VIDEO Christ the King of Christmas

Dec 19, 2013

Children’s Christmas song, used during Christmas 2013 at St Peter in Eastgate Lincoln

From Christ the King of Christmas by Colin Buchanan

The Heart Of Christmas

The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. —1 Timothy 1:14

Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol was released on December 19, 1843, and has never been out of print. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, sour, stingy man who says, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas,’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding!” Yet, one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is radically changed into a generous and happy man. With great humor and insight, Dickens’ book captures the universal longing for inner peace.

As a young man, the apostle Paul opposed Jesus and His followers with a vengeful spirit. He “made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3). But one day he encountered the risen Christ, and his life became a different story (9:1-16).

In a letter to Timothy, his son in the faith, Paul described that life-changing event by saying, even though he was “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man . . . the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:13-14).

Jesus was born into our world and gave His life so that we can be forgiven and transformed through faith in Him. This is the heart of Christmas! By David C. McCasland

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord,
That hath made heaven and earth of naught,
And with His blood mankind hath bought. —English carol

A change in behavior begins with Jesus changing our heart.

Finding Favor With God

Genesis 6:7-9

People work hard to earn the favor of employers, parents, or friends—unequivocal support and approval is a balm to the human heart. As believers, we long for God’s favor, and what a blessing that He offers it to us freely: “How great is your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You” (Ps. 31:19).

Unfortunately, many in our culture fail to take notice of the most basic examples of God’s kindness. He provides for needs, puts a limit on seasons of suffering, listens to and answers prayers, and bestows desires of the heart. Support, encouragement, and provision are blessings of the Almighty. Every good thing that comes our way is from His hand (James 1:17).

God’s favor isn’t capricious, as some suspect; He does not show kindness to some and withhold from others based on His whim. A believer’s actions stemming from faith make the difference. Consider Noah, who “walked with God,” according to Genesis 6:9. Noah’s willingness to keep a right relationship with the Lord through daily trust and worship resulted in his entire family being saved from the world-cleansing flood. That is a truly remarkable example of divine favor.

Another way we find favor is by keeping God’s commandments (Prov. 3:1-4). Believers are to feast on the Word in order to learn the Lord’s ways and practice His principles. As our hearts are bent toward our heavenly Father, we become more like Him. Consequently, His favor flows into every corner of the believer’s life.

Zechariah’s Visions: The Ephah and the Women

“Then the angel that talked with me…said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.” (Zechariah 5:5-7)

The ephah is a volume measure, similar to a bushel basket (Leviticus 19:36). The woman inside is defined as “wickedness” (Zechariah 5:8). The ephah is lead-sealed (contained) by God Himself and is taken (while contained) to Shinar by two women with wings like a stork (Zechariah 5:9-11).

These two women are difficult to identify. It is possible that they are Aholah and Aholibah described in Ezekiel 23, with Aholah representing Samaria as an adulteress with Assyria and Aholibah substituting for Jerusalem as the adulterous wife of Jehovah. It is also possible that these two women could represent Israel and later the church involvement with the worldly system of Babylon. In either case, these two women enable “wickedness” to be brought to Shinar and allow Babylon to be “established” (Zechariah 5:11). The New Testament counterpart of these events is probably the decadent woman pictured in Revelation 17.

This segment of Zechariah’s visions seems to set the stage for God’s harvest. There is the vision of the scroll of judgment impacting the entire earth; then this basket of “wickedness” that resembles conditions “through all the earth.” And lastly the house in the land of Shinar that is “established” before the four chariots (Zechariah 6) begin their final work. While these prophecies are not pleasant to anticipate, God “hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). HMM III

The ways of the Lord aw right, and the just shall walk in them

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.—Isaiah 30:21.
The ways of the Lord aw right, and the just shall walk in them.—Hosea 14:9.

YET more and more this truth doth shine
From failure and from loss,
The will that runs transverse to Thine
Doth thereby make its cross:
Thine upright will
Cuts straight and still
Through pride and dream and dross.
W. M. L. JAY.

LET us remember that it is not God who makes many of the crosses that we find in our way, such as we commonly call “crosses.” Our Heavenly Father makes “straight paths for our feet,” and, if we would go in His way, if we would straighten our wills to His will, and lay them side by side, there would be no crosses. But when the path that God points out goes north and south, and our stubborn wills lead us east and west, the consequence is “a cross”—a cross of our own making, not that which our Master bids us “take up and carry after Him,” and of which it has been well said, “He always carries the heaviest end Himself.” ANNIE WEBB-PEPOLE.

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lend those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: … I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. — We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

They brought young children to him, and he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant. — The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. — Ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. —I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.

Matthew 15:32. Hebrews 4:15. Mark 10:13,16. Psalm 119:176. Luke 19:10. 1 Peter 2:25. Luke 12:32. Ezekiel 34:15.

Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness

Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness. Psalm 112:4

Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. — Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. — The commandment is a lamp, and the law is light.

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Isaiah 50:10. Psalm 37:24. Proverbs 6:23. Micah 7:8,9. Matthew 6:22,23.