CANDLE OF HOPE

Romans 15:13

Image result for House decorated for Christmas

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Today is the first Sunday in advent ‘The Candle of Hope’

Isn’t it strange how at the lead up to Christmas you start to see adverts for donations to several charities whilst at the other end of the spectrum you see a house decorated like the one above.

Though having said that there used to be a person who lived in a nearby village to me decorated his house at Christmas to raise money for a ward in the local hospital.

Discipline

Proverbs 29 New International Version – UK

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

29 Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
    will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy.

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
    when the wicked rule, the people groan.

A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
    but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.

By justice a king gives a country stability,
    but those who are greedy for[a] bribes tear it down.

Those who flatter their neighbours
    are spreading nets for their feet.

Evildoers are snared by their own sin,
    but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
    but the wicked have no such concern.

Mockers stir up a city,
    but the wise turn away anger.

If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
    the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.

10 The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity
    and seek to kill the upright.

11 Fools give full vent to their rage,
    but the wise bring calm in the end.

12 If a ruler listens to lies,
    all his officials become wicked.

13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
    the Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.

14 If a king judges the poor with fairness,
    his throne will be established for ever.

15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,
    but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.

16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
    but the righteous will see their downfall.

17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
    they will bring you the delights you desire.

18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
    but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words;
    though they understand, they will not respond.

20 Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

21 A servant pampered from youth
    will turn out to be insolent.

22 An angry person stirs up conflict,
    and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.

23 Pride brings a person low,
    but the lowly in spirit gain honour.

24 The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies;
    they are put under oath and dare not testify.

25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

26 Many seek an audience with a ruler,
    but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.

27 The righteous detest the dishonest;
    the wicked detest the upright.

Filling the Heart and Mind

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

Christ so fills my heart and mind
It’s where I want to be
To leave the hardened world behind
For Christ, His face to see!

So capture all my heart and soul
With love that fills my eyes
For when the Living Word I hold
My faith in full does rise!

And help me when I drift away
Through waves of toil and care
To hold the anchor in the sway
My hope in storm to bear!

Never let my heart grow cold
Nor hardness subtlety creep
But make my faith become more bold
My heart and mind, please keep!

Christ abounds in love and grace,
My shortfall it is lost!
He overcomes my sin, no trace!
Into deep sea, it’s tossed!

By Lisa Lawlor

Lisa is a member of my Facebook group “Christian music, devotions & poems. She has very kindly allowed me to put music to her lyric’s where or when I can. The song I found for the above lyric’s is called “O Disclose thy lovely face”.

Peace and Hope

Romans 5 New International Version

Peace and Hope

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

1 Hope for the world’s despair:
we feel the nations’ pain;
can anything repair
this broken earth again?
For this we pray:
in every place
a spark of grace
to light the way.

2 Wisdom for all who bear
the future in their hand,
entrusted with the care
of this and every land.
When comes the hour,
O Lord, we pray,
inspire the way
we spend our power.

3 Honour for all who’ve paid
war’s painful, bitter price,
when duty called they made
the greatest sacrifice.
Their memory
will never cease
to cry for peace
and harmony.

4 Ease for the troubled mind
in endless conflict caught,
each soul that cannot find
the peace beyond all thought.
May they be blessed
with healing balm
for inner calm
and perfect rest.

5 Love for the human heart:
when hate grows from our fears
and inwardly we start
to turn our ploughs to spears.
Help us to sow  
love’s precious seed
in word and deed,
that peace may grow.

Take time

1 Peter 1; 13 – 16

Be Holy
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Take time to be holy

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in him always, and feed on his word;
Make friends of God’s children; help those who are weak;
Forgetting in nothing his blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone;
By looking to Jesus, like him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct his likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let him be thy guide,
And run not before him whatever betide;
In joy or in sorrow still follow thy Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in his word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul;
Each thought and each motive beneath his control;
Thus led by his Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

We all have to ‘Take time to be Holy’ and spend time with our Lord preferably when we get a quiet moment (which can rare for most of us these days).

We all have our own time and way of doing our devotions and personally I have found that when doing my blog is my time of devotion.

God doesn’t Forget

Image result for God doesn't forget the needy and the afflicted

Psalm 9 New International Version 

11 Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
    proclaim among the nations what he has done.
12 For he who avenges blood remembers;
    he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

13 Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!
    Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,
14 that I may declare your praises
    in the gates of Daughter Zion,
    and there rejoice in your salvation.

15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
    their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
16 The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
    the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.[c]
17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
    all the nations that forget God.
18 But God will never forget the needy;
    the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

19 Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
    let the nations be judged in your presence.
20 Strike them with terror, Lord;
    let the nations know they are only mortal.

Joy knowing the Lord

Romans 5:1-8

1 We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through our faith, Christ has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. 3 And we also have joy with our troubles because we know that these troubles produce patience. 4 And patience produces character, and character produces hope. 5 And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. God gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given See the source imageto us. 6 Christ died for us while we were still weak. We were living against God, but at the right time, Christ died for us. 7 Very few people will die to save the life of someone else. Although perhaps for a good man someone might possibly die. 8 But Christ died for us while we were still sinners. In this way God shows his great love for us.

I first heard and sang ‘Joy because of you’ about 36 – 37 years ago at The Salvation Army Divisional music camp , unfortunately I am unable to provide the words to the song but I hope you can make them out as you listen. As the song and bible passage suggests they are not just a passage and song of joy but also of testimony and praise.

Unconditional Love

Image result for 1 corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

1.
Though in declaring Christ to the sinner,
I may all men surpass,
If love impassioned seal not the message,
I am naught but sounding brass.

Chorus
Love suffereth patiently;
Love worketh silently;
Love seeketh not her own.
Love never faileth;
Love still prevaileth;
Lord, in me thy love enthrone!

2.
Though I have wisdom lighting all mysteries;
Though I may all things know;
Though great my faith be, removing mountains,
Without love ’tis empty show.

3.
Though I distribute all my possessions;
Though as a martyr die;
My sacrifices profit me nothing.
Unless love doth sanctify.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The true meaning of Love

Image result for romans 5 8

Romans 5 New International Version (NIV)

Peace and Hope

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

When we lose our way

Image result for Psalm 37 v 24

Psalm 37 New International Version

Verses 20 – 40

20 But the wicked will perish:
    Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
    they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
    but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
    but those he curses will be destroyed.

23 The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old,
    yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
    their children will be a blessing.[b]

27 Turn from evil and do good;
    then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
    and will not forsake his faithful ones.

Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed[c];
    the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
    and dwell in it forever.

30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
    and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
    their feet do not slip.

32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
    intent on putting them to death;
33 but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked
    or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

34 Hope in the Lord
    and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
    when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.

35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
    flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
    though I looked for him, he could not be found.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
    a future awaits those who seek peace.[d]
38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
    there will be no future[e] for the wicked.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
    he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.