Showing posts with label advent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advent. Show all posts

Saturday

10 Songs for Advent & Christmas - Set 1


Last year Fred and I took on a challenge to go live on Facebook each night from 1st to 24th of December to sing Songs for Christmas. 






 

I thought I would gather the first 10 of those Songs for Advent & Christmas together here in one resource.


With the links to:

the blog's Facebook page   Sandra's Ark Facebook Page 

Fred's Facebook page Apostolic Worship Facebook Page 

Fred's YouTube channel Apostolic Worship on YouTube  
This link takes you straight to the Playlist of the 24 nights.

We wanted to encourage the listeners that even though we were going through a time of lockdown due to Covid19 we could still sing some Christmas Songs together or learn a few new ones.

We even did some that were more geared for children but then we are all kids at heart - at least Fred and I are.  

These Kids songs can be found on my 







So here are the first 10 songs we covered in the order of the days
 just click on the pics to go to the recordings of the individual songs




 1.  Away in a Manger

This is the Christmas Carol everyone knows and relaxes over because we are so comfortable about singing it (well the first verse at least).

It was written in the late 19th Century and originally it was known as the Luther's Cradle Song because it was believed to have been written by Martin Luther.  However in the 20th Century it was decided that it originated in the US and not in Germany.


However have you noticed that there are two tunes for this song?

The one we did for our Facebook lives is the one we grew up with in the UK and the quicker one is the one known better in the US.


This Christmas Song focuses on the association of Jesus and children because our Saviour came as a child He knows human life completely and all children can turn to Him.









2.  Once in Royal David's City

I have a great connection with the author of this carol.

Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander lived Londonderry in Northern Ireland, the city I was born in; but many many years before me.

She was the wife of the Bishop and loved to write hymns for adults and children to worship God.

There is a Green Hill Far Away  &  All things Bright and Beautiful are 2 of her most well-known Hymns but she also adapted St. Patricks Breastplate into a hymn.

Click on the Links above and you will get more info 
and free printables. 


This Christmas Song was written to focus on the fact that 
Jesus was born of the virgin Mary.









3.  Calypso Carol

This is a more modern Christmas Carol as it was written in 1964 by Rev. Michael Perry.

He wrote it while a student at Theological College and since that went on to write over 300 other hymns.

His work is widely represented at Jubilate Hymns

I learnt this one when I was a teenager and it has remained a favourite of mine throughout the years.



This Christmas Song draws our attention at the very start to the infant Jesus but continues to direct us to Jesus 
as the Prince of Glory.






 


4.  While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night

This is one of the most well-known Christmas Carols and features in many Carol Services each year.


It was written in 1700

and based on Luke 2 v 8

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."


This Christmas Song focuses us on the importance of the message brought by the Angels and stresses the gladness & joy.









5.  Light of the World / Here I am to Worship

Some people may have been surprised by the inclusion of this 21st Century song written by a young 19 year old Tim Hughes and may have never thought of it as pertaining to Christmas before.

But just look at the words of the verses and you will see Jesus the Light of the world leaving glory to come to earth in humble human form.

The chorus takes us to our humble worship of the King of Kings in all His glory and of course the bridge doesn't leave us at the Christmas stage  but also brings us to the sacrifice on the cross.



This Christmas Song focuses us the worship we cannot fail to give when we consider what Jesus did for us by coming as the light for us but in all humility in human form.








6.  Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Back to the 1744 and we have a hymn by one of the most prolific hymn writers Charles Wesley.

He originally wrote a prayer based on reading Haggai 2 v 7 and considered the state of the world at that time.

Later that year he made the prayer into a hymn "with the intent for people to remember Advent and Christmas as commemorating the Nativity of Jesus and preparing for the Second Coming"


This Christmas Song focuses on the longing of the Old Testament Jews wishing for the Messiah to come and on god giving that Messiah - Jesus His Son.
 








7.  Joy to the World

This song is so triumphant from the first line.
The reason being that although we call this a Christmas Carol it is really about Christ's Triumphal return so we need to class it as an Advent Hymn.

It was written by Isaac Watts who was an English Minister and writer.
The inspiration came from Psalm 98.
It was published in his own set of Hymns and Spiritual Songs in 1719.

It is so well-known that it was the most published Christmas Hymn in North America during the 20th Century.


This song is so triumphant from the first line.
The reason for this is that although we call it a Christmas Carol it is really about Christ's Triumphal return so we need to class it as an Advent Hymn.
 





 







8.  Oh Holy Night


Composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 this carol was originally a French Poem.

The Lyrics were written by Placide Cappeau in 1843 when he was asked to write a Christmas Poem to celebrate the renovation of his home town's church organ.  

In 1855 the French lyrics were translated into English by a minister called John Sullivan Dwight. 

