Sunday, 29 December 2013

Senses


Stones and metal
Ashes and dust
Blood and fire
Iron shatters.

Shame and grief
Dirt and discord
Words and thoughts
Cruel actions.

Hands and heart
Taste and vision
Bread and wine
Overflowing oil.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Prism


Meet his eyes
Compelled to love
That transcends expectations
Drawn into unison
So speak to the dead
Look for a sign
To reclaim my inheritance.
Released from bitter condemnation
Everything at once
Committed to seeing
Miraculous words
Spiritual immersion
So step into the light
When grace appears
Without preconceptions
Into an inspiring prism.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Sing by Josh Wilson


The Christmas song comes from Josh Wilson.

This is an excellent song and contains some brilliant truth. The story of Christmas is the story of redemption, freedom, hope and salvation.

The free gift of God, given without measure, requiring us to do nothing but believe and receive all the grace provided.

Love and mercy combined in an infinite act.


  
Every bit of history and every single breath we breathe
Has led us here and brought us to our knees
From carrying the curse we bear and praying that He's heard our prayers
To set us free, oh, set us free
'Cause we could never get back home with broken hearts
So home has come to meet us where we are

So sing God is with us, sing He has come to save us
Sing He will never leave us, glory in the highest
Everybody sing to the One who is our King

He has come to bring redemption to us, God is with us
Glory in the highest, everybody sing
We have found our hope again in the Son of God and Son of Man
This Savior King is changing all we know
By carrying the curse we bear for everybody everywhere
He lived and died and brought us life and we will rise to meet Him in the sky

So sing God is with us, sing He has come to save us
Sing He will never leave us, glory in the highest
Everybody sing to the One who is our King

He has come to bring redemption to us, God is with us
Glory in the highest, everybody sing, everybody sing, sing
Jesus, Jesus, our Emmanuel, God is with us now
Jesus, Jesus, our Emmanuel, God is with us now
'Cause we could never get back home with broken hearts
So home has come to us

Sing God is with us, sing He has come to save us
Sing He will never leave us, glory in the highest
Everybody sing to the One who is our King
He has come to bring redemption to us, God is with us
Glory in the highest, everybody sing
God is with us, sing He has come to save us

Sing He will never leave us, glory in the highest
Everybody sing to the One who is our King
He has come to bring redemption to us, god is with us
Glory in the highest, everybody sing


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Destiny


He was ready
And it wasn't a choice
Gazing into eternity
Gloomy shadow of man.

He danced with flesh
Held this beautiful spirit
Drawn with kindness
Broke through the void.

He was the light
Surrounded by darkness
Moaned in agony
Felt the anger of men.

He called out to me
I heard his voice
Met his blood-red eyes
Realized He was my destiny.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

This Child Is Love


They kneel before him
The finest prize
Born in weakness
With living breath.

The Spirit reached out
Touched the tender cheek
Where sorrow meets hope
This child is love.

If only I understood
A little better
And believed you cared
Safe in your grace.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Christmas Truce 1914


Private M. L. Walkinton, a 17 year old Rifleman in the Queens Westminster Rifles took part in the famous Christmas Truce in 1914. Reflecting back years later, this is what he has to say about that famous event in his book 'Twice in a Lifetime':-

“On a quiet night, when the trenches were near enough, we used to sing to each other, sometimes alternate verses of the same tune like Hail though one despised Jesus and Deutschland, Deutschland liber alles. They often sang their own words to the tune of God Save the King. Then an officer of one side or the other would come and stop it by ordering a few rounds of fire. We used to be sporting and fire high with the first round – and so did Brother Boche. We used to shout remarks to each other, sometimes rude ones, but generally with less venom in them than a couple of London cabbies after a mild collision……

Well, goodwill and good fellowship at Christmas-time were bred in the bone, so to speak and in spite of orders and warnings one kept thinking about it. The way this Christmas feeling persisted is interesting as one of the few victories of the teaching of the Church over the teaching of the State during the whole war. It persisted with us until the word ‘Truce’ crept into conversation. It grew so strong that not a shot was fired on our bit of front after midnight of December 24th/25th until midnight of December 25th/26th.

It was weird and unearthly for everything to be suddenly still. For some time we were suspicious and careful. We were afraid that some low-down trick might be played upon us by those ‘dirty swine’ (a phrase learned from newspapers printed in the far-off security of England – not our own coining). But after half an hour nothing had happened and both sides started singing carols. We wandered about a bit, rather nervously, on the parapet and shouted across to the Germans, who were doing the same. After a time a German who spoke English came half-way across and offered to meet one of our men to arrange a twenty-four hour truce. One or two bold spirits went out to meet him and they shouted an arrangement for no firing for twenty-four hours. Dawn came and with it a return to nervousness. But no one fired. We exposed ourselves a bit and so did the ‘enemy’ and nothing happened, so everybody got up out of both lots of trenches and walked about and shouted and waved.

