have been able to appreciate the implications of having a Messiah who was both prophet and priest. But they knew He was coming.

It was just that for the vast majority, His entry into the world was a surprise.

How do you feel about God's specific promises concerning your own destiny and prosperity? If He was to act suddenly, decisively to bring about a transformation of the situation you're in, how would you react?

Would it be a surprise? Would it be done 'according to your faith'?

As believers, we have a sacred responsibility to live a life where faith is exercised, where divine intervention is depended upon in order to demonstrate to an unbelieving world that the God of breakthroughs is still in the business of surprising them today.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Inspirational Advent Verses: 4

Matthew ch.2 v.3 is an odd little verse.

We can understand the first half easily enough. Out of the blue, a company of strangers appears from the East. They claim that they are here to see the new king...


You are the king. You are insecure about your crown,stolen as it is, held onto only because the Romans trust your potential rivals even less to do their bidding. And now this?

However, the second half gets you thinking. Why would the rest of Jerusalem be quaking in their sandals at this news? Weren't they supposed to be looking forward to the coming of the Messiah?

We like routine. We don't like unpredictability. And here comes a massive dose of uncertainty. What will the Messiah be like? Will His arrival complicate things with the Romans? Is there a good chance that the Romans will do away with you as a response to rebellion?

So many questions - but no answers? Truly a pivotal time for them.

We can find ourselves in the same position easily. We like to be in control. But that is not what a life of faith is all about. For us, freedom, release from inner turmoil comes when we relinquish control over what we couldn't master in the first place.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Inspirational Bible Verses for Advent: 3

Genealogies have a purpose. Two are listed for Jesus. In Matthew ch.1 we are given Joseph's genealogy, displaying a lineage back to Adam - giving a clear context for why Jesus is here. Significan characters are chosen from His family tree to show a symmetry that would hit home to people looking for a king who would literally split time in two and herald the final age of humanity.

Most fascinating of all, is the fact that as well as Mary, there are four other women mentioned in His genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. The negative history of any of the four would, at first glance, appear to disqualify Jesus from His kingly title. But, the point is to demonstrate that the Almighty God is a God of grace who forgives, reconciles, brings aliens and enemies into the family tree of His own Son. He has power to forgive sin and redeem the past of anyone - no matter what they had done - such is the all-consuming grace of an omnipotent God; a God for everyone.

In Luke ch.3 we see a different structure - listing his biological parentage, rather than a ceremonial list inherited from his adoptive human father. I don't feel that I can improve on what has been written elsewhere on the subject.

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Advent Calendar and Candle

If you need an Advent Candle or Calendar online. There's a couple at

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Inspirational Advent Meditation: 2

Moses foresaw the coming of Jesus. In Deuteronomy ch.34 v.15, he warned the people of Israel to watch out for the Prophet who the Almighty would raise up from their midst.

Psalm 2 paints a picture of a powerful ruler, a great king over all nations; as the coming Messiah.

And yet David also sang of a 'High Priest - forever, in the order of Melchizedek' in Psalm 100 v.4.

And so the world waited, for one who would be prophet, priest and king.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

An interesting Advent resource

While perusing the Internet, I came across Kerry Beck's Advent and Christmas package. Certainly a large variety of material that could easily make a difference to your busy schedule.

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Inspirational verses about Advent: 1

Advent is a time for reflection, a time to prepare and remind yourself of why Jesus came. There are plenty of passages we could pick to start with - but I'll start with one that is often overlooked.

Genesis ch.3 v.15

The first promise of a coming Messiah who would be born of woman; who would destroy the powerful hold of our spiritual oppressor, but, in doing so would be wounded himself. Bruising the serpent's head would not be an innefectual symbolic gesture. Rather it would destroy any authority he had over us and render him impotent - that is why in Hebrews ch.2 v.15 talks about people who were kept in bondage to the fear of death; but now set free.

Even more revealin though, is to examine the context of this promise. It is given right in the middle of a curse. Even as we are in the midst of being punished for outright rebellion, the Good Lord, out of grace, reaches out in reconciliation. That those who were in emnity with Him can be agents of redemption.

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