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  1. Having spent a while attempting to sort out my rather busy and fragmented life, I stepped back as it were to take a look at the tasks I had started and never finished, and at the many notes and ideas I had collected throughout the years, and haven't made use of yet. I looked at what I am doing now and what I very much would like to do in the not too distant future, and it all became a little overwhelming.

    Like Martha in the Bible I felt cumbered about many things and I knew that I would have to simplify my life somewhat in order to accomplish that which is most important.

    But where was I to start?

    At the feet of Jesus was the best place to be; for all of the above things appeared to be ever so important. In fact this is the remedy for all types of dilemmas we find ourselves in from time to time.

    Time alone with the Lord is always the remedy to a cluttered life.

    Speaking of Martha brings me to some of my favourite characters in the Bible: Mary of Bethany, Martha and their brother Lazarus and their story, part of which is relevant to what it is I am seeking to convey.

    ~~~~~

    The scene is set, there's a house full of people and Jesus is the centre of attention. They have come to listen to His marvellous words. In the kitchen Martha was beavering away  and feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility she felt was hers to cater for all her guests.

    Looking for Mary her sister who had been helping her for a while she found to her dismay that Mary had joined the people and was sat right at the feet of Jesus, listening intently to every word He was saying.

    Feeling burdened and left alone she quietly interrupted the Lord's discourse to appeal to Him to send Mary back to help her. Here's what the Lord graciously said to her in return:

    "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
    But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part,
    which shall not be taken away from her."
    Luke 10: 41-42

    I conjure up a picture in my mind of Mary beckoning to Martha to come and sit beside her and Martha proceeding towards her with reserve. I see her sit with her sister still a little anxious about what's going to happen when the Lord has finished His speaking until she sees Mary looking at her with that 'everything's going to be okay' look in her face. At last she settles to listen and I imagine the Lord pauses for a moment of time to flash a look of approval in their direction before He continues.

    Everything was going to be just fine indeed and when the Lord finished I'm sure they both set to work together in caring for the needs of the guests. May be a little later but now everyone was happy!

    Why would I come to this conclusion? Simply because sometime in the future we read of another a celebration. Lazarus had been gravely ill and died but Jesus restored this dear man back to his sisters four days after his decease!

    Once again the house if full of inquisitive people but where's Martha? The Bible tells us she's serving again. But all that frustration she had earlier has disappeared.

    Where troubles, cares and frustration once reigned serenity now does.

    Mary of course knew the source of the peace in her heart that circumstances could never disturb. It was her beloved Lord Himself and she learned this at His feet and listening intently to His every word, and perhaps that's where Martha eventually found it as well.

    True it is to say that when I remembered Mary and Martha I remembered how important it is to make the time to be alone with God with an open Bible and a prayerful heart. This has to be more precious than a daily ritual and routine, but something we cannot do without approaching with joyful expectancy. This is 'that good part, which shall never be taken away' the Lord Jesus was speaking of. Somehow when being seated 'at His feet, and hearing His Word' comes first, everything else will take its rightful place.

    ~~~~~

    Now then, I still have a number of projects I need to finish, and I still have a great collection of inspirational thoughts yet to convey and I haven't yet, and I still need to simplify my busy life, but all that doesn't trouble me so much anymore because -

    Where care, troubles and frustration and was setting in Serenity now reigns.

    What a difference this has made, and nothing will ever be able to take away the treasures acquired from those precious moments alone with the lover of my soul.

    And nothing will ever rob you of those treasures as well if you only make and take those precious opportunities to be found 'at His feet and hearing His word.'

    Incidentally, Mary of Bethany's quiet and untroubled spirit is the subject of a brand new article just published called 'Serenity'. This is  worth a few moments of your time to read it for your blessing and enrichment. Enjoy :-

     b_Where Serenity is Found

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  2. Well here we are, it's February, and it's that time of the year when a lot of people struggle with the blues!

    Mind you, on a human level, there isn't all that much around us to cheer the heart is there? There are problems with our governments, protests, hate campaigns abounding. Tragedies occurring almost on a daily basis. And then there's life in general that seems to have lost its momentum as we slip into the second month of the year.

    b_Helper of your Joy a

    Where is the joy and enthusiasm many felt when we entered into the New Year? Resolutions have perhaps been broken before the first week was over. The mundane routine has set in and that get up and go feeling seems to have got up and went!