Then the men of the opposing sides began to drift towards each other, first as far as the barbed wire and then a few of each side scrambled through. Timidly they approached each other – unarmed, of course - until finally a German and an Englishmen met and shook hands to the sound of a happy little burst of cheering. Within a few seconds hundreds of people were shaking hands, laughing, exchanging drinks of rum and cognac, cigars and cigarettes, chocolate, sausages and so on.

I talked to a German-American who seemed a very pleasant sort of lad. He had never been to England actually, though his ship had anchored off Plymouth. We tried talking war, but I found he was full of newspaper propaganda, as I suppose I was, and we couldn’t make any sense of it. He thought that the Germans had made a successful landing in England and were marching on London. I told him that we were expected to beat Germany by Easter and he roared.

After that I think we talked about food and our respective family histories. He introduced me to his battalion sniper who had just received an Iron Cross from the Kaiser. The sniper showed it to me and seemed very proud of it. I tried to beg it, but he gave me a button of his tunic instead! Several people exchanged addresses and promised to write to each other after the war, but I don’t know if any of them did.

Christmas cards from the King and Queen were handed to every man in the battalion; a greatly appreciated gesture.

At some time during the day I went back to our lines and cooked myself some sausage which I had brought back from a local butchers the night before when on fatigue duty in Chapelle D’Armentieres. There was about eighteen inches of it – they didn’t divide it into ‘links’ like they do in England – and it was rather a disappointment owing to my poor cooking. Just before dusk we all returned to our lines and during the night we were relived by the 1st Royal Fusiliers. My platoon spent the next night or two in comfort in some newly-built and unfurnished workmen’s house in Chapelle. We were dry, we were warm and we had uninterrupted sleep. Bliss again!"

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Angels All Around


Angels all around
As paradise shakes
Transcendent descent
Astonishment!
Emptiness answered
Mystery kissed
Love echoed
A divine spark
Eternal tension
With a flourishing cry
Peace to all men!
You make all things new
A saviour is born
The war is over
Reconciliation. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Our Glorious King by Dave Thorpe



Our most glorious King, who’s robed in splendour,
Is Jesus Christ my great defender.

Angelic beings worship around His throne,
As praise and honour to Him are shown.

Glory to the Lord Most High, the living creatures sing,
While the four and twenty elders, their adoration bring.

This gloriously awesome, holy Son of God,
Took on the form of man, and on the earth He trod.

He came to be a sacrifice, to bear the sin of man,
Lived a holy spotless life, throughout His earthly span.

Took upon Himself our sins, in love He took our place,
So that all may have salvation, throughout the human race.

Just turn to Him and ask, forgiveness from your sin,
And He will grant you your request, and bid you enter in.

So that you may share His glory, be clothed in His great love,
And at His appointed time, you’ll be raised with Him above.

For He will keep His gospel covenant, for it is forever true,
This glorious assurance is sealed for me and you.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Emmanuel by Chris Tomlin


This is one of my favourite Christmas songs, Emmanuel by Chris Tomlin.

The awesome truth that God took on flesh and became man. Breathed the same air as me, walked dusty roads, felt the same sun on his skin, experienced the same dust.

Christ is the hope of nations, the guiding light in the darkness, the answer to all our prayers, the bridge that expands over the void.

He came to dwell, firstly in flesh, then by the Spirit in my flesh.

What a hope, what a guarantee, what a overwhelming union





What hope we hold this starlit night
A King is born in Bethlehem
Our journey long, we seek the light
That leads to the hallowed manger ground
What fear we felt in the silent age
Four-hundred years can He be found
But broken by a baby's cry
Rejoice in the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
God incarnate, here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel

The son of God, here born to bleed
A crown of thorns would pierce His brow
And we beheld this offering
Exalted now the King of kings
Praise God for the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
God incarnate, here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel
Oh, praise His name Emmanuel
Oh, praise His name Emmanuel


Songwriters: Christopher Tomlin, Edmond Martin Cash

Sunday, 8 December 2013

A Promise


A promise
A wonder
Sovereign splendor
Heavens brightness.

 Come at last
Here is the seed
Sweet aching toil
Hope richly planted.

Every despair
Bygone grief
In starved desires
Earth bound frame.

The universe understands
Where silence stirs
This is the place
Great mystery revealed.

