6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,5 for each one should carry their own load.6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Psalm 46 says desist striving and know that God is in control. Lord God we pray that you’d take us back to the joy of our salvation That joy that gives us strength.
Don’t grow weary in doing well,
Don’t surrender in the fight;
Keep on storming the gates of hell,
Keep on doing what you know is right.
For there will be seasons of testing
And there maybe weeping for a night,
But soon we’ll be reaping the blessing
If we keep pressing on towards the prize.
Keep on praying in the Spirit,
Keep on walking in the light;
Don’t be fearful or discouraged,
Keep on doing what you know is right.”
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.
When reading this verse of scripture and title I am reminded of the hymn I learnt as a child.
Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here;
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.
First let me hear how the children stood round His knee,
And I shall fancy His blessing resting on me;
Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace,
All in the love light of Jesus’ face.
Tell me, in accents of wonder, how rolled the sea,
Tossing the boat in a tempest on Galilee;
And how the Maker, ready and kind,
Chided the billows, and hushed the wind.
Into the city I’d follow the children’s band,
Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand;
One of His heralds, yes, I would sing
Loudest hosannas, “Jesus is King!”
Show me that scene in the garden, of bitter pain;
Show me the cross where my Savior for me was slain;
Sad ones or bright ones, so that they be
Stories of Jesus—tell them to me.
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
How I praise Thee, precious Savior, That Thy love laid hold of me; Thou hast saved and cleansed and filled me That I might Thy channel be.
Refrain: Channels only, blessed Master, But with all Thy wondrous pow’r Flowing through us, Thou canst use us Every day and every hour.
Just a channel full of blessing, To the thirsty hearts around, To tell out Thy full salvation, All Thy loving message sound.
Emptied that Thou shouldest fill me, A clean vessel in Thy hand; With no pow’r but as Thou givest Graciously with each command.
Witnessing Thy pow’r to save me, Setting free from self and sin; Thou who bought me to possess me, In Thy fullness, Lord, come in.
Jesus, fill now with Thy Spirit Hearts that full surrender know, That the streams of living water From our inner man may flow.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
The Story Behind Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
According to Hymnary.org, Love Divine is considered “among Wesley’s finest”. The hymn first appeared in Wesley’s Hymns for those that Seek, and those that Have Redemption published in 1747.
Wesley is considered to have been influenced by a distinctly pagan popular song of the day, ‘Fairest isle, all isles excelling’, written by John Dryden for Act 2 of Henry Purcell’s opera King Arthur (1691).
The hymn is written around a progression of thoughts: (1) our prayers for the Holy Spirit, (2) praying for the return of our Lord through the second coming, and (3) prayers for the finalisation of his new creation.
Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of Heav’n to earth come down; Fix in us thy humble dwelling; All thy faithful mercies crown! Jesus, Thou art all compassion, Pure unbounded love Thou art; Visit us with Thy salvation, Enter every trembling heart.
Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit Into every troubled breast! Let us all in Thee inherit; Let us find that second rest. Take away our bent to sinning; Alpha and Omega be; End of faith, as its beginning, Set our hearts at liberty.
Come, Almighty to deliver, Let us all Thy life receive; Suddenly return, and never, Nevermore Thy temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing, Serve Thee as Thy hosts above, Pray and praise Thee without ceasing, Glory in Thy perfect love.
Finish, then, Thy new creation; Pure and spotless let us be; Let us see Thy great salvation Perfectly restored in Thee; Changed from glory into glory, Till in Heav’n we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, love, and praise.
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.’[a]
This beloved devotional hymn comes to us from British layman William Dunn Longstaff (1822-1894). Since his father was a wealthy ship owner, Longstaff was a person of independent financial means. Due to his generous philanthropy, he was influential in evangelical circles. The Rev. Carlton Young, editor of The United Methodist Hymnal, notes that he followed his friend and persuasive Welsh preacher Arthur A. Rees when he left the Anglican priesthood in 1842 after disagreements with his rector and bishop. As a result, Rees established the Bethesda Free Chapel in Sunderland, where Longstaff served as his church treasurer. He married Joyce Burlinson in 1853 and together they had seven children.
