Wednesday 24th April 2020

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Jesus, what a beautiful name.

Truth revealed, my future sealed - Healed my pain

Love and freedom, life and warmth - Grace that blows all fear away.

Jesus, what a beautiful name

Tanya Riches © 1995 Hillsong

Listen to it on YouTube and perhaps also listen to a more recent Hillsong ‘What a beautiful name it is’

Read: Philippians 2: 5-11

Hearing people use the name of Jesus as an expletive really upsets me, perhaps more than hearing other words which they themselves might think would be more offensive. It is not that the name JESUS has any magical powers; the main reason isn’t even that Jesus as ‘God with us’ should be honoured and respected (hallowed), but it offends me because it is the name of someone who has shown me unconditional love and through that love transformed my life. It is because I have a relationship with Jesus. Pause and tell Jesus what a difference he has made in your life.

If you heard about someone who was a people-trafficker becoming a Christian - would be cynical about them ‘finding God?’ Could someone who treated human-life as a cheap commodity, and whose only consideration was how others might be used to benefit his own existence, have their life transformed through faith in Jesus the Christ?  

One such transformation which has stood the test of time involves a person named John Newton. His life was transformed when he encountered the saving grace of Jesus as a captained a ship transporting slaves across the Atlantic Ocean. That transformation resulted in John becoming the minister of a church in Olney in Northamptonshire. (Google his life story / perhaps your TV provider has the 2006 film ‘Amazing Grace’ which gives you a broader picture of the huge impact John’s transformation had on life in the UK). Each week at Olney John wrote a new hymn for their mid-week bible study, many of those hymns didn’t stand the test of time, but a few did and for many people ‘Amazing Grace’ is one of their most loved hymns (YouTube: Amazing Grace my chains are gone).  For me it is another of John Newton’s hymns which is in my ‘Top 10’:

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear!

It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds, and drives away our fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole, and calms the troubled breast;

it’s manna to the hungry soul; and to the weary rest. John Newton (1725-1807)

The way in which Jesus has transformed our own lives might not seem as dramatic as the transformations which took place in John Newton’s life – or the transformation which occurred when Zacchaeus encountered Jesus or when Saul of Tarsus had his Damascus road experience – a transformation so complete that he wanted to be known by a new name – Paul. Whatever our lifestyle was before we encountered Jesus, we each of us owed God the same debt, because each of us had fallen short of God’s standard and so each of us needed a Saviour. The transformed Paul of Tarsus writes (Romans 6: 23) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Pause and give thanks to God for the people and circumstances which caused you to recognise your need for Jesus to be your Saviour.

I guess that many of us are looking at new ways of filling our time. May I make two suggestions: send me acrostics on the word JESUS and secondly try memorising some scripture. Maybe start with that verses from Romans which I have just quoted or perhaps the very short phrase which Rod quoted last Friday - Galatians 5: 25 and then move on to the 3 verses which precede it (Gal.5: 22-24) or be adventurous and take on a bigger challenge of memorising the passage I mentioned last Sunday: Philippians 4: 6-7

A song we often sing mentions ‘the wonders of Jesus’ mighty love.’ Let these lyrics to lead you into a time praising Jesus for who he is and what he has done for you:

My Jesus, my Saviour, Lord there is none like you.

All of my days I want to praise the wonders of your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength

let every breath, all that I am never cease to worship you.

Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing power and majesty, praise to the King.

Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of your name.        

I sing for joy at the work of your hands. Forever I'll love you, forever I'll stand.

Nothing compares to the promise I have in you.

Darlene Zschech © 1993 Hillsong    

Listen on YouTube: ‘Living Hope lyrics’

I have received a newsletter from Judy Cook giving us the latest news from Hope Home in Chiang Mai, Thailand. If you contact me I can email it to you.

I am trusting that God will supply us with a guest writer for Friday, and I will write again on Sunday – Stephen

Page last updated: 25th April 2020 12:06 PM