Sermon by Calven Celliers
Sermon by Calven Celliers
by Calven Celliers
We sure have had an abundance of rain in the last few weeks! What a blessing! As I stood at my window watching the rain falling on Tuesday evening, I suddenly found myself humming the tune of a well-known song that I don’t recall us singing in Church for a very long time.
Mercy is falling is falling is falling
Mercy it falls like a sweet spring rain
Mercy is falling is falling all over me
O Lord I receive your mercy
O Lord I receive your grace
O Lord I will dance forever more
In the book of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah laments over many aspects of the situation that the people of God found themselves in at that time, but sandwiched in the middle, we find his confident hope in the mercies of God, “22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 2: 22 & 23NLT)
Mornings symbolise freshness, new beginnings, newness of life, cleansing and hope. Just as each new morning brings a newness of day, and fresh light that drives out the darkness of night, we can refresh our souls in the same way. With every dawn, we can look for the light of God’s presence to break through the darkness in our lives and feed hope into our souls. Mercy is a display of God’s abundant nature.
I remember as a child being taught that mercy is not getting what we deserve, and grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Throughout Scripture we can see that God’s mercy flows from His forgiving nature. He shows mercy when He is slow to anger and abounding in love. Mercy is not a benefit based on our merit but is a gift from God. Jesus made mercy an essential part of His ministry. He dined with tax collectors, healed the sick, relieved hunger, calmed storms, restored sight, and raised the dead. He is the full expression of God’s mercy to us. Mercy takes action. God gives mercy lovingly and He wants us to do the same. If you’re anything like me you’re probably going to make a lot of mistakes between now and when you get to heaven, and you’re going to need God’s mercy. But you cannot receive what you are unwilling to give. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew, “7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7NIV)
Each and every day we can feed on the great love, mercy, and faithfulness of God; every day we can remind ourselves that the character of God is full of perpetual mercy that never runs out or expires. Every day we can commit to extend the same mercy and grace that we have received from our Father in heaven, to those around us.
In closing I want to wish each and everyone of you a very happy and truly blessed Festive Season. This is the last NHCF blog post for 2021, and we’ll pick up again in the New Year.
God bless, be safe, and lots of love,
by John Doyle
A scripture needed at this time: Psalm 46:10 – 11 “Stop the fighting, and know that I am God, exalted on this earth, Yahweh of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our STRONGHOLD.”
We know as Believers where our final destination is and we know its a journey of Faith and trials and struggles will come but knowing that one day we will be in Glory with Jesus we need to Press On “UNTIL THEN”
There is a life right in front of us all that is ready to be lived. It might not be the life you always dreamed of, and it might be missing a few things, or a few people, especially lost loved ones, but Gods Word confirms your life still matters. And taking the time to delight in the present doesn’t take anything away from the future. Even when your hopes for the future are sincere and filled with good intention, you are being called to live this way on a daily basis.
Its not that easy especially in these days of Lockdown and you might feel like you are coming short, but the truth is, this moment, this day, this life is what God has given us. And the more we can accept this truth the more we will find that there is more to the present moment, than you can ever imagine.
Perhaps a new friendship can be cultivated this month. Since moving up from Cape Town, Barbara and I have made some amazing friends at our Church. We are so thankful to the Lord.
Perhaps also in the time you spend alone during the day you can find the time to journal in your Bible, or write a poem or song, or just send a message to someone that needs encouragement at this time. There are seeds to be sown here. There are plants that are already growing that are waiting to be watered. There is so much that we are longing for, but UNTIL THEN then, we have what we need by the Grace of God to take this day and Glorify the Lord with the words we speak and actions we take that may be such a blessing to others.
Let this time leading up to Christmas and the New Year, where we take each day and open our hearts and minds to what God shows us and teaches us through His Word. For through all of the things that we have gone through and the changes that has affected so many lives we have stayed strong in our Faith and have learned to keep pressing on knowing that God has it all in His Hands.
Hold on to the Promises of Gods Word. Do not give up. Even on the days when you feel burdened or discouraged your life is to be lived in Honour and Glory to God. You may have to wait for Gods perfect timing to fall into place and it will, but UNTIL THEN stay strong in your Faith, be a testimony to others who may also be struggling physically, emotionally and spiritually.
The future will fall into place according to the plans of God. Things that used to keep you up at night and wake you up in the morning will change over the years. You will find peace in unexpected places. You will find hope for a sunrise amidst even in the heaviest of storms. You will find that all along, you were filled with life and a hope that came through your Belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life. No amount of darkness or uncertainty could take that away from you and the joy you have in being a child of God.
But don’t wait UNTIL THEN to find JOY and PEACE. Spend time with the Lord in prayer, Spend time with Believers, Spend time Fellowshipping at your Church and feasting on Gods Word. This will enable all of us to stay faithful to our Lord UNTIL we see HIM Face to Face in Glory. What a Day that will be when our Jesus we will see.
But *UNTIL THEN* “Clap your hands, all ye peoples, shout to the Lord with a jubilant cry, For Yahweh the Most High, is awe-inspiring” Psalm 47: 1 – 2
Time to sing with me:
TAKE MY LIFE
Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless Praise
Let them flow in ceaseless Praise
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my King
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee
Filled with messages from Thee
Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine
Take my heart, it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne
It shall be Thy Royal Throne
Take my love, my Lord I pour at Your feet, it’s treasure store
Take myself and I will be, ever, only, all for Thee
EVER, ONLY, ALL FOR THEE.
In the Love of the Lord Jesus,
John and Barbara
by Graham Mol
Every December I like to find a Christmas album to put on repeat. There is usually some new release from Christian artists around this time of year and often one can find some real gems. Last year my favourite album was Heaven Has Come which I wrote about in my blog: Music for Christmas 2020
This year instead of picking something newly released I went to find an album I’d heard about but had missed at the time, Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God. The original was first released in 2004 and now has been re-recorded in 2019.
The album presents a unique telling of the Christmas story through songs revealing the birth of Christ as it is foreshadowed and prophesied in the Old Testament and brought to bear in the New Testament. I really love this as it helps convey the sense of anticipation that God’s people had as they awaited God’s promised Messiah.
The Christmas Nativity is not an isolated or separate story but part of the grand narrative of Scripture. The familiar tale of Christ’s birth becomes so much richer in meaning and significance when we see the bigger picture.
So I’d encourage you to have a listen to the album, and if possible listen to the whole thing in one go so that you get the sense of the story being told. Some of the songs stand out in particular. The moving “Deliver Us” conveys the heart cry of God’s people to be set free from slavery in Egypt which then is linked to our cry to being set free from slavery to sin.
The song “Labour of Love” paints an honest picture of the night of Christ’s birth, how difficult it must have been for Mary and Joseph to bring a child into the world all by themselves, in a dirty stable. And yet they were sustained by God’s grace.
There is also a song about Jesus’ genealogy. Yes, that’s right! I don’t think there’s even been a Christmas carol based purely on who begat who, but with the folksy country feel, Peterson pulls it off.
Here is a link to a playlist of the songs on Youtube: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL42LOQVutXirhRQU2JiMSWdn8ZfMzsTmV
Or you can find the song on your favourite streaming platform. Alternatively you can find the CD at a local CUM Books if you still like to enjoy your music “old school”!