Longstaff befriended a number of well-known evangelists such as William Booth (1829-1912), founder of the Salvation Army. Some of Longstaff’s hymns were published in the official magazine of the Salvation Army magazine, The War Cry, during the 1880s. In 1873 the famous American preacher Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and his chief musician Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908) arrived in England to hold a series of evangelistic meetings. The financial sponsor for their revivals died, leaving them with meager means to continue. They were desperately seeking funds, and Longstaff came to their rescue, helping to establish a donor base that allowed Moody to hold revivals in London and Scotland.
Methodist hymnologist Robert Guy McCutchan notes that Longstaff was inspired by the words of Griffith John, a missionary to China, repeated in a meeting in Keswick, England in the early 1880s. John cited I Peter 1:16, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (KJV), a reference to Leviticus 11:44. The hymn text appeared in Hymns of Consecration, the collection of hymns used during the Keswick event.
Longstaff showed the hymn to Ira Sankey, who in turn passed it on to American songwriter George C. Stebbins (1846-1945) to set in 1882. Stebbins laid it aside and did not recall it until an evangelistic meeting in India, during which the theme of holiness was explored. Stebbins recalled Longstaff’s hymn and set it to music for the revival. He sent his tune HOLINESS to Sankey, who published the hymn in New Songs and Sacred Solos (1888).
Each of the four stanzas begins with the invitation, “Take time to be holy.” The first stanza begins with a devotional request, “speak oft with thy Lord.” The invitation to holiness extends to care for “God’s children” and “those who are weak,” echoing the twin commandments, Matthew 22:36-40, to love God and neighbor.
The second stanza seeks to be alone with Jesus while “the world rushes on.” Through time with Jesus, “like him we shall be,” and, as a result, others will witness this “likeness.” In Methodist theology, this might be seen as a journey toward Christian perfection.
In stanza three, Jesus becomes the “guide” that we follow and trust. The final stanza suggests that when we “Take time to be holy,” our souls become calm. This calmness leads to Jesus’ control in our lives. Control manifests itself in “fountains of love.” This love in turn “fit[s us] for service above.”
Carlton Young distinguishes between Longstaff’s use of holiness and the Wesleyan understanding of personal holiness that demands a “radical change of heart and the resulting release from the bonds of sin as embodied in the Wesleyan precepts of entire sanctification, perfecting grace, perfect love, and Christian perfection.” To illustrate the transforming nature of holiness, the Rev. Young cites a section of the opening stanza of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Love divine, all loves excelling”:
Take away our bent to sinning; Alpha and Omega be; end of faith as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty.
In addition, Longstaff’s sense of devotional holiness also does not embrace a Wesleyan sense of social justice. This hymn has appeared in Methodist hymnals in the United States since 1901, reflecting the evangelical roots of Methodism in this country
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 the 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.
13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines Of never failing skill He treasures up His bright designs And works His sov’reign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; The clouds ye so much dread Are big with mercy and shall break In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet will be the flow’r.
Blind unbelief is sure to err And scan His work in vain; God is His own interpreter, And He will make it plain.
29 [a]These are the terms of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelite’s in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.
2 Moses summoned all the Israelite’s and said to them:
Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land.3 With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders.4 But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.5 Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.6 You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”
7 When you reached this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out to fight against us, but we defeated them.8 We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
9 Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do.10 All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel,11 together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water.12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath,13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.14 I am making this covenant,with its oath, not only with you15 who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.
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.”[a]
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially,live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[b]23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.24 For,
“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[c]
3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b]
Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me.
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne.
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.
Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
Bearing on Calvary my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.
Living for Jesus, wherever I am,
Doing each duty in His holy Name;
Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
Deeming each trial a part of my cross.
Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.