Jesus is our Saviour (Part 1)

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement[a] quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfil the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. -Matthew 1:18-25
 
Jesus, there is no greater name than His. His name in Hebrew is Yeshua, which is close to the name Joshua. His name simply means “Yahweh is salvation.” Yeshua is also related to the Hebrew word ‘yeshu’ah,’ which means ‘salvation.’ Peter declares to the early church “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
 
Jesus came to save man from sin and eternal death. The trouble is today, the world doesn’t see the need for salvation. People are blinded to His truth, His love. They don’t understand what they need saving from because “sin” is a word that is foreign to them. Sin is simply our actions, thoughts, and lifestyles that go contrary to God’s holiness. God desired man to have a relationship with Him. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, we can have salvation.
 
God continues to seek for souls to be saved. Jesus hung out with the “sinners.” Sadly, the ones who thought they were right with God were just religious people who had the look of holiness but honestly didn’t have a clue what true holiness was. They followed the religious traditions and laws, but their hearts were far from what God desired. God has always only desired man’s hearts to be in love with Him and love others as He does. The “sinners” were those who were considered the outcasts, sadly are still today. They were the prostitutes, infirm, tax collectors, demon possessed, the poor and the weak. Yet, Jesus spent most of His time with them.
These so-called sinners were ones that knew their lives were off course. They were searching for meaning, longing to be loved and accepted. They were responsive to Jesus’ love and grace. They weren’t ones like the “religious” people who thought they knew it all and acted like they had already arrived.
 
Not much has changed today. There are people that have gone to church since they were christened. They think because they have always gone to church, they are automatically saved and going to heaven. The church’s God or even their family God has not become their own personal God. They have the appearance of a Christian, they know the Bible and can quote scriptures, they know all the Christian songs and can give generously. Yet, inside they have no relationship with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong there are those who have a relationship with Jesus and live that salvation out in their lives- they bear the fruit of Jesus.
 
Then there are those who have struggled with alcoholism, child abuse, prostitution, drug abuse, etc. who come to Jesus and have an amazing encounter with Him and give their lives totally to Him. There are those who are infirm, poor and weak who each day they continue to give praise, they continue to quietly show their love for Him.
 
We need to be careful not to judge the “sinners.” We all are sinners as we all were born into sin. Everyone needs Jesus. Jesus came as salvation for everyone – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). We all need Jesus. We need His saving grace to have more compassion-less judgement, more patience-less anger and irritability, more faith-less doubt and more praise and thanksgiving-less complaining. We all need Yeshua.
 
Prayer:
Jesus, Yeshua, thank you for your salvation. Thank you for coming to die for me and giving me eternal life. I admit at times I can be like the religious people being pious in my thinking, forgetting those around me who need you. Please forgive me. Give me grace to love others the way you do. Help me to live in such a way that others will see Jesus in me and will want to know you as their personal Saviour. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Luke 19:8-9; John 3:1-21; Acts 4:8-12

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Jesus is the Bright Morning Star

I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a sceptre will emerge from Israel. -Numbers 24:17a NLT
 
“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshippers, and all who love to live a lie. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.” -Revelation 22:12-16 NLT
 
Jesus calls himself the Bright Morning Star in the last chapter of Revelation. The morning star was thought of as a herald of a new day, symbolising a dawn of hope and joy. When Jesus came as a baby, a bright star shone in the east heralding his birth. The Magi followed that star until they found the toddler to worship him. With Jesus’ birth darkness was pierced by his perfect light. When Jesus rose from the dead, light pierced the darkness of death. Finally, when Jesus returns to take us home, he will reign forever as the Bright Morning Star and there will be no need for any other light for his light is the brightest.
 
Before we met Jesus, we all walked in darkness. When we came to Jesus and made him Lord and Saviour of our lives, a new day dawned in our hearts and his light filled us.
 
William D Watley, Paster of St James A.M.E. Church in Newark, New Jersey captures this transformation:
“We usually think of stars as night-time luminaries, but the morning star announces the beginning of a new day. Who can testify that ‘since I met Jesus, it’s a new day now?’ I used to be bound by the devil, but since I met Jesus, it’s a new day now. I used to have low self-esteem and was in a constant self-destruct mode, but since I met Jesus, it’s a new day now. I’ve put down my blues guitar and picked up a tambourine of praise. It’s a new day now. People and things that used to upset me don’t bother me anymore. It’s a new day now. Fear that used to paralyse me and guilt that used to beat me up have lost their hold upon me. It’s a new day now. Glory, glory, hallelujah since I laid my burden down- it’s a new day now!”
 
Brothers and sisters, if we belong to Jesus, it is a new day! We still have earthly problems, we still struggle, we still have difficult days but our faith in Jesus will use those things to make us better people. He is working in our lives for the greater purpose. He infuses our lives with his light, his power, his glory and his purpose.
 
