Trust in God

Psalm 146 New International Version

Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,

    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

Jesus Holding Hands

Isaiah 42:6  (NIV)

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,

Hold Thou my hand; so weak I am, and helpless,
I dare not take one step without Thy aid;
Hold Thou my hand; for then, O loving Saviour,
No dread of ill shall make my soul afraid.

Hold Thou my hand, and closer, closer draw me
To Thy dear self-my hope, my joy, my all;
Hold Thou my hand, lest haply I should wander,
And, missing Thee, my trembling feet should fall.See the source image

Hold Thou my hand; the way is dark before me
Without the sunlight of Thy face divine;
But when by faith I catch its radiant glory,
What heights of joy, what rapturous songs are mine!

Hold Thou my hand, that when I reach the margin
Of that lone river Thou didst cross for me,
A heav’nly light may flash along its waters,
And every wave like crystal bright shall be.

I first heard this arrangement as a child when my father bought a salvation army band LP with the arrangement on it. Being a child of about 7yrs old I obviously didn’t know the words or who wrote them.  Now that I’m a lot older and have come to know the words and the composer Fanny Crosby I think it makes the arrangement a lot easier to understand. I also think that this particular arrangement is very fitting to Fanny Crosby’s words.

A Christmas Letter

John 1:1-14 New International Version – UK 

The Word became flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome<sup class=”footnote” style=”box-sizing:border-box;font-size:.625em;line-height:22px;position:relative;vertical-align:top;top:0;” data-fn=”#fen-NIVUK-26050a” data-link=”[a]”>[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

At an antique desk
An old man sits alone
It’s Christmas Eve
And it’s almost time to go

He signs his name to a letter he just wrote
Then he reads it back with a voice as soft as snow

I want peace on earth for Christmas
In a world where there’s not one hungry child
They would hope and faith
Conquers fear and hate
All I’m asking for is a little more love

Then he walks outside
And he climbs up on his sleigh
And calls out to his reindeer
Off they fly away
Oh tonight he’ll make a million dreams appear
While he wishes that his own dreams would come true this year

I want peace on earth for Christmas
In a world where there’s not one hungry child
They would hope and faith
Conquers fear and hate
All I’m asking for is a little more love

That they would hope and faith
Conquers fear and hate
All I’m asking for is a little more love

A very special Birthday

Matthew 1:18-25 English Standard Version

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[b] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

[Verse 1]
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appears and the Soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees; O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

[Verse 2]
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the Wise Men from Orient land
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend

[Verse 3]
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord; O praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim

What Is a Born Again Christian?

The phrase “Born Again Christian” applies to people who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour or Redeemer. To be born again in this sense is not an actual physical rebirth, but it indicates a spiritual rebirth.

The phrase “born again Christian” is frequently misinterpreted. Looking at its primary reference, we see that its meaning is not about physical birth, but about experiencing a spiritual renewal. It is is an expression used by many Protestants to define the moment or process of fully accepting faith in Jesus Christ. It is an experience when the teachings of Christianity and Jesus become real, and the “born again” acquire a personal relationship with God.

The term is originated from an incident in the New Testament in which the words of Jesus were not understood by a Jewish Pharisee, Nicodemus.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” John 3:3-5 NIV

How to be Born Again

The phrase “born again” applies to people who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour or Redeemer. The born again soul realizes that they are a sinner (Romans 3:23) and that the penalty for that sin is death (Romans 6:23). To rectify the circumstances, God sent His only Son to die in their place, to take the punishment for sin (Romans 5:8). After Jesus’ death, He arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6) and He provides the blessing of salvation. Each person has the choice to receive or reject God’s gift through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and experience new birth (John 3:1-8). Whoever follows Jesus as Christ, the Son of God, and has accepted His gift of life can be called Christian. That is where the journey of rebirth begins. 

Being born again is having a change or transformation of the soul and heart by the work of God’s Spirit. One’s soul is the part of our being that consist of three things: the mind (or its disposition), emotions (feelings), and our will (what we determine). 

This spiritual makeover when we become a born again Christian is a change in the way we think, the way we manage our emotions, and choices we make by our will.

Mind

“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:27). 

“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” (Romans 12:2).

“‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Through being born again, renewing our minds, and having an intimate relationship with God, we grow by spending time in His presence and in His Word (the Bible). Though we cannot fully comprehend God, His Spirit lives in us, giving us a profound understanding of Him and His ways. 

Emotions

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:29, 31). 

Born again Christians are not to let their emotions control their behavior. Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In Him we have peace. 