    I happen to rather love those early months in the year that everyone else struggles with. That probably sounds a bit strange, and definitely doesn't make me special in any way, it's simply because those quiet months give to me the opportunity to tie up loose ends and establish new things before time starts getting really busy.

    I would love to be a 'helper of your joy'.

    And I have a thought or two that may help to lift you up and set you on a path of rejoicing, renewed strength and confidence?

    Did you know that if it were not for the grace of God in my life I really would be struggling not only with the February blues but with life in general? Without the living Lord Jesus in my life to give to me an eternal perspective I would find very little to make an effort for each day!

    The Bible tells us that we are all just passing through, and the life we are living here is not going to last forever. However we all are in possession of something eternal, and that is our soul. We have the opportunity to invest in eternity every day of our lives and today is a very good time to start if you haven't already done so.

    We have just passed the season when the coming of the Lord Jesus is remembered, but what is it about His coming that has any relevance on our lives today?

    Well, everything actually!

    He came for the specific purpose of saving us from the very thing that robs us of the joy God designed for us to have. He came to save us from the guilt, the power, and the consequences of our sin. And it is our sin that is separating us from the very One from whom all joy in its purest form comes.

    Now, I'm not talking about happiness here. Happiness is a superficial thing that depends upon the things that happen to us in our lives. And it doesn't take too much to happen before we are feeling very unhappy.

    But joy is something that goes far deeper, and does not depend upon our circumstances. Joy is something we can possess even in the midst of the most gloomy of circumstances.

    b_Helper of Your Joy b

    Seeing as it is that we know that joy comes from God, then it stands to reason that we must know Him intimately in order to taste the sweetness of that joy for ourselves.

    God is on the lookout for sincerely repentant people who are prepared to come before Him with the heart-cry of three simple words: "Lord save me", or "Lord help me", depending on what your standing is before God.

    Please take a moment or two to enjoy a few encouraging words in the slideshow below. These are a few among a multitude of encouraging words from the Bible that are intended to set you on the path to a brighter and more joyous daily walk through life.

    Remember, the believer is secure for eternity, never alone, and has a whole host of heavenly resources upon which to draw daily. Now, that is a cause for rejoicing.

    And if you're not a believer yet, what are you waiting for? Repent of your sin and trust in the Lord with all your heart while there is time. You will be eternally glad you did :-)

     

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  3. b_When Jesus Came 1

     
    It seems hard to believe we're at the start of the New Year already and what can be said of the year that has just passed for you and for me? Has it been a happy one or one fraught with frustration and disappointment?
    We may even be trying to recover from a few heartaches leftover from last year and yet we still wish one another “Happy New Year!” How optimistic are we that it will actually be just that? Of course we all hope and even pray that it will be!
    The following little comments are about three people who had something in common and what they had in common was directly related to their attitude of heart concerning the Lord Jesus.

    ~~~~~

     “And the second time the cock crew.
    And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him,
    Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
    And when he thought thereon, he wept.”
    Mark 14: 72

    Peter was a companion of the Lord Jesus. He had followed Him faithfully for the past three years or so and now things were getting hostile for the Lord and threatening to be so for all who loved Him as well. However Peter bravely and boldly declared to His Lord that He would be faithful to Him even to death!

    Peter’s intention was admirable and yet when the pressure was on, and when it was time for Peter to make a stand, He denied the Lord he loved with oaths and curses. However, the Lord told him he would, but Peter couldn’t conceive in his mind that he could ever do such a thing like that – yet he did, and upon his denial when he remembered the words of His beloved Lord, it broke his heart! Luke tells us that he went out and “wept bitterly.”

    Peter’s almost inconsolable sadness was derived from his denial of his Lord. Thankfully the account doesn’t end there; for Peter's misery was turned into joy - when Jesus came and spent time alone with him. What precious moments these must have been between Peter and His beloved Lord Jesus.

