Be Joyful in Hope 

The middle of winter is not for everyone. Many of us look at the calendar willing the days to pass.

The nights are dark. The weather can be wintry.  And is it me, or is everyone sneezing? Again?

Yet even in the middle of winter there are signs of hope.

Spring bulbs begin to pierce some green shoots through the muddy ground. The days get just marginally lighter for a little longer. And a brisk winter walk - accompanied by an ever eager dog - can do wonders for your health.

So do you embrace this season or do you try to simply get through?

Our lives too can face differing seasons.

There's the season of being young and youthful.

There are seasons of hard work and nurturing others.

There are seasons of life and joy.

And then there are those other seasons. Those mid winter seasons.

Do you embrace such seasons or do you simply try to get through?

The Bible places a great emphasis on hope.

Hope is what sustains us through the ups and downs of life.

This isn't hope that things will get better - though seasons do come and go.

This isn't hope that somehow we'll muddle through - though we do come through.

This is hope that Jesus has broken the chains of sin and death.

This is hope that life - full life - is ours to embrace.

In a letter to the church in Rome we read about 3 ways to deal with mid winter seasons.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

Joyful - in hope.

Patient - in tough times.

Faithful - in prayer.



 

Keith Wilson, 16/01/2020

Christmas Greetings 

The decorations are going up. The Advent calendars are counting down the days. And the Christmas cards have started to arrive.

How will you send Christmas greetings this year?

Will you send a Christmas card to each of your friends and relatives?

Or will you use email to save some time - and do your bit for the planet?

Perhaps you'll give someone a phone call or maybe meet people in person at a gathering? 

Christmas greetings come in a range of styles.

From a card with a seasonal scene to a friendly 'Happy Christmas' as you pass someone.

It's nice to send Christmas greetings. It's also wonderful to receive a Christmas greeting. Especially if it's rather unexpected.

Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph when she got an unexpected greeting from God. The angel said to Mary: Do not be afraid, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

Mary had an unexpected greeting.

It was a message that was to change her life.

Of all people on earth - God had chosen her.

And through her act of obedience God would send a child into the world who was to be called Jesus.

Jesus. Joshua. The Lord saves.

The Christmas story involves ordinary people getting caught up in the extraordinary saving work of God.

This Christmas God has a special greeting for each of us. It's a message of how much He loves us and wants us to get into a right relationship with him.

Why not join us at one of our Christmas events and discover more about the message or greeting God has for you this Christmas?

Keith Wilson, 02/12/2019


Lest We Forget 

This Sunday is known as Remembrance Sunday. It falls this year just before the 11th of November.

2 days when we stop - albeit briefly - to remember.

To remember those who fell in war.

To remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

To remember the price that was paid for the freedoms we enjoy.

In 1897 Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called 'Recessional.' Kipling wrote:

God of our fathers known of old
Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine
Lord God of hosts be with us yet
Lest we forget - Lest we forget

Kipling warned us of the dangers of failing to remember.

How should we feel when we stop to remember?

Sad?

Solemn?

Grateful?

Humbled?

Remembrance events remind me of times when we - as Christians - gather round a table. On that table we'll find a simple plate with a loaf of bread on it. Sitting beside it will be a cup - or little glasses - containing some red wine.

We regularly gather round this table to remind ourselves of the death of Jesus. His body broken and his blood poured out so that our sins can be forgiven.

Jesus said to us: do this in remembrance of me

At the heart of Christianity lies this awful event - an event that brought us tremendous freedom.

The cross is our sign of hope - sin forgiven and death defeated.

I'll never forget my first trip to the battlefields of Normandy. There on a grey December morning we stood in the American cemetery and looked out over row after row of neatly planted white stone crosses.  Death on such a scale is hard to accept. It makes us want to rebel and declare that there must be a better way.

Each cross a sign of death. Each cross a reminder of  hope.

Lest we forget.
 

Keith Wilson, 07/11/2019