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Turning The Page
2020-2021Moving from one year to the next is so arbitrary in that the dates are man-made, but there is always a significance at this time of year as we look back on what has passed and look forward to what is coming. We are ‘Turning the Page’ As a child in primary school, I vividly remember looking forward with excitement to the day when my old writing book could be exchanged for a new one. The old one was tatty, dirty, scruffy, ink-splattered, with dog-eared pages covered with crossed out, illegible scrawlings, scribblings and doodlings, complete with bright red corrections from my teacher. What anticipation ~ awaiting the reception of a brand new, clean, unspoiled, unsullied, virginal book After writing my name on the front cover, I remember, waiting with bated breath, my pen hovering over the spotless white first page. With great determination and deliberation, I commenced writing, certain that this book would be different, with perfect writing, faultless spelling, clean pages with no messy mistakes or need for the teacher’s corrective red pen. Maybe your experience was similar … and what followed? Unfortunately, I was not able to continue in the way in which I started, with such promise of goodness and perfection. Soon the new book resembled the old, exhibiting all the familiar traits of failure, and once more I was in the position of eagerly awaiting its replacement. Does this not reflect life? We try so hard to ‘Turn the Page’, to put the old behind us, to start afresh … and that is how millions of people approach every New Year. But after a while, it appears that all the old habits, failures and faults have re-appeared. There are many people who do not like themselves, who feel guilty about who they are or of what they have done, and are forever trying to ‘Turn the Page’ or ‘Turn over a New Leaf’. Over and over they try to start afresh, but they are mostly unsuccessful in the long term however determined they are to change. They make every effort to reform their lives but are not able to shake off the old life, to cut themselves off from crippling habits and get themselves cleaned up and free. The wonderful good news of the Christian gospel is this: there is a way for us to start afresh with a new clean life, but there is only one way … Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father (can be set free from their old way of life) except through Me” The Sovereign Lord speaks to us through His disciples in His Word, the Bible: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” “The Lord says, ‘No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool. If you will only obey Me and let Me help you’” The Lord Jesus died, taking the penalty for our sin, so we might be forgiven “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ (has come to the Father, repented of their sin and received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour), he is a new creation (a new person altogether); the old has gone, the new has come As we turn to the Lord and humbly ask for His help, we can know His forgiveness and freedom from our past, from our sin and rebellion, disappointments and discouragements, damaging hurts and regrets. What will your life look like as you turn the page into the New Year? A new start … a clean page … is possible, through our Lord Jesus Christ Read More
We Have a Saviour
How can anyone refuse...‘Joy to the world, the Lord has come!’ Those are the first words of a well-known carol speaking of the message of the angels to the shepherds as they cared for their sheep on the hillside outside Bethlehem. The announcement of the angels that “to you, today, is born a Saviour” is the greatest and most welcome news that a person could ever receive. That is why the angels said, “we bring you good news … of great joy … for all people … YOU HAVE A SAVIOUR” During these days of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have got used to politicians making announcements. But do we ever really take notice and understand all that their conflicting and sometimes contradictory advice and rules to be obeyed mean in practice? Recently, I heard a politician say, with great emotion: ‘We have a saviour!’ He was speaking about the new vaccine that had just been authorised to be given to prevent us from catching Covid. The response from many people has been amazing: ‘It’s good news, the end is near!’ … ‘I am over the moon!’ … ‘I am ecstatic!’ … ‘this will save us from death!’ There has been a release of joy and happiness, of celebration and applause, of thankfulness and appreciation, as people welcome the vaccination with open arms, excitedly expecting life soon to return to normal. But will it … really? What is a saviour? A good definition is ‘a person or substance that saves someone or something from danger or difficulty’. It appears that the vaccine may well fit that definition, but there are many questions: … who will receive the vaccine? … will we have to receive more than one dose? … how long will it last? And many people worldwide are saying they will refuse to take the vaccine … is that wise or foolish? But let us return to the even greater Good News that the angels declared to the shepherds that first Christmas so long ago, which is very similar to what the angels said to both Joseph and to Mary: “You will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus” “… you are to give Him the name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” Covid-19 is a disaster which is shaking the whole world, no one is unaffected, and the vaccine may well be an answer. But the even greater disaster which affects every individual that has ever been born, worldwide, is that we are all eternally separated from the Lord God Almighty because of our sin, rebellion and refusal to obey His good commands for how we should live and take care of His wonderful creation. But the real Good News of Christmas, which is relevant all year, for all people is this: “God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not die but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world as its Judge but as its Saviour” When it comes to the vaccine for Covid-19, we each can choose to receive or to reject what is offered. A similar choice has to be made for the Saviour of the world … to receive or to reject what He offers. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the ONLY SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD, personally offers to each one of us: Love … Joy … Peace … Hope … Forgiveness … Life ………. FOR EVER ………. How can anyone refuse such a wonderful, free offer of salvation? Whatever your situation this Christmas, I pray that you will know the great love, joy and light of the Lord Jesus, our Saviour, flooding into your life and circumstances. Read More