    ~~~~~

     “And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?
    She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord,
    and I know not where they have laid him.
    And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing,
    and knew not that it was Jesus.
    Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?
    She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him,
    Sir, if thou have borne him hence,
    tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
    Jesus saith unto her, Mary.”
    John 20: 13-16

    Nobody had ever touched the heart of this dear woman like the Lord Jesus. He had completely changed her life one day when He brought freedom and order into her messed up existence. She had followed Him and probably had seen Him suffer, bleed and die on a cross having been treated worse than a common criminal. She had come to anoint His dead body – it was the very least she could do – it was all she could do for Him. Horror of horrors – His body was gone! The place where He was laid was now empty!
    For Mary, her sorrow was derived from her discovery of the empty tomb and her failure to appreciate that He was risen from among the dead. However the gloom of Mary was soon ended when Jesus came and turned her sorrow into unspeakable joy.

    ~~~~~

    “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus,
    which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
    And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
    And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned,
    Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
    But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
    And he said unto them,
    What manner of communications are these
    that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
    And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him,
    Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem,
    and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
    And he said unto them, What things?
    And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth,
    which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
    and how the chief priests and our rulers
    delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
    But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel:
    and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done."
    Acts 24: 13-21

    Picture if you will these two people in quiet conversation as they journeyed to Emmaus. Heads bowed low to match the gloom in their heart. Fresh in their minds were the events of the past few days when their beloved Lord Jesus was taken by wicked hands and crucified. They had hoped that He would redeem Israel but now He was dead! Or was He?
    The sadness of these two individuals was derived from the doubts and disappointments they had concerning the Lord Jesus. However soon their gloom was dispelled when Jesus came and they heard Him open up the Scriptures and reveal to them the things “concerning Himself.”
    ~~~~~
    Could it be that much of the sadness we know in our lives is derived from our failure to speak up for our Lord when we could have, or from our failure to appreciate that this precious One is really alive! How many of us are doubtful and fearful when perhaps we joyfully lived in the strength of faith not so long ago? The answer to this malady is the same every time.
    The answer is Jesus.
    One among the uncountable wonders of God’s beloved Son is this: that He never condemns His people for letting Him down or for failing to appreciate that He is alive or for even sometimes doubted him. Just as He was there for the dear folks we have just read about, so He is there for His dear people today.
    Come away from the clutter, the busyness and the noise of life and seek some time alone with God. Just like Peter, like Mary and like the two on the Emmaus road, you need time alone with the One who already knows what’s going on inside of you. It may be that some honest words need to be said on your part and if necessary, some tears need to be shed also. However, this is the means to a certain happy conclusion even as it was for those we have been considering today.
    Perhaps this little thought is perfectly timed just for you to assist in your assurance of the peace and comfort you have been longing for.
    D. W.
     
    (The above thoughts are based on an encouraging word shared some time ago by a loved one in our church family. Too special to be forgotten.)
     

    "May the infant of Bethlehem, Jesus of Nazareth, the Man of Calvary, the Lord of glory
    become increasingly precious in the days that lie ahead."

    A. Patterson

    b_When Jesus Came 2

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  4. Since I became a child of God some thirty-seven years ago, there has been a little verse from the Bible beautifully painted onto the wall immediately seen as you enter our Gospel Hall. It has silently borne testimony to the message we are confident to tell to a hopelessly lost world of people among our families, friends and acquaintances, and of course, those who pass by our Gospel Hall every day. This is what it says:

    12_Dec_The Reason Why

    Each Christmas I usually produce all my correspondence, cards, song, etc, on a particular theme. It streamlines all my work and makes life a little easier. I don't know why I never used this verse for Christmas before but I guess now is the time; for there is the real need for people to know and understand the real message behind Christmas.

    So, what do these nine simple words tell us?

    Firstly it could be easy for us to overlook that the One who came to the dark side of the world that night in which there was 'no room' for Him was none less than God Himself in human form - 'Christ-Jesus'.

    Then with a little inspection we will see that He must have existed before He was born as a baby to the young maid in Bethlehem;  for 'He came into the world'! He didn't just turn up out of the blue as it were, He 'came', which must mean that there was a place He left and a time in which He did so.

    This sounds rather like Someone special with a great mission, doesn't it? And of course the little verse tells us just that:

    "He came into the world to save sinners".

    How very thankful we can all be for His great mission. If He had come for righteous people there would be no hope for us; for the Bible tells us: "there is none righteous, no not one."! If He came for the purpose of expressing the wonders and perfections of God Himself, we would certainly be captivated but still be in dire need! If He had come for the purpose of chastising and condemning the world as we deserve, we would certainly have no purpose and nothing to look forward to!

