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Day 13 - Issue 28

1/15/2019
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Psalm 15:3 NLT 'Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbours or speak evil of their friends.' The tongue is the most challenging piece of our anatomy to control (James 3:2-12). Small it may be, yet its influence is profound. This is true when speaking to ourselves as much as when we speak to others. For how I address myself influences my mood and my self-esteem. When growing up I carried responsibility for the washing-up. Sometimes I dropped items that shattered on our tiled...

Duration:00:04:42

Day 12 - Issue 28

1/14/2019
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Psalm 15:2 NLT 'Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.' The word “blame” comes from the Latin meaning to blaspheme. I would certainly not want to blaspheme, or speak in opposition to God. Yet, here I discover that the way I live my life matters and blasphemy is reflected in my actions, not simply my words. The psalmist captures the fact that blameless lives are about the way we live, the actions we take and the words we use to...

Duration:00:04:37

Day 11 - Issue 28

1/13/2019
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Psalm 15:1 NLT 'Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?' Many years ago I made the mistake of compartmentalising my life. In the congregational gathering I was worshipping. In my quiet time I was praying. The rest of the time I was working and playing. It took quite some work to turn my knowledge that God was present in all of life into an experiential reality. Here the psalmist reminds us that to be present with God is the primary goal for...

Duration:00:04:35

Day 65 - Issue 27

12/27/2018
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Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT …The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. As we move to the end of...

Duration:00:05:03

Day 64 - Issue 27

12/26/2018
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Philippians 3:13-14 NLT 'No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.' For many years I was easily distracted with reflections from my past. These thoughts could range from tearful disappointment to a rising tide of resentment. It was as though my past held power over...

Duration:00:04:39

Day 63 - Issue 27

12/25/2018
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1 Kings 19:3-4 NLT Elijah was afraid and fled for his life...He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” One thing is clear, yesterday lies behind each one of us and can be described. Tomorrow lies before us and we have no clear view of what might happen. I remember the heady days when I was successful both in ministry and in securing position in...

Duration:00:05:00

Day 62 - Issue 27

12/24/2018
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Psalm 126:2-3 NLT 'We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!' Christmas is a wonderful day of rejoicing. Whether alone, with friends or family, it is an opportunity to pause and give thanks to God for the wonderful gift of his Son, Jesus. In many ways today is the ending of the exile of God’s people. It is the clear sign that God’s covenant will be...

Duration:00:04:41

Day 61 - Issue 27

12/23/2018
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Psalm 145:2-3 NLT 'I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.' Jayne is queen of the one-liners; she regularly sings out the first line of a song for which she knows no further lyrics. These one-liners provide commentary on something that is happening in her experience. They offer brief lyrical moments at work and at home. There is a lyrical side to life, and there is, therefore, always a...

Duration:00:05:32

Day 60 - Issue 27

12/20/2018
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Isaiah 65:17-18 NLT 'Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy.' There is one more important celebration before we enter Christmas week. It is making our own Christingle. This great tradition was started within the Moravian Church in 1747. The minister, John de Watteville, gave children a lighted...

Duration:00:05:09

Day 59 - Issue 27

12/19/2018
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Luke 2:15 NLT When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.” Every Advent I relive the journey to Bethlehem: sometimes walking in the footsteps of the holy family; sometimes in the company of the Magi and here with the rural shepherds. A group generally distrusted as...

Duration:00:04:32

Day 58 - Issue 27

12/18/2018
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Luke 2:4-5 NLT 'And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.' Journeys are made for a variety of reasons. When young and developing in ministry, I travelled all over the word. The initial excitement and romanticism soon faded as I discovered the waiting process of passing through airport...

Duration:00:04:42

Day 57 - Issue 27

12/17/2018
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Isaiah 9:6-7 NLT 'For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end.' Growing up on the edge of London, my dad usually took us to meet Santa in Selfridges, to see the lights of Regent and Oxford Street and to gather beneath the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, a gift of appreciation from the Norwegian people...

Duration:00:04:54

Day 56 - Issue 27

12/16/2018
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Genesis 3:8 NLT 'When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees.' As a child I remember my dad tuning into the Advent service of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge. He loved this and it became a tradition for all our family. Over the next five days I will use the traditional Nine Lessons and Carols service to encourage us on our walk to Christmas. The story...

Duration:00:05:08

Day 55 - Issue 27

12/13/2018
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Philippians 4:4-6 NLT 'Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.' The third Sunday in Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday, meaning ‘rejoice’. And this gives the source for this week’s celebration. Advent is a penitential season within the Church’s calendar. It’s a...

Duration:00:05:12

Day 54 - Issue 27

12/12/2018
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Luke 1:54-55 NLT 'He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.' I am a very present person. I often delete the past quickly from my mind. As one friend said, “Micha, you really don’t do nostalgia, do you!” I am quite sentimental, and tear up easily enough, but I don’t have a great attachment to my past. I am not that future-focused either. I really grasp Jesus’ words that today has enough...

Duration:00:05:39

Day 53 - Issue 27

12/11/2018
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Luke 1:49 NLT 'For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.' The moment I open my eyes in the morning, it is difficult not to dwell on the challenges that lie ahead of me. The piece of training I don’t want to do! That awkward phone call I’ve been putting off. The pile of papers I simply must deal with but which I find so boring. This is because our brain is wired to negativity. This is a consequence of our human instinct for survival. We are naturally risk-averse,...

Duration:00:05:26

Day 52 - Issue 27

12/10/2018
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Luke 1:48 NLT 'For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed.' It’s easy to feel invisible in everyday life. We disappear among thousands of people living a life like ours. We share similar patterns of work, commuting, leisure, shopping, and return home. We are one among a throng whose names we shall never know. Mary lived long before mass media. A teenager with a life just beginning, on the verge of getting married and assuming life...

Duration:00:05:42

Day 51 - Issue 27

12/9/2018
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Luke 1:46-47 NLT 'Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!' The phrase “bursting with excitement” comes to mind as I read these words of Mary’s song. Following the promise of the angel Gabriel, she has travelled to visit her cousin Elizabeth, also with child, and their immediate encounter was one of those Holy Spirit moments that resonate throughout all of history. Consequently, Mary bursts into song, professing her joy in both God and the fact that she is...

Duration:00:05:30

Day 50 - Issue 27

12/6/2018
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Deuteronomy 8:2-3 NLT 'Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands...He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.' One discipline that is good to practise is that of fasting. I am speaking of food here, but there are other fasts that you might like to...

Duration:00:04:57

Day 49 - Issue 27

12/5/2018
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2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” Not a week since our version of Thanksgiving and we arrive at our next big celebration, St Nicholas’ Day. A third-century bishop in modern-day Turkey, Nicholas was both a miracle-worker and giver of secret gifts (Matthew 6:3). He was a defender of the Faith in a time of persecution, secretly delivered bags of money...

Duration:00:04:35