Friday, 6 December 2013

The Man by Bill Thomas


I had a glimpse of a man in glory,
Resplendent in majesty, seated on a royal throne.
A cross on a hillside, an agonizing death,
Abandoned by God, suffering alone.
I saw a man walking on the street with his friends,
A hesitant woman touching his coat;
Rebuking his disciples, rebuking the waves,
Calming the storm and keeping them afloat.
A man besieged by demons praising the Lord,
Demented swine flying to the sea at his word.
A temple in uproar as he sets about his foes,
Upsetting the tables everywhere he goes.
A girl, still in death, opens her eyes,
A perfumed jar of nard poured upon his feet,
A man, lame from birth, ordered to arise;
A man, just like me, at the mercy seat.
A man seeking righteousness, lamenting at the cost,
A man giving everything to seek and save the lost.
A woman at a well, many a man's wife,
Given living water, drinking everlasting life.
A man, blind from birth, a man with leprous skin,
Healed at a touch,and forgiven for their sin.
Thousands on a hillside, amazement in their eyes,
Pharisees and scribes rejoicing in their lies.
A barbarous crown of thorns, a cruel cross of wood;
Angels stand in silence, hardly understood,
A tomb lying empty. Rolled away, the stone,
Now seated in glory, this man upon his royal throne.

By Bill Thomas

                                                               

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Welcome To Our World by Michael W. Smith



The wonder of Christmas is the glorious gift of Christ.

God entered this world, took on our flesh, felt our pain, experienced our frailty, cried our tears, dwelt with man.

He became our healing.
He became our salvation.
He became our manna,
He became our new wine.
He became our communion with the father.

Michael W. Smith captures this beautifully in Chris Rice’s song, Welcome to our world.


  


Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited Holy Stranger
Make yourself at home
Please make yourself at home

Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
World now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Forgotten Heroes - Sergeant George Howell. V.C.



Sergeant George Julian (Snowy) Howell VC MM, 1st Battalion, AIF.

Sgt Howell was awarded the Victoria Cross as a Corporal (Cpl) for "conspicuous bravery" on 6 May 1917, near Bullecourt, France.

Cpl Howell climbed on...to the top of a parapet and under heavy fire proceded to bomb the enemy, pressing them back along the trench. After he exhausted his stock of bombs, he continued to attack the enemy with his bayonet, before being severely wounded.

A month before this action he was awarded the Military Medal "for courage and devotion to duty while leading a rifle bombing section" during the battalion's capture of the village of Demicourt.

He returned to Australia and was discharged on 5 June 1918.

He later served as a Staff Sergeant at Headquarters, Eastern Command, during the Second World War before joining the United States Sea Transport Service in August 1944. Note he has three wound stripes on his left sleeve

Monday, 2 December 2013

In Christ by Joseph Prince



Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
I remember going through a terrible time of depression when I was 18 years old. Believing that I was demon-possessed, I sought out a great man of God to have him cast the devil out of me. But when this man of God laid hands on me, he began to prophesy over me. He said, “Joe, I see you preaching to thousands and used by God to impact thousands of lives. Joe, you are called by God and the devil is attempting to stop you.”
“What? I came here for deliverance! I am only interested in saving my own life, not preaching nor impacting lives,” I thought to myself then.
You see, what happened was that at that moment, God allowed this man to step into the timeless zone He exists in to bring my future before me. As far as God was concerned, my future had already happened, though I was only 18 years old then. Today, I am a pastor of a church which has more than 30,000 members. Today, I am seeing what was told to me long ago.
God does not see as we see. Abraham was a childless, 100-year-old man. His wife, Sarah, at 90 years old, was doubly dead in her womb. (Genesis 17:17) Yet, God saw him and talked to him as if he were already the father of many nations.
My friend, God wants you to see the way He sees. Right now, you may see yourself going through a trial in your marriage, work, finances or health. But God sees a blessed marriage, success at work, supernatural provision and a healed body because He tells you that you are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
You see, God sees you in Christ. So when you see yourself in Christ, who is outside time, you step into the timeless zone. In that timeless zone in Christ, whatever needs and trials of yours are already removed, repaired, restored or resurrected! In that timeless zone in Christ, you are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

In The Shade


Secluded
Hidden in the shadows
Enchanted
In the shade
My protection

Standing alone
Twisted darkness
Scaled and broken
Needing to be
Secure and protected.

My confessional

I stand in the stillness
Holding images and words
Held and kept and treasured within
Like precious stones
Haunting my past

Black seriousness demanded.

The forest ends
Memories depart
My future
Molded with prayer

My attention
Scaled and aware
Illuminated

Alight with the Divine

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