Time for Reflection at the start of 2018

This has been a good first weekend of a new year for me. I’ve not been painting the town red, nor was I even involved in some of my favourite hobbies, or going on one of our many jaunts in the car to one of Scotland’s beauty spots. No, in fact I was in Church most of the day yesterday at our annual day of prayer, and was there again today for our morning communion service, singing hymns, listening to the sermon and meeting with family and friends, but mostly to worship God.

I don’t know about you, but I need times of quietness and reflection amidst the hubbub of life’s activity, and the constant stream of ‘bad’ news that make up our daily news bulletins! Have you ever noticed how we are continually bombarded with news of ‘doom and gloom’, much of which is about things that may or may not happen? Why are we surrounded by such negativity? All this too, on top of the many problems that ordinary people are dealing with, problems of broken and strained relationships, family problems, health problems and financial, housing and employment issues. (And I haven’t mentioned politicians, ‘Brexit’ or International affairs!) It’s not surprising that prescriptions for antidepressants is now running at an all time high here in the UK.

I don’t know about you, but I need times of quietness and reflection a midst the hubbub of life’s activity, and the constant stream of ‘bad’ news that make up our daily news bulletins!

Bertrand Russell the famous British philosopher and atheist of the last century perhaps best summarised this negativity when he said “No fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought or feeling, can preserve a life beyond the grave …. All the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system; and the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins”.

 BUT – the good news of Christmas says, that there is HOPE!

If you missed it, the good news of Christmas is that there is HOPE and it is grounded in the facts of history. God loves YOU, God cares about YOU amongst the 7.6 billion members of the human family, and YOU are special to Him, yes YOU and thankfully me too! One notorious Christian hater and killer when he came to meet with Jesus, was so overwhelmed, by this truth he exclaimed – ‘the Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me – and that fact changed his life forever. John Newton’s famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ expresses the same sentiments.

 Jesus you see came to be a Saviour (that’s what his name means!) to save us from our sin and its consequences, which is death and hell! For if we are to know God as our Father, then we need the sin question dealt with, because God is perfect in Holiness and sinners cannot stand in His presence.

How is it possible you might ask, for the slate to be wiped clean and my sins to be forgiven? We are forgiven on the basis of God’s Justice, and God’s Mercy and Grace. God’s justice requires sin be dealt with, Jesus on the cross took our punishment as a sinless sacrifice, and now in Mercy, God offers us what we don’t deserve – Grace, a free pardon to all who come believing, confessing their sin and seeking His forgiveness.

So new life in Jesus is just a prayer away! It could be like this …

Oh God my Father, I am truly sorry for my sin, and am amazed at your love in sending Jesus to die in my place on that cross on Calvary. I ask you to please forgive me, and I thank you that you are willing to receive a child like me. Please come into my life now and take control and I promise to live for you and serve you as my Lord and my Saviour for the rest of my life. In Jesus name I pray.

 During 2017 it was my privilege to film people whose lives have been changed in this way – you can see and hear their stories here https://youtu.be/tbGdfPVM6A0

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I'm am a married man, a father, grandfather and great grandfather who has been married to Muriel for 62 years. I have worked as an Engineer in the Sugar Business, and as a Manager in the Relief and Development sector. Firstly however, I'm a follower of Jesus Christ and this fact has shaped my life and work.

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