Friday, 20 December 2013

Where is the love?

From the Airdrie Baptist Newsletter 22 Dec 13

Where is the love?

‘Tis the season to be jolly’ says the Christmas song. Our Christmas cards wish 'peace and goodwill to all men' and yet you don't have to scratch too far beneath the surface of the season to see conflict and strife do you?

Don't believe me? Take a trip to the shops tomorrow!

A few weeks ago punches were thrown as people tried to bag a bargain on Black Friday. I've not seen anything quite so dramatic myself but it certainly seems people are becoming less and less considerate as the pressures of the season continue to mount. There are so many things to attend to; so many jobs to be done, presents to be bought, parties to be planned if we're to have that 'perfect' Christmas... No wonder we're all so stressed.

Christmas is a busy, noisy, messy time of the year.

Bethlehem would have been like that 2,000 years ago. Stressed and tired travellers had crammed into the region to do their duty. The little room or stable where Christ was born surrounded by animals looks very tranquil on our Christmas cards. We sing 'silent night, holy night' but I'm sure the animals would have been heard. And smelled. Another famous carol has the line 'the little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.' Really? I doubt it.

No matter how hard we try to sanitise it, the nativity story is full of sound and smell, it's not shielded from the realities of life in this world. Actually that's exactly what we celebrate at Christmas. God became a real human being, to experience the terrible realities of life in this broken and sinful world. He came to live his life for us, and to give his life for us.

God came right into the middle of the mess, to live and die for us.

In the midst of the noise and stress and strain there is love and joy to be found. It's to be found in Jesus.

There can be no perfect Christmas without him at the very centre.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Have a wonderful Christmas

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Life Transformed by 'Clean Supernatural Power'

'...Others saw a neighbour who had been a well-known spirit-medium in Aberavon, abandon the only livelihood which she knew, for the gospel. Every Sunday evening she had been paid three guineas -quite a large sum in those days- for leading a spiritist meeting. Then one Sunday when she was ill, and unable to go out, her attention was attracted to the numbers who were passing her house on the way to Sandfields.

The very sight of these people, and their evident anticipation, awakened a desire in her to attend a service herself. This she did, to be herself transformed and thereafter to live a consistent Christian life until her death. Included in the testimony which she subsequently gave to the messenger who had led her to Christ were these remarkable words:

“The moment I entered your chapel and sat down on a seat amongst the people, I was conscious of a supernatural power. I was conscious of the same sort of supernatural power as I was accustomed to in our spiritist meetings, but there was one big difference; I had a feeling that the power in your chapel was a clean power."'

The Life of Martyn Lloyd Jones 1899-1981
Iain Murray