Standing Firm

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Matthew 24 New International Version 

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times

24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Jesus Lives

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Romans 6 New International Version 

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Whilst reading this piece of scripture i am reminded of a chorus well known in The Salvation Army

It’s no longer I that liveth,
But Christ that liveth in me,
It’s no longer I that liveth,
But Christ that liveth in me.
He lives! He lives!
Jesus is alive in me.
It’s no longer I that liveth,
But Christ that liveth in me.

Abandoned

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Mark 15 New International Version 

The Crucifixion of Jesus

21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus,was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the Jews.

27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. [28] [a] 29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!”31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

ALAS! and did my Saviour bleed,
And did my sovereign die?
Did he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

2 Was it for sins that I have done
He suffered on the tree?
Amazing pity, grace unknown,
And love beyond degree!

3 Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker, died
For man, the creature?s sin.

4 Dear Saviour, I can ne?er repay
The debt of love I owe!
Here, Lord, I give myself away;
?Tis all that I can do.

Chorus
Remember me, remember me,
O Lord, remember me;
Remember, Lord, thy dying groans,
And then remember me.

    • Refrain (Hudson):
      At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
      And the burden of my heart rolled away,
      It was there by faith I received my sight,
      And now I am happy all the day!

Grief

John 11 New International Version

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Jesus comforts the sisters of Lazarus

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’

23 Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

24 Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

25 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

27 ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. ‘The Teacher is here,’ she said, ‘and is asking for you.’ 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked.

‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’

37 But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’

Verse 1
O Christ, You wept when grief was raw,
and felt for those who mourned their friend;
Come close to where we would not be
and hold us, numbed by this life’s end.

Verse 2
The well-loved voice is silent now
and we have much we meant to say;
collect our lost and wandering words
and keep them, till the endless day.

Verse 3
We try to hold what is not here
and fear for what we do not know;
Oh, take our hands in Yours, good Lord,
and free us, free now to let our friend go.

Verse 4
In all our loneliness and doubt
through what we cannot realise,
address us from Your empty tomb
and speak of the life, that never dies

Jesus – The Comforter

Matthew 11:28-30 New International Version (NIV)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

1.
THERE are people hurting
In the world out there.
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
There are children crying and no one to care.
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
And they’ll go on hurting
In the world out there,
And they’ll go on dying, drowning in despair,
And they’ll go on crying, that’s unless we care!
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
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2.
There are people living who would rather die.
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
And their Christian neighbours
Simply pass them by!
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
There are people sitting by a silent phone,
People cold and hungry, people left alone,
Suicides for reasons that remain unknown.
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.

3.
There’s the prostitute,
And there’s the pris’ner too.
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
There’s the skid row fella who won’t look at you.
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
The compulsive gambler dreaming of his yacht,
And the lad that’s stealing just to get his ‘shot’,
And the girl that’s pregnant
And pretends she’s not.
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.

4.
There are runaways who want a place to go.
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
There are alcoholics who don’t seem to know.
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
There are godless people
Who have lost their way,
And they need God’s love
But they’re afraid to say.
If we close our eyes perhaps they’ll go away
Without you, without me, without Christ.

Jesus Wept

John 11 New International Version

Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Verse 1
O Christ, You wept when grief was raw,
and felt for those who mourned their friend;
Come close to where we would not be
and hold us, hold us, hold us,
hold us numbed by this life’s end.

Verse 2
The well-loved voice is silent now
and we have much we meant to say;
collect our lost and wandering words
and keep them, keep them, keep them,
keep them till the endless day.

Verse 3
We try to hold what is not here
and fear for what we do not know;
Oh, take our hands in Yours, good Lord,
and free us, free us, free us,
free us to let our friend go.

Verse 4
In all our loneliness and doubt
through what we cannot realise,
address us from Your empty tomb
and tell us, tell us, tell us,
tell us that life never dies.

Dedicating our love to others

Romans 12:1-2 New International Version – UK 

A living sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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There is only one way I can think of, of dedicating our love to others and that is by letting it ‘Shine through Christ’

Sheep And Lambs

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Biography

Katharine Tynan was an Irish-born writer, known mainly for her novels and poetry. After her marriage in 1898 to the writer and barrister Henry Albert Hinkson (1865–1919) she usually wrote under the name Katharine Tynan Hinkson (or Katharine Tynan-Hinkson or Katharine Hinkson-Tynan). Of their three children, Pamela Hinkson (1900–1982) was also known as a writer.

Biography

Tynan was born into a large farming family in Clondalkin, County Dublin, and educated at a convent school in Drogheda. Her poems were first published in 1878. She met and became friendly with the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1886. Tynan went on to play a major part in Dublin literary circles, until she married and moved to England; later she lived at Claremorris, County Mayo when her husband was a magistrate there from 1914 until 1919.

For a while, Tynan was a close associate of William Butler Yeats (who may have proposed marriage and been rejected, around 1885), and later a correspondent of Francis Ledwidge. She is said to have written over 100 novels; there were some unsurprising comments about a lack of self-criticism in her output. Her Collected Poems appeared in 1930; she also wrote five autobiographical volumes.

The following is Sir Hugh Robertson’s slightly different word’s of Katharine’s poem All in a April Morning

All in the April evening
April airs are abroad
The sheep with their little lambs
Passed me by on the road
The sheep with their little lambs
Passed me by on the road
All in the April evening
I thought on the lamb of god

The lambs were weary and crying
With a weak human cry
I thought on the lamb of god
Going meekly to die
Up in the blue blue mountains
Dewy pastures are sweet
Rest for the little bodies
Rest for the little feet

But for the lamb, the Lamb of god
Up on the hilltop green
Only a cross, a cross of shame
Two stark crosses between

All in the April evening
April airs were abroad
I saw the sheep with the lambs
And thought on the Lamb of God

Unconditional Love

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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.

Is God calling you?

2 Peter 1 New International Version

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Confirming One’s Calling and Election

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

I will stand
I will stand, all other ground is sinking sand
All other ground, all other ground
Is sinking sand, is sinking sand
So I’ll stand