The Carol features annually in the famous Carol from King's College, Cambridge.    


This Christmas Song focuses on the change 
the Lord Jesus would bring into the world 
both physically and spiritually.








9.  The First Nowell

This carol was first published in the form we know in 1823 and appears to have originated in Cornwall, UK.

The storyline of the carol is found in the Gospel of Luke where the angel announces the good news to the shepherds and the Gospel of Matthew where the star appears and leads the wise men.  However there is no mention of the star in the passage about the shepherds.


This Christmas Song focuses on the role of 
Jesus as the King over all 
from lowly shepherds 
to wealthy leaders.









10.  Unto Us A Child is Born

This is the shortest Christmas song we have included here.

It consists of one verse of 7 lines and is actually a good song to help with memorizing scripture as it is almost exactly the wording from 
Isaiah 9 v 6 where the prophecy is given of the birth of Jesus. 







This Christmas Song focuses on the role of Jesus as the 
Son of God born to be given for us
with
everything and everyone 
subject to Him 







There we have Set 1 of 
10 Songs for Advent & Christmas  


I hope you enjoy the videos and sing along with these great carols that herald the greatest birth of all time. 


All of the videos included in this post plus many others are available on You Tube

and you may also enjoy

 Apostolic Worship (Songs of Love)  










Sunday

The Gospel of Luke - Chapters 14 - 15



What do we read about in the fourteenth & fifteenth chapters of Luke's Gospel?
What do we learn from Luke?


What is the main focus?
Is it important to know the words from this chapter?







I am continuing to write my thoughts on the Gospel of Luke. 



If you missed The Overview or any of the chapters please click  HERE  for a list of them all.



Now let's look at the Fourteenth Chapter of Luke.



Today we are dividing this chapter into 4 sections



Healing in a Pharisee's House on the Sabbath v. 1-6:

Jesus was at a meal in the home of a Pharisee and we are told straight away in verse 1 that 

"they watched Him closely"

Jesus saw a man who was ill and asked what may seem to us like a simple question however with the rules the Pharisees had it was not so simple.

His question was in verse 3

“Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

                 The answer was in verse 4

SILENCE


His action was immediate in verse 4

He took him and healed him, and let him go.

He then spoke to them in verse 5

“Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”


                            The result was in verse 6




SILENCE



It is indeed a serious thing to make laws into something they are not meant to be.










God has always intended good through His Laws to the people He created, not legalistic attitudes.



Exaltation & Humility v. 7-14:

Jesus then used the place and situation He was in to teach a parable. 

Normally I think the main focus people take from this parable about guests at a wedding feast is the fact of Jesus talking to the guests coming and choosing good places to sit and then being asked to move because a more honoured guest has arrived.  They have esteemed themselves to great. 

It is better for us not to think so highly about ourselves and leave it to the host to recognise our worth.

Which leads us to the well known  verse 11







But then there is the other fact that is not mentioned so often in the next section  verses 12 - 14 where Jesus talks to the host of the meal about who he invites.

We as hosts are not to invite people who will honour us in return but we should be reaching out to help others who may need more help or friendship and not expect anything in return.

I leads to the idea of rewards and we must not look for a reward on earth as we are told in 
 verse 14


“And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”


We must not forget this second part and end up having ulterior motives for our actions.



The Parable of the Great supper  v. 15-24:

One of the guests in this Pharisee's house makes a statement in verse 15


“Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”

Which is when Jesus tells the parable of the Great Supper.

Briefly:
A man plans a great feast and invites many people but when the feast is ready they all have excuses for not attending.
When the man hears this he says in verse 21



‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’


Which is very similar to verse 13 from the previous talk of humility and exaltation.


But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 

So we see what we should be doing is what God would do.

God has a blessing for all His creation but not all the people will accept it.
And
He will not keep a place for us if we keep saying no because there are other things more important to us.



Leaving All to Follow Christ  v. 25-35:


It is not surprising that the previous parable leads into this next section of verses.
There Jesus had been talking to a limited number of people in a house but now here we see how He talks in a similar vein to crowds who follow Him.

Jesus knows that people follow Him about and will listen to His teachings

BUT

Do they really mean to follow Him faithfully and keep His teachings?

People have different reasons for being in a crowd of followers but here we see that each person must know how much they are willing to give up - when or if it is needed - to be a true follower of Christ.

Extreme examples are given but to take just one of them it is not meant that as Christians we leave our families who depend on us and do not offer comfort, companionship, love or help because in God's Word we know we are taught to love and care for others.

It is pointing out that in the end we cannot let other factors keep us from our true walk with God, or draw us away from the faith.   We must instead not jump into something we do not firmly believe because we will not finish the race like Paul talks about in  2 Timothy 4 v 7-8







Not to be mistaken for the thought of

"I won't be able to keep this salvation"

But more like the lesson we are taught in the parable of the sower - with all the distractions and hindrances and attacks of the devil.






