Humble Beginnings // O Come Let Us Adore

Charles Spurgeon wrote this about the wonderful event that we are preparing to celebrate.

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” 

Isaiah 7.14

Let us to-day go down to Bethlehem, and in company with wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see Him who was born King of the Jews, for we by faith can claim an interest in Him, and can sing, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and yet our brother and friend; let us adore and admire. Let us notice at the very first glance His miraculous conception. It was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son. The first promise ran thus, “The seed of the woman,” not the offspring of the man. Since venturous woman led the way in the sin which brought forth Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of Paradise. Our Saviour, although truly man, was as to His human nature the Holy One of God. Let us reverently bow before the holy Child whose innocence restores to manhood its ancient glory; and let us pray that He may be formed in us, the hope of glory. Fail not to note His humble parentage. His mother has been described simply as “a virgin,” not a princess, or prophetess, nor a matron of large estate. True the blood of kings ran in her veins; nor was her mind a weak and untaught one, for she could sing most sweetly a song of praise; but yet how humble her position, how poor the man to whom she stood affianced, and how miserable the accommodation afforded to the new-born King!

Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour.

It doesn’t matter where we are from, it doesn’t matter our earthly circumstances, Immanuel will meet us there as He did with Mary, and will work in us the same magnitude of wondrous deeds should you let Him. 

Today then, as Spurgeon wrote, let us go down to Bethlehem in our minds and let us spend time simply seeing and revering the child born to take away our sins, and not only ours but the sins of the entire world.

Let us notice His humble beginnings, and let us notice that from this unassuming starting point the wondrous power of God shone forth from His life.

Surrounded (Fight My Battles)

Some worship songs are so theologically rich and full of weighty substance that they simply must be sung in corporate worship when the church gathers together. Others are wonderful examples of Ephesians 5.19-21 wherein we read that we are to encourage one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.

Surrounded is a great example of an encouraging song that we can take into the day on repeat in our head to make melody to the Lord.

There are basically two lyrics sung over,

This is how I fight my battles

It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You

The song represents the victory that we have over our battles before we know the earthly outcome by trusting that God is going before us and He wins (NRT). This is how we fight our battles.

We can face our daily battles with more courage and strength because we know that the outcome is guaranteed to be based on His promise in Romans 8.28:

God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”.

Michael W. Smith, who recorded this version, said this about the song,

When I hear the song I go back to the 2nd Kings Scripture and how Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened. It’s so incredible that the song has only a few lines and it catches fire and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to record it. It lights up the room when you sing it. He’s got your back. He said He’ll never leave you or forsake you. He’ll never leave you. God’s at work and we don’t understand it all. Even in the valley, He’s working for our good.

This is an attitude we must take forward into today and everyday; the blessed assurance that God will never leave or forsake us, that He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him, and that because He is outside of time, He is already there in our future having made a way, won the victory, and having fought our battle.

If you are walking through a season of difficulty and trial, please, listen to this and take comfort from knowing the Lord is walking ahead of you, fighting your battles, and that He loves you.

I Have Decided

Full disclosure – this is a sad story…

Last week I was invited to teach at a conference for pastors and Bible college students in South Asia.

Right before my session, the worship leader stood up and told this story…

About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales. As a result of this, many missionaries came to north-east India to spread the Gospel. The region known as Assam was comprised of hundreds of tribes who were primitive and aggressive head-hunters

Into these hostile and aggressive communities, came a group of missionaries from the American Baptist Missions spreading the message of love, peace and hope in Jesus Christ. Naturally, they were not welcomed. One missionary succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children. This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity. 

Angry, the village chief summoned all the villagers. He then called the family who had first converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man instantly composed a song which became famous down the years. He sang:

“I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

No turning back, no turning back.”

Enraged at the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife too.”

But the man sang these words in reply:

“Though no one joins me, still I will follow.

Though no one joins me, still I will follow.

Though no one joins me, still I will follow.

No turning back, no turning back.”

The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered his wife to be arrowed down. In a moment she joined her two children in death. Now he asked for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”In the face of death the man sang the final memorable lines:

“The cross before me, the world behind me.

