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Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category

God knew our greatest need

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator;

If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist;

If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist;

If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer;

But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Saviour.

 

Source: Unknown

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As we look at the world around us – the pain that so many are suffering – perhaps it’s good to just stop and remind ourselves that we are actually loved by God.   Pain and suffering are not His will for us, healing and wholeness are.  Sometimes though, it is difficult to return that love so freely given to us.   Sometimes we want to rage against God and hold back our love.   It’s always easier to proclaim our love for God when our emotions and circumstances are all in a good place, but when we’ve lost someone so dear to us that it becomes almost unbearable, those are perhaps the times we have to choose to love.

When Christ laid his life down for the world, He demonstrated what real love looked like.  It was a choice, beautiful beyond words. That’s the kind of love Circleslide sing about in their song, “Love Amazing”.

“I’ll rejoice
Though my heart aches
I’ll rejoice 
My God will save
All my needs have been replaced
With Love Amazing
With Love Amazing …”
 

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Photos taken at River Dee, Banchory, and Banchory East Church

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I know Christmas is some weeks away, but we are about to enter the season of Advent – the time of waiting and preparation for the second coming of Christ.   But I thought now was as good a time as any to remind ourselves of what it is we celebrate in 29 days time – the First Coming of Christ.

“He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.   And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”   

(Philippians 2:7-8)

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This week is Holy Week. During this week the Church remembers the final week of Jesus’ life, from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday through to his resurrection on Easter.

Below is a map, adapted and published back in 2008 by the English Standard Version Bible Society www.esv.org  that marries the locations and events of Holy Week.

Click on the image below to go to the Google Map, then click on each flag to see a summary of the events at a particular location on that day.

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Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and for me there is a growing sense that most folk skip straight from this Sunday of celebration, to the joy of Easter Morning. The numbers that participate or enter the stories of Holy Week itself seem to be getting less. So perhaps we should be doing both – celebrating the entry to Jerusalem and reflecting on the events of the Passion too.   That’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years; yes, we do still have services during Holy Week that tell the story and give us time to reflect, but tomorrow we will begin our service with our children entering the sanctuary waving palm fronds, and we will leave having moved through the last week of Jesus’ life, to stand at the foot of the Cross.

Below is one of the songs we will be singing … The Power of the Cross: Written by Keith Getty, sung by Stuart Townend

  

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Coping with Worry

A few years ago a report conducted by a Mental Health Committee had this to say – half of all the people in our hospital beds are there because of the effects of worry.

Mental distress can lead to all kinds of health problems – headaches, heart trouble, ulcers, depression, digestive disorders, and yes, even death. When we add to that list, the mental exhaustion of nights without sleep and days without peace, then we get a glimpse of the havoc worry plays in destroying the quality and quantity of life. Worry is bad for us.  Worry has no nutritional value for the body or for the soul.  An estimated

Worry

40% of things we worry about are future possibilities that will actually never happen;

30% are things from the past which can’t possibly be changed;

12% are about our health – which gets worse with stress;

and 10% are too petty and insignificant to matter. 

That means that only 8% of the things we worry about legitimately deserve our thought and concern.  Most worry is irrelevant and does an enormous amount of harm. 

Jesus said: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not your life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?… So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-27; 31-34)

People may say to us, “Don’t worry, pull yourself together” or “Don’t worry be happy”.  All simply said, but much harder to accomplish.  But what happens if we listen to Jesus’ advice to us “Don’t worry, seek God’s will first.”

Sometimes we live as if Jesus had said: Seek first all the other things in life that everybody else seeks, and then the Kingdom will be added to you. 

He didn’t say that.  He said: Seek first the Kingdom.  Everything else comes second.  

So, based on Jesus’ statement in Matthew 6:33, what if today you were to do a really radical thing?  What if you were all to say:

I’m going to start as if each day is a blank slate.  I’m going to begin it by devoting myself to what matters most, seeking God’s will, and then see if what Jesus said is true, that “all these other things will be added to me.” 

If our heart is in tune with God, if our heart seeks God and his will, we have nothing to worry about.  This doesn’t mean that we will be free of trouble, after all we may be a special people but we are not a protected species, rather it means that God will be with us in the middle of our trouble, to uphold us and to drive away our fear.  For many of us the struggle with worry will be an ongoing battle, but we can be assured that this is not one that we fight alone, if we: Seek first the Kingdom of God.

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