    But "thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift". That gift is the Saviour who came to rescue us from the very thing that robbed us of all hope and gave us everything to live for and everything to look forward to when it is our time to leave earth.

    All those years ago when I was 'born of God' I was fascinated to know that if I had been the only soul in need of being saved from my sin, He would have gone all the way to Calvary just for me.

    May it warm our hearts to know that it was for us as individuals He came. And that means He came for you also!

     ~~~~~

    This year once again I had the privilege and responsibility to sing a solo at our Carol Service and below is an excerpt from my song for Christmas this year, which strangely enough is called "The Reason Why He Came."

    "Between the Father and the Son;
    A conversation took place long before the world began:
    About a distant day to come -
    When love supreme would need to be displayed.
    But who would go and do this thing?
    Straight away the Son responded: "Here am I, send me."

    Refrain -

     For you, for me the Saviour - our Emmanuel
    He came to where we were in all our need.
    At Calvary He suffered more than our words could ever tell,
    He went that far,
    That's because ... we are the reason why He came."

    AleB

    Special Notice!

    This song has recently been recorded :-)
    Created for Christmas - to be enjoyed anytime, and I am hoping to make it available for your blessing later on in the New Year. ♥

    With every blessing to you and your loved ones at this special season and for the New Year.

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  5.  b_start early a

    Start early! That's fairly good advice most of the time, and especially when it comes to busy times like the Christmas period.

    Here in the Le Bail family there's rather a lot to do around this time of the year. Because we have a rather large correspondence list and I like to make most things for the festive season there's a lot more than the average load of work to do to make things nice for everyone ... phew!

    If I start early enough everything is intensely enjoyable but if I leave it all a bit late it's easy to feel enveloped with that suffocated feeling. I know all too well that foreboding feeling when the days on the calendar seem to be passing quicker than other days in the year, and the clock appears to go into 'fast forward!' It all needs doing no matter when I start, so for me personally the earlier I start, the better.

    But Christmas isn't the only time when an early start makes good sense. Generally, starting each day early makes for a better day all round. Getting an early education gives to a person a better chance rather than waiting until later. Getting the first appointment almost guarantees the best of service.

    There are many incidences where we would soon see a benefit if we were to apply an early start, but there's one important thing that is often overlooked to the detriment of the wellbeing of most people all around us. In the Bible we read:

    "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me."
    Proverbs 8: 17.

    What a wonderful promise this is! Remember, this is God speaking here and He promises that those who seek him first are going to find Him. That means early in life and early in the day. This rather reminds me of another Bible promise: 

    "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
    Jeremiah 29: 13.

    What a reward indeed for a heartfelt search for the living God! After all who are we that we should be so richly rewarded?

    God being who He is, is holy beyond human comprehension and we are utterly undone in all our sin, but He invites us to search for Him more than and before than anything else and the promise of a rich reward is sure to follow.

     But what is this reward?

    b_start early b

    If being personally acquainted with the Mighty Maker of the universes appeals to you then you will not be disappointed, and if knowing without a doubt that all is well with your soul, then this promise is for you.

    If being in possession of the peace of God which passes all understanding is what you long for then it's time to make that move in the right direction ... early rather than later, which could be too late!

    Remember when the time was right Jesus came to earth, and He came with a mission and a work to do. It was to show what God's personality is like in the way He lived His wonderful life and to demonstrate what God's love is like when He suffered and died on the cross as a substitute for poor lost sinners like ourselves. The timing was perfect, He was in perfect time, which wasn't late!

    There is something of great importance for all of us to do and that is to rise up now and draw near to the living God either to come for His provision of forgiveness and salvation or to come and renew a closer walk with Him as He has always desired for you and me.

     There is yet another verse in the Bible which underscores what is being communicated here:

     "... Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is,
    and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
    Hebrews 11: 5.

    Take a careful look at the account of the arrival of the beloved Saviour into this world, and how the shepherds found Him after they searched for Him. What joy and wonderment filled their hearts. The promised Saviour had come at last!  And see how later on the wise men were not disappointed  after travelling for many months across the country to find Him. They would never be the same again!

    Why wait for January 1st to arrive to make a fresh start - when you can start this moment. You will be eternally glad you did.

     ~~~~~

    MiniStore_Amandas Music_special offer

    A seasonal gift for someone you love.

    Offer applies until the end of December.

     

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