The cross before me, the world behind me.

The cross before me, the world behind me.

No turning back, no turning back.”

He was shot dead like the rest of his family. But with their deaths, a miracle took place. The chief who had ordered the killings was moved by the faith of the man. He wondered, “Why should this man, his wife and two children die for a Man who lived in a far-away land on another continent some 2,000 years ago? There must be some remarkable power behind the family’s faith, and I too want to taste that faith.”

In a spontaneous confession of faith, he declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

The song is based on the last words of Nokseng, a man from Garo tribe of Assam (now Meghalaya and some in Assam), India. It is today the song of the Garo people.

Source: Dr. P.P. Job in ‘Why God Why’


There was a stunned silence in the room.

Everybody knew this song, but very few people know the story to it.

The worship team then led us all in this song, and it was hauntingly beautiful. For us to be in the region where this took place, and having all made that same confession, was so powerful. There was barely a dry eye in the house.

Today there is no need for a challenging personal question, or a point to ponder, or a prayer of confession. Just read that story again, and listen to this song…

Life Defined

All I am
my life defined
By I’ve been crucified with Christ
The life I live
I live by faith
In Jesus Christ who lives in me

Identify seems to be something of a hot topic nowadays, doesn’t it? Everyone seems to be choosing who they are and what they want to be, who they want to be, defining themselves.

I heard someone say recently that at the core of this is a rejection of authority. People don’t want to be told that you are made in God’s image, because they reject the authority and actuality of God. 

People don’t want to be told that your life has worth and dignity and value because of the price paid for you at Calvary, because they reject the idea that they need salvation.

But what about those of us who accept the authority of God, how are we defined?

Our Christian worldview will only make fullest sense when it affects and influences all we are, and our lives are defined by the fact that God is real, He made us, He sent His Son to die for us, and through faith in this we are defined.

The Bible uses many terms to define you, such as;

Adopted son/daughter – Galatians 3.26, John 1.12

Heir – Galatians 3.23-29

Believer – 1 Timothy 4.12

Saints – Colossians 1.2

The church – 1 Thessalonians 1.1

The life we now seek to live in one of faith (2 Corinthians 5.7); faith in God, faith in Jesus, faith in the fact He now lives in us through the person of the Holy Spirit, and faith that any definition of ourselves that we can come up with will never be as good as who He says we are. 



Life Defined starts at 12:00 minutes.


Glory to Glory

Sometimes the progress in our Christian life, or our life in general, is not as quick as we would like it to be, is it. You know, maybe you start a new diet or fitness plan and after two days you look in the mirror and wonder why you don’t look like an Olympian. 

In our faith life, we are the same, aren’t we. We make a commitment, step out in faith, see that the claims of Christianity are true, but then it dawns on us that we are still the same person. There has been no miraculous instant whole-life change and that seems, to us, like it’s not happening.

Maybe you react in the same way to something you did before you believed.

Maybe you still feel the pull towards doing something or going somewhere you know you shouldn’t.

Maybe old habits still linger.

But you think ‘This isn’t how it’s supposed to be now, I’m a Christian, I should be living like Jesus, or like wonderful Christian example Mr./Mrs. ___ ‘.

At this point we can become discouraged, downhearted, and maybe even deterred from walking this way. When this happens, we need to remind ourselves of the wonderful truths of the Word of God.

If God has started a work in you, it will unequivocally, absolutely, 100% be finished (Philippians 1.6). Being transformed from glory to glory comes from beholding the Lord, spending time with the Lord, meditating on the Word of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3.18). 

All I know is this
There’s nothing that You miss
If it’s not beautiful yet
It’s gonna be

When I can’t see beyond
A thousand things gone wrong
If it’s not finished yet
It’s gonna be

I believe all that You start You complete
From glory to glory

So, if things don’t feel like they’re moving on as quickly as you’d like, if you seem to have arrived at a place from where you see no progress, if you feel down and out, take a moment and behold the glory of the Lord, and rest easy in the fact that He always finishes what He starts, and He who began a good work in you will bring it completion, He is transforming you from glory to glory.