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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3.  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.

     ~~~~~

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  4. While spending a week in the north east of England visiting our family, we were invited out by friends for a meal and a walk through the old and original part of Hartlepool where we were staying.

    It was very much more picturesque than I had expected and some interesting things were highlighted during our walk.

    John Wesley

    b_Look up_Wesley

    We passed a little plaque on a wall marking the place where John Wesley once preached over two hundred and fifty years ago, back in the days when the good news gospel message would have been preached to a crowd of interested people. Some of whom would have responded favourably and are in heaven today for sure.

    I wondered if someone were to preach the same message with the same fervour in the very same place how many would receive the message with gladness today?

    The message that changed the lives and destinies of people back then can do the same for folks today. Those who long for peace with God and the promise of a home in heaven must begin with the right response to this message, which, by the way happens to be the very same message that the Apostles preached back in the days just after the Lord Jesus died, rose again and was received back into heaven from whence He came.

    The Gospel message is all about the reason why He came in the first place. The Bible tells us that He "came into the world to save sinners." 1 Timothy 1: 15. And He came because the Father sent Him! (See 1 John 4: 14.) He saw a world of guilty sinners in need and came to the rescue with an amazing Salvation plan. No one else could have thought of such a plan like this. It involved the death by crucifixion of His beloved Son who came to die on the cross in our place as our substitute, paying the price our sin deserved!

    Why would God do a thing like that? All because of love, supreme love which is best expressed in these 25 beautiful words from the Bible:

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
    that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
    John 3: 16.

    God has expressed His great love, and done all the work that needs to be done. But we have the responsibility to respond favourably to God's offer of Salvation, and repent from the sin that separates us from God, trusting solely in Him ... or perish!

    Everyone in heaven today is there because they did just that and for no other reason. How about you, what will you do?

    Mizpah

    b_Look up_Mizpah

    As we moved on we saw a single word etched into the rendering on the front of a house looking out to sea. That one word was "Mizpah", which is a word that appears in the Bible. It means "God watch between me and thee whilst we are absent one from another." Genesis 31: 49. These words have often been used in endearing terms between loved ones who are separated for a while and is in fact a favourite of my Mum's for that very reason.

    Separation is a painful thing between absent loved ones and even more heartbreaking between us and the living God, but when we become one of His people by faith in His beloved Son we have a direct line of communication with Him. How wonderful! However, in a sense we are still separated from Him because we live on earth and God is in heaven. We have never seen Him before but have the blessed hope in our souls that we will do one day soon.

    Until the day when we shall be with Him and see His blessed face we are phisically absent from the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. We have a longing to be with Him which is far better but we remain to live out our lives in preferred faithfulness to Him. And while we do, God watches between us and Himself. What a comfort it is to know that we are never alone.

    Look Up!

    b_Look up

    Towards the end of our walk our friend expressed his great interest in the history of places like old Hartlepool and said something very interesting which is in fact the inspiration behind the thoughts conveyed here today.

    He said: "if you walk looking at the ground or straight ahead you'll miss it - you have to 'look up' and you'll see things that others will miss." And he was right you know: at eye level the buildings had been altered with the passing of time but above eye level where no one often looks you see all sorts of unaltered parts of buildings that are probably original features.

    There's one thing for sure, when we are going through trials we will not find a satisfying answer to our need anywhere else than in the Lord Himself. We must have an upward look at all times if ever we would walk in wisdom. The Lord who has never altered in the slightest is the One upon whom we can safely rely. The moment we try on our own we leave ourselves open to failure.

    But there is another type of 'looking up' every believer ought to be occupied with. That is the gladsome anticipation of the promised coming of the Lord Jesus who is going to come one soon day for His people to take them and us to be with Him where He is ... Forever!

    "Look up" are faithful words encouraging everyone that no matter where you are, no matter what you've done there is a Saviour for lost sinners. "Look up" are comforting words for every believer; for there is coming a day very soon when faith will give way to sight and every sorrow we know here will be gone forever.

    Therefore dear soul, whoever you are - Look Up - and you will not be disappointed!

    "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
    My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth."
    Psalm 121: 1-2

     ~~~~~

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  5. I work for some rather lovely people you know! When I'm not writing things for Rest a While or composing music and songs etc, I do a little bit of domestic work to help make ends meet. It is work I rather like doing not only because it 'makes things better' but because I work for the most part when everyone's out, I have a lot of time on my own to think, pray and even write a few thoughts every now and then. While I'm busy with my hands I'm usually creative with my mind, so this is the perfect type of work for me :-)

    While busy at work in the home of someone I've been working for a long while I was just about to engage my thoughts when they were interrupted by my friend / employer: 'It's a lovely day Amanda, take a bit of time out and enjoy the garden,' she said. I hesitated a bit before I said to her that I might take 10 minutes out and do just that, upon which she smiled with approval before leaving for the rest of the morning.

    I got to a point when most of my duties were done and I was feeling ready for my walk in the garden. I stepped out into the sunshine and began to walk down through the tailored garden into an orchard and beyond into a semi wild area where a bench was strategically situated under overhanging trees looking back towards the house. It was lovely :-)

    I sat taking in a deep breath of fresh autumnal air and listened to the sounds around me and taking in the incredible view. Ripe crab apples clung to the branches of the smaller trees I passed earlier. Leaves were already beginning to colour the freshly cut grass and a robin made an appearance every now and then. An old limp black hen was foraging through the undergrowth looking for 'treats'.

    I was secretly thrilled in my heart to know that no one but God knew I was there!

    I couldn't be seen or overlooked by a single soul except the wildlife close by. It was wonderful, and I can't remember the last time I felt such a feeling of almost excitement and pure joy. I could have stayed there for an hour or more, but I only had a few minutes before it was time to return and finish my work. But there was something about that unexpected moment of time out that did my soul so much good I'm still living in the good of it even as I write.

    b_Ten Minutes

    Most of us work for a holiday and well deserved rest once a year for a week or two. But I was reminded today of how important it is to take mini vacations away from the hustle and bustle and get alone with God.

    Sitting there amidst all this natural beauty reminded me of a beautiful verse in the Bible that says:

    "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons.
    I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."
    Song of Solomon 2: 3

    What a picture of absolute delight and contentment. A woman's description of the love of her life and a very fitting description of my beloved Lord and Saviour.

    There is something about Him that is so very different from among all others. His wonderful ways and words display before us the character of this lovely Man. Everything about Him is so precious, even to His inmost thoughts! If we ever wanted to know what God is really like all we have to do is take a good look at this lovely Man because the Bible tells us that:

    "God ... hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
    whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
    Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person

    and upholding all things by the word of his power,
    when he had by himself purged our sins,
    sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."
    Hebrews 1: 2-3

    Here we have in these verses something quite profound. They not only tell us Jesus is the expression of what God like in person but they tell us clearly that when Jesus died on the cross this was the expression of what God's love is like in all its fullness!

    If we were to continue to read we would soon discover that He is better in every way. Better than all mankind. Better than all angelic beings. Better than the very best and greater than the greatest that has ever lived!

    Just like the woman describing her beloved one, so it is that every one trusting fully in the lover of our souls will find all that He gives is sweet and satisfying.

    Who wouldn't want to be closely acquainted with such a one as this?

    Well, it seemed like a moment of time before my ten minutes was up and I rose to finish my work. Just a few precious minutes to refresh my soul.

    Perhaps you might take a little time out to discover something of great value to your soul as well. Remember, Jesus saves and satisfies all those who are prepared to 'rest under His shadow', and trust in Him fully.

    Just ten minutes well spent in the presence of God may very well change your life forever.

     

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