Don’t let sickness keep you from declaring his praise! Don’t let circumstances dictate your faith! Don’t allow problematic people destroy your trust in God! Kick back the darkness with your praise to the Bright and Morning Star. Satan is allergic to praise. Resist him and he has to flee! Hail Jesus as the Bright Morning Star. He is going to return and take us to our eternal home. Today, declare in your hearts and if you so desire on the top of your lungs- “Glory, glory, hallelujah! It’s a new day now!”
 
Prayer:
Jesus, Bright Morning Star, thank you for bringing light and a new dawn of hope, joy, and expectation. Thank you for giving me new life. I admit, so often I get caught up in the here and now with all my struggles in life. Help me to take my eyes off those things and put them on you. Help me to declare your praises and live with hope in my spirit. Jesus, I declare you are far brighter than my sickness, my struggles, my circumstances. You are my Bright Morning Star. Glory, glory, hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus, it’s a new day now!. Amen.

Jesus is our Friend

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. -Proverbs 18:24 NLT

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.   There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.  You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. -John 15:9-16 NLT

Jesus is the greatest friend we could ever have.  He even went to the depths of proving this by laying down his life on the cross.  Abraham, Enoch, Moses and David were just a few examples of men who were friends of God.  What made them friends?  They listened and obeyed God.  They spent time in His presence and conversed with him.  Enoch even walked right into heaven without dying, he was that close to God! “Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him” (Genesis 5:23-24).

When Jesus was on this earth, he had male and female friends.  Think of people like Mary, Martha, Lazarus, the disciples, etc.  He spent time with them, sharing in fellowship over meals, listening to them about their lives and their families, rejoicing when they rejoiced and weeping when they suffered loss (John 11:35).  Jesus calls us friends as well.  He desires to tell us what is on his heart.  He wants us to spend time with him in his presence.  He also wants us to love others as he loves them.

But what about when life is hard, people hurt us, illness floors us, and we just feel completely alone?  Have you ever asked why life is so difficult and if Jesus really does love you?  Remember the story of Lazarus. Though Mary and Martha told Jesus that their brother was ill and could die, Jesus still stayed ministering in another town.  He did not return until 2 days later and Lazarus was in the tomb dead.  Martha said to Jesus if he had come earlier, Lazarus would not be dead but she trusted Jesus regardless.  Of course, we know the rest of the story- Lazarus was raised from the dead.

Sometimes we feel as if Jesus doesn’t care and he has abandoned us.  We forget that he indeed is in control and he still is our friend.  How do we embrace a friendship with Jesus as God?  We spend time in his presence, we keep praying, we keep trusting and believing.  Remember the end of the story for Lazarus- something greater usually comes out of difficult times.  God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not ours.  Allow Jesus to be your friend.  Tell him everything- your joys, your frustrations, your anger, and your unbelief’s.  He knows already but he wants you to talk to him.  And he wants you to listen.  Jesus came to make it possible for us to be friends with him (not just for the priests).  Can you say today “I am a friend of God?”

Prayer:

Jesus, my dearest friend, I thank you for paving the way for friendship with me.  It amazes me that I am able to be a friend of God.  I admit there are times I struggle believing that you are indeed a friend because life gets messy and sometimes lonely.  Earthly friends hurt me and trust is hard.  You never fail me, you never leave nor forsake me, you even loved me so much that you laid down your life for me on the cross.  I cannot even begin to comprehend such love, such grace, such a great friendship.  I desire to know more of you, to spend more time in your presence, more time sharing my heart and listening to yours.  Today, help me to be a better friend.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

For further study:

Exodus 33:7-11; Proverbs 17:17, 27:9: John 1:1-44; James 4:4-10

Jesus is the Great Physician

When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures.   The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.”   He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently.  Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” -Luke 4:16-21 NLT

Jesus is our Healer, the Great Physician. He came to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah as the one who brings Good News, set the captives and oppressed free and make blind eyes see (Is. 61:1-2).  Jesus healed paralytics, blind men, a woman with an issue of blood, the demon possessed, the mute, and even raised people from the dead!  Jesus healed the whole person, not just the physical.  He cared about the souls of man.  When we read of Jesus’ healing, he forgave man’s sins, he expelled demons and he brought new life into those who once suffered.

Some people think that those miracles only happened in the Bible and they do not still occur today. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and for evermore.  He can and still does heal.

Some of you are suffering illness day in and day out.  You have prayed over and over again for Jesus to heal you.  You have asked others to pray for you but it seems to no avail. I understand as I am in this same situation, praying for healing when pain and fatigue overwhelm me daily. I don’t have a padded answer as to why Jesus hasn’t healed me or you.  I can say however, Jesus is with us.  He has compassion for us.  He cares about our souls and healing may be taking place from the deepest part of us.  I also believe that though our healing may not take place here on this earth, we will be ultimately healed in heaven with a new body with no more pain or sickness.  I keep holding on to hope for healing here and if not here, in heaven.

