Exodus and Exile

See Ephesians 1:7.

The Bible reads like a collection of books about people caught up in exodus and exile. It is a book that shows the destruction of imperialism and war. It shows how innocents suffer. The climax of the book is the suffering innocent saviour crucified on a tree. But, God is not done there, it is also a story of resurrection, redemption, and hope. It is the story of people with good news to share by words and action. It is counter-culture and more relevant now than some may realise. In an age of wars and rumours of war, an age of refugees in exile and mass exodus, it speaks of the need for love and compassion. The early followers of Jesus were famous for love and not hate. So while the extremists, the religiously ignorant, the politically cold, the divisive nationalists and the greedy arms dealers fuel the world's problems, and beat the war drums, let us the people of new birth be lights in the darkness and voices in the wilderness. Let us live and sing the song of love, for truly His banner over us is love. It is to that beat we march and in His name, not the gods of hate and war, but the God of love, the Prince of Shalom (peace).
Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

Lord we pray for those lost in Exodus or Exile.
Those lost physically, mentally, emotionally.
We pray for those lost in poverty and need.
We also pray for those spiritually lost in sin and confusion.
Thank you that you have come to set the captives free.
We pray that you would use us to help those who are lost. In small ways and even big ways. Little by little or even with momentum.
Lord that the lost would be found. That your light would shine in their lives.
That more would be able to say, "I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see."
Amen


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He Changes Everything

See John 3:19.

Thankyou Lord Jesus that you change everything. That the tide of evil and darkness that once thought it was winning was wrong. We praise you that by your resurrection power you are winning the battle between good and evil. The light is winning! There is hope! Even if the darkness becomes so powerful that only a small light can be seen (as has happened often in human history due to the sins of our species) there is still a light! Teach us also to be lights in the darkness, to imitate you the greatest of all lights, the Son of God. Let the light shine! Amen.


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Love: That splendid word

Love. That splendid word. Thank you, Father.
You are graciously loving us.
You are love.
This is such a beautiful thought. Teach us to understand it and live in the light of it.
Continue to show us how to love.
To love others and to love you. Love.
That splendid word.
Thank you, Father.
Amen.


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In the Calm and in the Storms

See Psalm 66:12.

Lord, the storms may rage and the waves may beat against us just as it did in the disciples boat as they fished so long ago. But, you call us to faith. Even at times to step out onto the waters of life. The storms of life only last a while in the scheme of things but your grace, mercy and truth are eternal, from age to age. So in faith we ask you to be with us in the calm and in the storms. You are our hope, our salvation. Amen.


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Allegiance

See Luke 4:5-8.

Swearing allegiance is very much a part of some cultures. In the US it is sworn to the flag and in the UK in some uniform youth groups allegiance is sworn to the Queen. The actual word allegiance has a strong connection to the word Lord. Jesus encourages in scripture that we choose our Lord and the one we serve for "we cannot serve two masters." Jesus' kingdom is very much in contrast to the empires or systems of this world. Indeed, His kingdom "is not of this world."

Let's contrast the worst of earth's empires and systems with the beautiful kingdom of Christ Jesus:
The kingdom serves the king of kings. The empire serves Caesar like leaders who are deluded about themselves.
The kingdom though often persecuted unites and blesses people as a holy family. The empires deny the importance of family (e.g. many emperors of old murdered family members to consolidate power).
The weapons of the kingdom are not carnal and indeed if anything true followers of Jesus are a peaceful army of love and compassion. In contrast, the empires are so linked to the arms trade that it is hard to know where they end and the government begins. They are a dreadful war machine of horror.
Jesus came to save not to destroy. The empires do not care who they destroy as they expand. They justify all kinds of evil with phrases like "Collateral Damage", "Friendly Fire" (What's so friendly about it?).
The kingdom has a banner, and that banner is love. In the empires it is flags, emblems, swastikas.
The kingdom puts a new song in people's mouth. Songs of joy and praise. The empires only have anthems many of which are laced with hateful words to "enemies."
This kingdom of love shall never end. Whereas the empires pass away. They are but dust in the winds of time.
The kingdom is built on an economy of love and self-sacrifice. The disciples of old also notably had all things in common. The empires seem to use masses of tax to pay for wars and other cruelties.
The kingdom is compared to a perfect bride. It is already blessed. Empires on the other hand need established churches to "bless" sin.

In the parable of the weeds Jesus speaks of how the weeds will grow up alongside the good crops. The two kingdoms will grow side by side. Choose you this day who you will serve!

See Matthew 13:24-30.


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Armed with the Gospel

Armed with the Gospel... or more accurately The Gospel on my Arm?

Some years ago there was a phase where many who liked supporting causes wore armbands like these. I was no exception having been influenced by The Make Poverty History movement who sported a white band at that time.
I also had a multi-coloured collection I think from the hunger site (a website supporting various causes).
I think it was my younger brother who gave me the gospel band.

It has an easy diagram of the work Jesus has and is doing:
1. The arrow pointing down symbolises Jesus coming into this world as a little baby. The Son of God showing his love and humility.
2. The cross symbolises how he died for our sins on a cross.
3. The little hill is symbolic of the tomb and speaks of how Jesus was buried in the belly of the earth just as had been prophesied.
4. The upward pointing arrow speaks of how he defeated death and rose again three days after burial and equally speaks of how he ascended into heaven.
5. The second downward facing arrow speaks of how he is coming again with great power and glory.

Father thank you that we can come to you. Thank you for good causes we can support and the amazing work they do. We also thank you for Jesus and his beautiful gospel of peace. Teach us how to share it with others. Let thy kingdom come. All glory and honour to your name. Amen


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Also feel free to download Angelos the free e-book novel by the same author.

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