Because we do not have to keep our Salvation - Jesus is the One who does all the keeping and He is well able to do that.








Now let's look at the Fifteenth Chapter of Luke.



Today we are dividing this chapter into 3 sections.



The Parable of the Lost Sheep  v. 1-7:


Can you imagine Jesus saying these words from verse 6 ?

‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’





Well we should be able to imagine this because this is how He felt when He brought us into His Kingdom.



The Parable of the Lost Coin  v. 8-10:


Can you imagine Jesus saying these words from verse 9 ?

‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’






Well we should be able to imagine this because this is how He felt when He brought us into His Kingdom.


Yes these two portions of Scripture are parables Jesus told but they were told to express the love and joy He and all of Heaven feel for each person that accepts His gift of Salvation.




The Parable of the Lost Son  v. 11-32:


The son left the father and went his own way, just as we (all people have sinned against God and gone our own way)


Brings to my thoughts  Romans 3 v 23









The father never forgot about his son and waited looking out for him all the time (God wants everyone to be saved)


Brings to my thoughts  John 3 v 16







When the son returns home the father has a special meal for him, clothes for him, shoes and a ring, gifts to show him how important he was to his father and how he was part of the family.


Brings to my thoughts  Romans 6 v 23







Because to the father the son was dead until he came home  verse 24



for this my son was dead and is alive again; 
he was lost and is found








You can find more posts on the chapters of Luke  HERE  






Wednesday

The Gospel of Luke - Chapters 12-13



Disclaimer:
There is an affiliate link in this blog post.


What do we read about in the twelfth & thirteenth chapters of Luke's Gospel?
What do we learn from Luke?


What is the main focus?
Is it important to know the words from this chapter?







I am doing this in response to an Advent Reading challenge where we read 1 chapter of the Gospel of Luke per day from 1st to 24th December which will allow the whole book to be read.



If you missed The Overview or any of the chapters please click  HERE  for a list of them all.



Now let's look at the Twelfth Chapter of Luke.



Today we are dividing this chapter into 5 sections



Jesus teaches about Fear v. 1-12:


A multitude had gathered and Jesus began to teach His disciples about the Pharisees and how they cannot be trusted

So many times we hear the Pharisees criticising or accusing Jesus and now we hear Him warning the disciples about them.

They are hypocrites and probably very good at twisting what people would say but God knows the truth.  They or none of us should think that what we say or think will escape God.



Who are we to fear and who are we not to fear?

We are not to fear those who can kill us physically.   verse 5

We are to fear God who has the power of life and death but also the decision of eternal hell or salvation.    verse 6

We are not to fear men, we are not to keep quiet about God before others.    verse 8

We are to fear God.     verse 9







What are we reassured about?

God knows everything about us in all the details and we are important to Him.     verses 6-7

The Holy Spirit will help us in everything and at all times.    verses 11-12



Who are we to fear and who are we not to fear?






The Parable of the Rich Fool  v. 13-21:


Jesus tells this parable because of the question from someone who was thinking more about his inheritance than anything else so much so that he wanted to enlist the help of Jesus to get his way in things.

Jesus says that our life does not exist in the amount of our possessions.


 Possessions do not aid our relationship with God.


Our life is not prolonged by what we own nor does anything we have ensure our state before God and hence give us eternal life.  


Possessions do not aid our relationship with God.




Jesus teaches about Worry  v. 22-34:


Basically in verses 22-23 Jesus says  DO NOT WORRY

22 Then He said to His disciples,  
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. 
23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.

He gives examples in verses 24 and 27 of the ravens who are fed by God and the lilies who God has made beautiful.


Then tells us that worrying will do nothing for us in verse 25  and what we need is faith in verse 28


Most of us will be familiar with the words  -  "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you".   But do we stop to think about them, really think, because if so then we will recognise that it is important that we know just WHAT it is that will be added to us and WHY.


PLUS do we know what is meant by the phrase The Kingdom of God?

Well to know what the Kingdom of God is, is to know God and what His will is for us.


We need to look at verses 29 - 31 
29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.  
30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.  
31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
Here we are told not to be anxious about the WHAT


The WHAT that will be added is found in verses 29 - 30  are all the things that the whole world needs and
The WHY  -  because God knows we need them.


WHO will look after us so that we do not need to WORRY or to be ANXIOUS?






GOD WILL LOOK AFTER US

WHAT do we need to do?

FOLLOW GOD'S WILL, OBEY HIM

 and

 DO NOT WORRY or be ANXIOUS


HOW do we do this?


WE LEAVE THINGS IN GOD'S HANDS


I love the next verse

verse 32
Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.