Be Wise

Matthew 7 English Standard Version

Build Your House on the Rock

Photo by Matthis Volquardsen on Pexels.com

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

The Authority of Jesus

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

In this passage of scripture we are obviously reminded of the Sunday school chorus ‘The wise man built his house upon the Rock’

Love is the glue
That holds us together
Faith and believing is the key
This door of forever
Baby, you and I
We’re every reason on earth
Now and again it’s always us
Against the world, against the world

When the rain fell and the flood came
And the wind blew hard like a hammer on these walls
We didn’t crack or break or fall
We built this house on a rock, on a rock
This house on a rock, on a rock

There is a time
To face stormy weather
But we are always standing strong
A lifetime together
Baby, you and I
We don’t regret anything
Now it’s the two of us again
Against the wind, against the wind

When the rain fell and the flood came
And the wind blew hard like a hammer on these walls
We didn’t crack or break or fall
We built this house on a rock, on a rock
This house on a rock, on a rock

Brick by brick we have set it up
Oh man, if these walls could talk
Bit by bit, based it on trust
We gave it all we got

When the rain fell and the flood came
And the wind blew hard like a hammer on these walls
We didn’t crack or break or fall
We built this house on a rock, on a rock
This house on a rock, on a rock

We built this house on a rock, on a rock
We built this house on a rock, on a rock

Perfect Love

1 John 4 New International Version 

God’s Love and Ours

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

O perfect Love, all human thought transcending,
Lowly we kneel in prayer before Thy throne,
That theirs may be the love that knows no ending,
Whom Thou forevermore dost join in one.

O perfect Life, be Thou their full assurance
Of tender charity and steadfast faith,
Of patient hope, and quiet, brave endurance,
With childlike trust that fears nor pain nor death.

Grant them the joy which brightens earthly sorrow;
Grant them the peace which calms all earthly strife,
And to life’s day the glorious unknown morrow
That dawns upon eternal love and life.

Dealing with Anxiety

Matthew 6:25-34

25″Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I think the video (and bible reading) above sums it all up don’t you!

Why Did David Lift His Eyes to the Hills? 

I was inspired by a friend who is holidaying in the area of “The Ochills” in Scotland and was reminded of the inspiration a man called Earnest Rance received from the fist two verses to write this song,

https://extranet.salvos.net/misc/auesongbook.nsf/c86531ad19e5596cca256d030017dd6b/12f5913ac1950250ca256d01001369dc?OpenDocument

International Woman’s Day I am thine O Lord (The Story)

Hebrews 10 New International Version 

A Call to Persevere in Faith

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswerving to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Two people collaborated to write “I Am Thine, O Lord”—a song that quickly became a favorite in Christian circles, and remains so in many places today.  Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) wrote the words and William Doane (1832-1915) composed the music.

Doane was a successful businessman who served as the president of a Cincinnati company that produced woodworking machines.  He also held a number of patents for the machines that they produced.

While he enjoyed his business, Doane enjoyed Christian music even more.  During his lifetime, he composed the music for hundreds of hymns, and edited a number of hymn collections.

Crosby’s story was even more dramatic.  Blinded in infancy, she had the good fortune to have a grandmother and a caretaker who dedicated themselves to helping her memorize the Bible.  They assigned weekly goals for memorization, and drilled Crosby to help her reach those goals.  As an adult, Crosby tapped that rich reservoir of memorized Bible verses to write her hymns.

And write hymns she did—8000 hymns and Gospel songs total—to include many of the old favorites that are still found in many hymnals a century after her death.

“I Am Thine, O Lord” grew out of a conversation that Crosby had with Doane while visiting his home.  They were talking about the nearness of God when Crosby was seized by inspiration.  Soon she was reciting the verses and choruses—very much as we find them in hymnals today.  Doane set her words to music, and the song that they produced has blessed generations of Christians.

The song is a prayer, celebrating the joy of faith—and the desire for an even deeper faith.  The chorus asks:

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,

To the cross where Thou hast died.

Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,

To Thy precious bleeding side.

I can personally testify to the power of this song, having sung it often as I was growing up.  If sung at a spirited tempo, it had an upbeat mood.  But often the chorus—in particular the last chorus—was sung more slowly and deliberately, inspiring an introspective mood.  I don’t often hear it sung today, but would be happy to have the opportunity to sing it again.

1. I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice,
and it told thy love to me;
but I long to rise in the arms of faith
and be closer drawn to thee.
Refrain:
Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to the cross where thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to thy precious, bleeding side.

2. Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord,
by the power of grace divine;
let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
and my will be lost in thine.
(Refrain)

3. O the pure delight of a single hour
that before thy throne I spend,
when I kneel in prayer, and with thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend!
(Refrain)

4. There are depths of love that I cannot know
till I cross the narrow sea;
there are heights of joy that I may not reach
till I rest in peace with thee.