Does Jesus still heal?  I believe He does.  I am finding it is no point of complaining all the time about my illness, it’s just the way it is for now and how ever long I suffer with it.  I have found though that praising God through the pain makes a massive difference.  When I spend time in worship and praise, the pain lessens as my eyes are fixed on Jesus.  Be encouraged friends, God is with us.  He can still use us despite of our illnesses (Joni Earickson-Tada is a great example).  Don’t give the enemy the satisfaction of giving in!  Stand firm in your faith.  God gives and takes away, blessed be His name.

Prayer:

Jesus, I know you are the Great Physician and I know you can still heal today as you did in the Bible.  I thank you that no disease is beyond your capability to heal.  Jesus, I trust you in the midst of pain, sickness and struggles.  I know you are with me.  I have friends and family I have been praying healing for.   Help me to understand that even though I may not see physical healing, you are working on their hearts and souls.  You are in control.  I trust you and know you are the same today as yesterday and for evermore.  Heal me O Lord, and I will be healed, save me and I will be saved for you are my praise.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

For further study:

The book of Job; Isaiah 61; Matthew 9; James 5:14-16

How Illness has Affected Me

Shepherdess for the King

I don’t often talk about the illnesses I live with but for today I am. Before I became ill, I was an active mum and minister. I enjoyed taking the boys out on walks in the woods, countryside, and fields. I loved watching them explore and we always brought home acorns, twigs, pine cones, etc. in little sandwich bags. I enjoyed working with children. I loved planning programmes and crafts and then spending time getting to know the children in our church. I taught Sunday School, Junior Soldiers, worked at summer camps, etc. I also enjoyed teaching/preaching. I am more a teacher than a preacher.

I was quite active with all these things until 2010 when my life changed. I had sinus surgery in March and then later that year I had swine flu. This was also the year I became a British citizen and went to Brengle Holiness Retreat…

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Day of Remembrance

On this day of Remembrance

We pause to pray, give thanks

And reflect…

 

Father God,

We give you thanks and remember

For those who have gone before us

for the countless lives

who paid the ultimate price

Paving the way for our freedom

 

We thank you for our military

For protecting us in peace and in war

Thank you for their sacrificial lives

That are given at home and abroad.

 

We pray that you would give comfort

To those who mourn

The loss of recent wars or those gone by

Some have come home wounded and broken

Suffering from PTSD, loss of limbs,

Visions of death and horror,

Their lives have completely changed.

 

Bring peace to those who struggle

Day in and day out

With the pain of loss

Bring peace to areas where war rages on

Speak healing into the souls

Of our men and women

Who gave of themselves for us

 

Draw near to the families

Who wait for their loved ones

To come home

Who raise their children all alone

Let them know that you are there

 

Protect our military

As they protect us

Protect our country,

Our government

Our freedom

And for those who don’t

have this precious freedom

Bring liberty and life

 

Father we ask

That you will heal our land

Bring healing to this broken world

and let your kingdom reign

on earth as it is in heaven.

 

We pray this in Jesus’ name.

Lord hear our prayer, Amen.

©Tanya R Dooley

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Flower Animation

Work- Friday’s five minute word

Recently, my youngest, Joel, has begun refeereing football (soccer) games. He had to take a course in learning the laws (not rules) of the game. In order to be fully qualified, he has to referee five games and take an exam. He has refereed 3 games thus far this week alone and has another one tomorrow.

Joel has wanted to be a ref since he was 12 years old. He has watched football since he was 4, loving Manchester United. He recently began watching how referees make good and bad calls in Premier League games. He has learnt how different those calls are to what gets called out in grass root games. He has made a few mistakes in his first games and tends to be hard on himself. However, we, his parents and the coaches he’s refereed for, are very pleased with him. We know he’s just at the beginning of his work as a referee and there is a lot of work and growth to be done.

Jesus knows how much work that has been and still needs to be done in us as Christians. He promises us the work he began in us when were saved will continue and be finished when he returns or we go home.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. -Philippians 1:6 ESV

Philippians 1.6

Just like we are not expecting Joel to be perfect in his referee calls, Jesus is not expecting us to be completely mature and perfect in everything we do.

Jesus sees and know us. He expects us to grow. He expects us to lean on him, talk to him, and learn how to be like him by studying instructions from his Word. As we learn, he enables us to grow into mature believers.  He continues to work in us, moulding us into who he desires us to be.

One day, Joel will work himself up to Premier League and I’ll be so proud and say, “that’s my boy!” Jesus looks at us and sees how much we have grown and knows how much work he has done in us to get us to that point. He also looks at us and says, “that’s my girl!” or “that’s my boy!”

Joel hears “well done” for the amazing work he does.

And so will we.

When we reach our home, and Jesus says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” What a marvellous work he does in our lives.

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