God wants to look after us and now He wants to share everything with us!

It gives Him pleasure!

Truly we are important to him!


and just look at verse 34
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

He directs us in verse 33  to focus on the right things so that we have the important things to God, as the important things to us, and then our heart and mind will be in the right place and condition.







The Faithful Servant & The Evil Servant  v. 35-48:


When we have read God's Word and know what it says and understand the truth within then we have a responsibility to do what is right.

So when we know what God says in His Word then

Doing what God instructs us to do is being faithful,

  NOT doing what God instructs is being disobedient




Division & Peace  v. 49-59:

We are all willing to believe that Jesus brings peace - at Christmas we think of Jesus as the Prince of Peace but that is not for now.

Not everyone will trust in Jesus now so the whole world cannot be in unity and that also will be evident in our countries, cities, & families.

God's Word has given us signs for way the world will be, the way people will act and yet we will have to be careful to be aware of this and not be easily swayed with the culture and pressure of others.

But Jesus told the disciples here that it is better to make peace with people than to fight with them.
A hard thing to do in these times when even some people professing to be Christians are so dogmatic and insist that everyone thinks and acts like they do.   Wisdom is so much needed and should be our prayer each day.







Now let's look at the Thirteenth Chapter of Luke.



Today we are dividing this chapter into 6 sections.



Repent or Perish  v. 1-4

Here Jesus tells the people that if they do not repent they will perish.

So for those nowadays who like to say that surely God will not punish the people He has created this is a short passage which will show them otherwise.  -  Yes God hates sin.




The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree  v. 5 - 9

A Fig Tree has not borne any fruit for 3 years, it seems worthless but the keeper of the vineyard pleads for it to have another year with good care and attention.

Do we bare fruit without care and attention to God's Word - NO!

Do we bare fruit without having been helped, guided and fed by others - NO!

Do other new Christians bare fruit without our help, guidance and teaching - NO!





A spirit of Infirmity  v. 10 - 17

For 18 years a woman had been physically bent over and could not stand up straight.

She was in the synagogue on the Sabbath when Jesus spoke to her and told her to come to Him and He laid His hands on her and healed her in verses 12 - 13

12 But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”  
13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

She did not ask for healing BUT that didn't stop Jesus.
She was in the synagogue and the religious leaders would not be happy about this BUT that didn't stop Jesus.

She would have been seen and heard BUT that did not stop her from glorifying God.
She had not met Jesus before BUT that didn't stop her from recognising whose power Jesus had.


In verse 14  the ruler of the synagogue thought he was "calling out" Jesus for healing on the Sabbath

But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”


However in verse 15 - 17  it was Jesus who was "calling out" the ruler.

15 The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it?  
16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”  
17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.

Look at the result of this healing in verse 17 above.
More glory was given to God


We do need to remember that Jesus' words and actions were always the means of pointing to the father and bringing glory to Him.




The Parables of the Mustard Seed & the Leaven  v. 18 - 21

Both of these are told to illustrate the Kingdom of God.

It will grow and become strong like the mustard seed - one of the smallest seeds there are will grow into a strong tree and be a home for the birds.

It will have a strengthening and growing effect on those who accept it.








The Narrow Way  v. 22 - 33

Jesus was travelling through towns and cities on His way to Jerusalem


He was asked what would seem like a simple question in verse 23

Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”


Jesus answered in verses 24 - 27

24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  
25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’  
26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’  
27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’

We will need to enter by the narrow gate but there will be a certain time frame and then it will be too late.  We will not be known if we have not turned our backs on sin.


He then continues in verses 28 - 30  to describe how those who have not been able to enter through the narrow gate will know who is already in God's presence and the grief will be great.




Jesus knew His way and His future and was going to be obedient to God's plan.




Jesus Laments over Jerusalem  v. 31 - 35

Some Pharisees tell Jesus that Herod wishes to kill Him.

Jesus refers to Herod as a fox and explains that He will journey on to Jerusalem because He will not die outside of Jerusalem.


Jesus knew His way and His future and was going to be obedient to God's plan.



Then we see the sadness in the heart of Jesus in verses 34 - 35

34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!  
35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ 



If you would like to read more of the posts in this series please click  HERE  for a list of them all.





For anyone looking for a book to give a thorough explanation of The Book of Luke  then I would recommend the following two commentaries by Warren Wiersbe which cover ch. 1-13 and ch. 14-24  available here below on Amazon and also at other leading bookshops.


 



For anyone looking for to do a Bible Study of The Book of Luke  I would recommend the following two studies by Warren Wiersbe which cover ch. 1-13 and ch. 14-24  available here below on Amazon and also at other leading bookshops.


 



Disclaimer: If buying here through Amazon I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.